May 11, 2023

Here comes the rooster: Twins rally for 4-3 walk-off win over Padres

After the San Diego Padres pulled off a textbook suicide squeeze play in the top of the 10th inning Wednesday night, it appeared the Twins were dead and buried for sure going into the home half of the inning, now losing 3-2.

The Hahn/Cock sculpture, Walker Art Center, downtown Minneapolis.

Not only were they down a run, they also had to contend with fire-breathing closer Josh Hader. Who was the best person to face him? Twins manager Rocco Baldelli decided it was not Joey Gallo, so up came Donovan “Donnie Barrels” Solano to pinch hit for him and he delivered, cracking a single down the right field line to tie the game at 3-3.

Then, in the bottom of the 11th, Alex Kirilloff, the highly valued Twins prospect who has battled wrist injuries the past two seasons, banged the walk-off hit through the infield for the 4-3 Twins win.

The Twins scored four runs on nine hits, which is not exactly going to stop the presses, but it certainly looked better than the team’s offensive output in recent days. Max Kepler homered and doubled, big man on campus, Carlos Correa, showed much more patience at the plate with a double and two walks and even Kyle Farmer got a hit, which is a great way to return to the lineup after getting hit in the face with a pitch.

Who deserved to win the game? After Tuesday night’s debacle, Griffin Jax, and he did just that, improving to 2-4 on the season after he pitched a scoreless 11th inning.

Bailey Ober gets the ball on Thursday.

Extra innings …

-Starter Pablo Lopez didn’t figure in the decision, but he still made a quality start, allowing just a run over six-plus innings with eight strikeouts and four walks. He’s not converting a lot of these starts into wins, but he is still giving the Twins a lot of quality innings.

-Gallo is still struggling at the plate (he struck out twice on Wednesday), but he made a nice juggling catch in short left field early in the game, then got to his feet and threw out the runner retreating to first base on the pop fly out.

-On May 10, 2000, the Twins rallied from an 8-1 deficit to the Cleveland Indians to beat them 10-9 in walk-off fashion.

“On paper, we’re not supposed to do the things we have done,” said outfielder Jacque Jones to the Star Tribune. “The only message we’re sending is that we’re not the same team we were last year.”

That ultimately would not be the case as the Twins lost 93 games in 2000. But they would turn a corner in 2001 (85 wins) and then would win the division in 2002 with first-year manager Ron Gardenhire.



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.