The Twins made it two wins in a row on Friday after their Game 1 beat down of the AL Central-leading Kansas City Royals, 9-1. Two rookies made key contributions to the win, and where would the Twins be without Byron Buxton?
Rookie Alex Kirilloff hit two home runs and drove in four of the Twins’ nine runs, and rookie catcher, Ben Rortvedt (which had social media asking, what’s a Rortvedt?) proved to be an effective battery mate for starter Michael Pineda. Rortvedt also had an RBI single in the game.
Pineda struck out five over five innings and may have gone deeper into the game, but he took a comebacker off his pitching forearm, which didn’t appear serious, and exited after 71 pitches. Big Mike allowed an earned run, but the bullpen was spotless the rest of the way.
And whether it’s at the plate or in the field, you can always expect center fielder, Buxton, to do amazing Buxton-like things. This time he showed off his glove, diving to catch a bloop hit and to rob a home run from the Royals at the wall.
Matt Shoemaker gets the ball on Saturday against Danny Duffy, who has always been a tough customer for the Twins.
-The Twins are now 9-15, six games out of first place, but at least they’re not in the cellar.
-Royals reliever Wade Davis pitched a terrible eighth inning. He threw 34 pitches, but only 16 were for strikes. He wound up walking three batters and uncorked a wild pitch to allow four runs, all earned.
-Old friend watch: Texas Rangers pitcher Kyle Gibson is on a roll. He improved to 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA after he allowed only three hits and one run over six innings to beat the Boston Red Sox 4-1 on Thursday. He faced another old friend in Martin Perez, who didn’t pitch that poorly. Perez allowed two runs (one earned) over five-plus innings with no walks and seven strikeouts and yet he fell to 0-2 on the season.