May 18, 2023

Twins drop series to Dodgers after bullpen collapses in 5-run 7th

The Twins fought hard against the Dodgers, losing a nailbiter 9-8 in extra innings and beating Clayton Kershaw for a 5-1 win, but finally they could not take the series after the Twins’ 3-2 lead in the top of the seventh inning Wednesday unraveled in the worst possible way for a 7-3 loss.

A lot of fans are going to point their fingers at reliever Emilio Pagan and his rocky appearance in that seventh inning — and he does deserve some of the blame — but what went missing from this series is the quality starts the Twins have become used to. Pablo Lopez only went four-plus innings on Monday and Sonny Gray once again had command problems on Wednesday which limited him to four innings. The result is that the Twins had to lean on the bullpen and it finally showed in the rubber match of the series.

Reliever Jose De Leon, making his first appearance for the Twins, got five outs (three of them via the strikeout), but he also gave up two hits and exited leaving two men on for Pagan. Pagan then proceeded to walk two batters — walking in a run in the process — and finally served up a grand slam home run.

The situational hitting continues to fail the Twins. With no outs and the bases loaded, the Twins do not have a hit this season, according to With one out in the same situation, the Twins are hitting. 200 and with two outs they are hitting .143, the data show. Good pitchers and relievers don’t need much to work with, but they need some runs, right?

The Twins are off Thursday, then face the Los Angeles Angels Friday. Joe Ryan gets the ball.

Extra innings …

-How about this showstopper of a stat? Tuesday’s Twins win over the Dodgers was only the second win at Dodger Stadium in Twins history! And the first win came on June 11, 2005, a 5-3 victory. Justin Morneau and Torii Hunter both homered, Carlos Silva went six innings for the win and closer Joe Nathan cleaned things up for his 18th save.

-Here’s another showstopper of a stat: A check of the Star Tribune for that date shows they buried the game story on page C-18 and made no mention of it being the Twins’ first win at Dodger Stadium.

-But didn’t the Twins beat the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium during the 1965 World Series? They did not, losing all three games on the road. They came home to beat the Dodgers in Game 6, then were shut out 2-0 by Sandy Koufax in Game 7.

-Lopez and Gray failed to make quality starts but Bailey Ober did in his win Tuesday. He allowed only a run over six innings with six strikeouts. He’s now 3-0 on the season with a 1.78 ERA.


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.