When the Twins are in Cleveland, make sure right fielder Max Kepler is in the lineup.
Kepler has hit his 15th and 16th career home runs in the Twins’ current series against the Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field. His two-run blast on Friday was all the scoring the Twins needed with Bailey Ober on the mound, and he did it again Saturday, launching another two-run jolt to keep the Twins within striking distance of the Guardians.
Carlos Correa tied the game at 3-3 with a solo blast, then Twins reliever Jorge Alcala served up the go-ahead smash to Oregon State man Steven Kwan and the Twins lost 4-3.
The rubber match is Sunday. Joe Ryan gets the ball.
Extra innings …
-It was very disappointing to learn that the Twins’ own Oregon State man Trevor Larnach has been demoted to Triple-A St. Paul. Yes, he has been slumping of late, but he still shares the team lead in RBI, leads the team in walks and also has the team’s second highest on-base percentage. This seems like an awfully quick hook for someone who had a great spring and decent April. The pressure is now on Alex Kirilloff, who hit well at St. Paul (and I imagine Larnach will do the same), but who hasn’t been able to overcome wrist problems the past two seasons. Can Kirilloff stay healthy?
-Pitcher Sonny Gray, who has been nearly unhittable to start the season, fell to earth a bit on Saturday after he struggled with his command, throwing 90 pitches, but only 55 of them landed for strikes. He allowed three runs and three walks over five innings. However, he didn’t figure in the decision. Reliever Alcala took the loss.
-Pitcher Ober was sensational on Friday, tossing seven innings of shutout ball with six strikeouts in the Twins’ 2-0 win over the Guardians.
-Twins manager Rocco Baldelli was ejected from Saturday’s game. During a wild fourth inning, third baseman Jose Miranda struggled to field a grounder, then fell down and tried to scoop the ball to Correa. Correa then threw the ball back to a backpedaling Miranda who tried to tag the runner advancing to third. He missed and Baldelli emerged to argue that the Guardians player had run wide of the base path. As soon as Baldelli gestured to the ump to follow him, he was gone.
-Twins pitching issued eight base on balls in Thursday’s 7-3, 12-inning win over the Chicago White Sox. But five of the eight balls were intentional.
-On May 8, 1979, the Twins clobbered the Toronto Blue Jays 16-6 in a game that featured three benches-clearing fights, according to the Minneapolis Tribune.
The game story lede:
“The Twins won a unanimous 16-6 decision over Toronto Tuesday in a three-round baseball game at Metropolitan Stadium.”