The Twins almost made me eat my words.
After I touted them as a “pretty good team, folks” (see previous post), the Kansas City Royals raced out to a 6-0 lead on Sunday, dashing any chances, or so it appeared, of a three-game sweep.
But then the Twins scored five runs in the eighth inning, including a two-run dinger from Kyle Garlick. And then in the ninth, Gary Sanchez hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game and Gio Urshela singled to score the go-ahead run. Closer Jhoan Duran pitched a scoreless ninth and the Twins held on for the 7-6 win. Duran picked up his third save.
The top of the order was on fire again. Luis Arraez, Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler had seven of the Twins’ 12 hits. Sanchez hit two sacrifice flies and there was the aforementioned Garlick home run.
Starter Bailey Ober pitched well in his return from the injured list, allowing only one run over five innings, but he did not figure in the decision. He was followed by reliever Yennier Cano, who really struggled. Cano could only get one out in the top of the sixth before he was pulled from the game. He exited after serving up five runs, all earned, on four hits and two walks. The win ultimately went to reliever Tyler Duffey.
The Twins now head home to face the Detroit Tigers. Chris Archer gets the ball Monday.
-Oregon State University man and highly touted prospect Adley Rutschman recently made his debut with the St. Louis Browns. He tripled in his debut and scored the winning run in extra innings over the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday. If Rutschman lives up the hype, the Browns will soon be the Baltimore Orioles again.
-On May 22, 1981, the Twins fired manager Johnny Goryl after the team lumbered out of the gates to an 11-25 record. Goryl was replaced by third base coach Billy Gardner, who also played for the Twins as an infielder in 1961.
“I just want to win,” said Gardner to the Minneapolis Tribune.
And the Twins did just that in his managerial debut, shutting out the Kansas City Royals, 7-0. Minnesota native and 222-game winner Jerry Koosman, who also won 20 games for the Twins in 1979, scattered six hits over nine innings to blank the Royals.
Although the Twins won in Gardner’s debut, there was not a whole lot of winning while Gardner was manager.
He went 30-43 to end the 1981 season, then went 60-102, 70-92, 81-81 and finally was fired in 1985.
“I’d seen it coming for about a week,” he said about his dismissal to the Minneapolis Star and Tribune. “You don’t have to be a genius to see the writing on the wall.”
Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, Newspapers.com