July 25, 2021

Twins nearly no-hit by Angels, lose anyway

The Twins avoided the no-hitter on Saturday, but the club’s ninth inning rally still fell short after Miguel Sano struck out for the third time in the game, stranding the tying run at second base.

Angels pitcher Patrick Sandoval made quite the start. He was spotted two runs in the top of the first inning, then settled in to strike out 13 over eight-plus innings, allowing one hit, one run and one walk en route to a 2-1 victory over the Twins.

Twins designated hitter and rookie, Brent Rooker, who is trying to pick up where Nelson Cruz left off (no pressure, of course), broke up the no-hitter with a double, and then Josh Donaldson brought him home with a double of his own. Sano, however, struck out to end the game. I know there’s been a lot of talk about Cruz, pitcher Jose Berrios and outfielder, Max Kepler, being traded, but how about Sano? I think it’s time — if they can move him, that is.

Berrios was once again the tough-luck pitcher of record and took the loss to fall to 7-5 with a 3.48 ERA. He made another quality start, allowing two runs (but no earned runs) over seven innings with no walks and four strikeouts. There’s not a lot a pitcher can do when the opposing team holds the Twins to two hits.

The Twins will try to even the four-game series with the Angels on Sunday. Bailey Ober gets the ball.

Extra innings…

-The Twins are 42-57 and back in last place in the division.

-The Cleveland Indians have decided to call themselves the Cleveland Guardians. Is that the best they can do? A check of their history shows they were once called the Cleveland Naps in honor of former player-manager Nap Lajoie. Lajoie exited the game with a .338 average (he hit .426 in 1901) and more than 3,200 hits, earning Hall of Fame enshrinement in 1937. I like Naps better than Guardians.

-After former Twins pitcher, Jim Kaat, took his turn in the TV broadcast booth, he was followed by Justin Morneau and now LaTroy Hawkins, a former longtime pitcher and closer for the Twins. During Saturday’s broadcast, TV play-by-play man, Dick Bremer, and Hawkins recalled May 17, 1998, the date New York Yankees pitcher, David Wells, pitched a perfect game against the Twins. Who was on the mound for Minnesota? Hawkins.

A check of Baseball-Reference.com shows that Hawkins didn’t pitch that poorly and just missed out on a quality start of his own. He allowed four runs over seven innings with no walks and five strikeouts. Wells, on the other hand, went the distance with no hits, no walks and 11 strikeouts.

The Yankees were scary-good that season. By May 17, they were 28-9 and would go on to finish 114-48. They swept the division series against the Texas Rangers, beat the Cleveland Indians in six games to take the championship series and then swept the San Diego Padres to win the World Series. The Twins finished ’98 at 70-92.

The only bright spot that season? There wasn’t one.

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.