The Twins fell to 5-5 over their last 10 games after they split a day-night doubleheader with the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday.
The Twins won the first game easily, then showed up flat for the second game, eeking out only three hits in a 4-0 loss. Twins starter Cole Sands, making his first major league start, was not sharp, tossing 91 pitches in four innings, but only 54 of them landed for strikes. He allowed four runs on five hits and four walks and that was the game.
In the first game, lefty Devin Smeltzer cruised, allowing only two runs over six-plus innings. He also got plenty of support from the lineup, which scored eight runs on nine hits. Max Kepler went 3-for-4 with a double, scored two runs, drove in three more and earned a free pass to first base. Gary Sanchez hit a three-run home run in the 8-2 win.
“I think this is the best he’s ever been, I really do,” manager Rocco Baldelli said about Smeltzer to MLB.com. “The ball coming out of his hand is as good as it’s ever been. He’s throwing the ball very confidently. … You couldn’t ask for more from this guy right now than what he’s giving us.”
Smeltzer is now 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA.
Bailey Ober gets the ball on Wednesday.
-One of those three hits in the 4-0 loss was delivered by shortstop Jermaine Palacios, making it his first major league hit.
-Oregon State man Trevor Larnach had a double in each game.
-On June 4, 1972, a major league record is set when eight shutouts are pitched in 16 games. The Twins were on the receiving end of one of those shutouts, losing 3-0 to the Detroit Tigers.
-And on June 4, 1976, the Twins’ Larry Hisle hits for the cycle in an 8-6 win over the Baltimore Orioles. The game also featured a benches-clearing brawl, according to the Minneapolis Tribune.
“Twins manager Gene Mauch ran into the jam, grabbed the first player he saw, who was Brooks Robinson. The two ended up hugging each other when they realized who they had in their arms.”
The Twins rallied from a 6-0 deficit to win the game. Rod Carew was asked if the fight helped the team.
“We were down 6-0 and the end result was 8-6, so I guess we had something going through us,” Carew said.
The home plate umpire in that win was Ron Luciano.
Sources: MLB.com, Baseball-Reference.com, Newspapers.com