The Twins have outscored the Cleveland Guardians 19-4 over the first three games of the five-game series between the two clubs. The Twins won 11-1 Monday and split a doubleheader on Tuesday, losing 3-2 and then winning again 6-0.
In the second game, the Twins scored six runs on 13 hits, including three home runs — Byron Buxton hit his 20th — and a triple. Jorge Polanco also made a nice return to the lineup from injury hitting a dinger and driving in three runs.
On the mound, starter Josh Winder, who also was back on the bump after a stint on the injured list, pitched six innings of shutout baseball, followed by three innings of one-hit relief from the bullpen.
Dylan Bundy gets the ball for Game 4.
-The Twins are 43-34 and still have a three-game lead over the Guardians.
-In the first game of the doubleheader, the Twins took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the eighth when reliever Emilio Pagan fell apart again, walking two batters and allowing a hit for a 3-2 Cleveland win. Pagan absorbed the loss and blown save, his fifth of the season. If this keeps up, Pagan is looking at 10 blown saves for the season. That’s getting into Ron Davis territory, folks.
-Pagan’s loss and blown save wasted a terrific outing by starter Devin Smeltzer, who allowed a run over six innings with nine strikeouts.
-I have a better sense of why pitching coach Wes Johnson is leaving the Twins for LSU after he shared some comments with MLB.com.
“I have priorities in my life, and I don’t hide those,” Johnson said. “I tell people my priorities. It’s my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, one. It’s my family, two. And it’s baseball, three. I’m never going to get those out of whack. … You don’t ever hear anybody on their deathbed going, ‘Man, I wish I’d have stuck it out to see if we’d won 101 [games] and not done what’s right for my family.'”
-On June 29, 1984, the Twins and Tigers met for a doubleheader, with the Twins beating Jack Morris and the Tigers in Game 1, 5-3. Twins player Andre David, who hit one home run in his short major league career, went deep off Morris.
Minneapolis Star and Tribune reporter Howard Sinker got a classic quote from Morris after the game.
“I made a mistake against Davis or David or whatever his name is,” Morris said. “You make a mistake in this ballpark (the Metrodome) and anything can happen.”
Morris was more charitable about the overall team.
“They hit everything I threw,” he said. “I didn’t have much and then I would make a good pitch and they’d hit it anyway. Give them credit. They’re the best hitting team I’ve seen this year.”
The 1984 season was a runaway success for the Tigers. They won 104 games and won the AL East by 15 games, then crushed the San Diego Padres in five games to win the World Series. Morris went 19-11 that season, which included a no-hitter during the first week against the Chicago White Sox. The Tigers went 18-2 in April and never looked back.
Three seasons later the Twins would crush that same team to advance to their second World Series and first win.
Sources: MLB.com, Baseball-Reference.com, Newspapers.com