April 9, 2022

1 run the difference as Twins lose home opener

Twins starting pitcher Joe Ryan made one mistake on Friday, serving up a first-inning two-run home run that would stand for the remainder of the game, ending in a 2-1 win for the Seattle Mariners.

Otherwise, Ryan and three relievers pitched pretty well, striking out 11 batters and limiting the M’s to just two runs on five hits. The Twins’ Gio Urshela countered with a solo home run in the fourth, and then it appeared that Gary Sanchez had delivered the big blow, connecting for an apparent walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth that fell just short of the left field wall for the final out of the game.

Ex-Yankee Sanchez’s two previous walk-off hits were against the Twins, according to stats shared during Friday’s radio broadcast.

Despite the loss, the star of Friday’s game was probably Twins reliever Jhoan Duran, who followed Ryan and quickly gave up two hits. But then Duran settled down and let it fly, reportedly hitting 100 miles per hour six times. After those two hits, he struck out the side and wound up with four strikeouts in two innings. He threw 31 pitches, 22 of them for strikes.

Sonny Gray gets the ball on Saturday.

Extra innings…

-Former Twin Josh Donaldson had the game-winning hit for the Yankees on Friday in their 6-5, 11 inning win over Boston.

-A nice quote from pitcher Chris Paddack after he was acquired by the Twins from the San Diego Padres on Thursday.

“Looks fairly good on me, I think,” Paddack said about his new Twins uniform to MLB.com. “Better than the gold and brown [of San Diego] — I looked like UPS. We always got those jokes in San Diego, but I’m excited, man. It’s a new [jersey] number. I’m still the same guy, but just want a fresh start. Being a younger guy, I learned a lot over the years. But I’m excited for the new journey.”

-On April 8, 2003, the Yankees won their home opener against the Twins 7-3, getting a grand slam home run from Hideki Matsui, formerly of the Yomiuri Giants.

Twins pitcher Joe Mays served up the blast, Matsui’s first as a Yankee.

“You can always second guess,” Mays told the Star Tribune. “I knew I had to throw a strike, so I threw my change up. But I threw it right down the middle and he did what he is supposed to do with a bad pitch.”


“The guy can hit,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire added. “He may be a rookie here, but he’s a veteran. He’s hit a lot of home runs.”


-Matsui hit 508 career home runs: 332 in Japan, 175 in the majors and one in the minors.

-April 2003 was about as streaky as streaky gets for the Twins. They started the month with three straight wins, followed by a six-game losing streak, a six-game winning streak, another six-game losing streak and then a win, two losses and two wins to end the month at 12-14. Good grief. The Twins went on to win the division that season.

Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, MLB.com, Newspapers.com


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.