The Twins knocked off the Boston Red Sox on Sunday, a 7-6 win in Game 1 of Grapefruit League action that means the club is well on its way to winning a World Series. Yes, it’s spring training. I will try to restrain myself.
Best thing I’ve seen in a really long time – fans in the ballpark. The first time in 354 days the @Twins will play a game in front of fans. Welcome back!!!! We missed you more than you know. pic.twitter.com/gycFjCFARn
— Dave St. Peter (@TwinsPrez) February 28, 2021
The Twins scored seven runs on six hits, with most of those runs coming early in the seven-inning contest. Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco had RBI hits and Miguel Sano knocked in two on a double, the only extra-base hit for the Twins on Sunday.
Starter Devin Smeltzer allowed a run (a home run) over two innings, but didn’t figure in the decision. Newcomers Hansel Robles and Ian Hamilton pitched scoreless frames and Taylor Rogers looked like his old self, striking out the side on 19 pitches. But relievers Tyler Duffey and Cody Stashak made things interesting.
They combined to allow five earned runs. Duffey served up two home runs and Stashak was tagged with the blown save, although he would eventually be credited with the win. Hamilton picked up the first save of spring.
Catcher Mitch Garver also had a hit and a walk, which is good to see after the season he had in 2020. Garver was a breakout star in 2019, hitting 31 home runs and slashing .273/.365/.630. But he also fell to earth hard last season and hit only .167. He also struck out 37 times in 72 at bats, or more than 50 percent of the time. He needs a big season in 2021.
-Shortstop Royce Lewis, a former No. 1 draft pick by the Twins in 2017, has torn his ACL and will likely miss the rest of the season. I’m not sure Lewis would have made the club, but it’s good to know the team has depth at that position in Andrelton Simmons, Polanco and possibly Luis Arraez.
-Fan favorite Willians Astudillo also had a hit on Sunday.
-This week the Twins play the Tampa Bay Rays, Atlanta Braves and the Red Sox.