May 9, 2022

Twins sweep A’s, improve to 7-3 in 1-run games

The Twins keep winning by the smallest of margins and they did it again Sunday to sweep the Oakland A’s 4-3.

The club rallied from an early deficit with a three-run third inning, then the bullpen, which has been terrific, allowed only two hits the rest of the way. Reliever Caleb Thielbar struck out the side in the fifth inning — he threw 20 pitches, 14 of them for strikes — and Emilio Pagan notched his fourth save. The win went to reliever Cody Stashak, who is now 3-0 with a 2.53 ERA.

Chris Paddack got the start on Sunday, but exited after two-plus innings because of right elbow inflammation, which does not sound good. The Twins are now 18-11, but can they sustain their winning ways? I sure hope they can, but the injuries are also starting to pile up and one wonders how a young team like the Twins — one of the youngest teams in all of baseball — is going to find its way forward. There’s a lot riding on the shoulders of players like Jose Miranda and Royce Lewis.

Joe Ryan gets the ball Tuesday against the Houston Astros.

Extra innings…

-The Twins are 7-3 in one-run games this season.

-Jorge Polanco came up big again Sunday, driving in two runs in the three-run third inning to take the lead, 4-3. Gilberto Celestino also went 3-for-3, including a double, at the bottom of the order, and Gary Sanchez and Miranda cracked doubles as well.

-Speaking of one-run games, on May 9, 1966, the Yankees edged the Twins 3-2 at the Met. The Twins scored two runs in the first inning, then watched as Mickey Mantle homered in the fourth, Roger Maris connected in the seventh and finally Joe Pepitone hit a line drive off the right field foul pole in the ninth to win the game.

Despite the win, the Yanks were only 7-16. They were terrible in ’66, finishing dead last in the American League at 70-89. The Twins on the other hand were 89-73 that season and finished second, nine games behind the Baltimore Orioles. The Twins were only 40-45 during the first half of the season, then were a sizzling 49-28 the rest of the way, including 21-11 in August.

Jim Kaat had his best year as a Twin, finishing with a record of 25-13 with a 2.75  ERA. Harmon Killebrew smacked 39 home runs and drove in 110 runs.

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.