May 28, 2023

Youth movement gets Twins win that bullpen nearly blows

The kids were alright on Saturday as Eddie Julien, Matt Wallner and Alex Kirilloff accounted for nine of the Twins’ 14 hits, helping to power the club to a 9-7 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

One veteran, Willi Castro, did get into the act with a two home run day, but it was the rookies and young faces that made the difference.

No one was bigger than Minnesota native Wallner who had a 4-for-4 day at the plate, including a home run, scored a run and drove in three more. He also threw out a runner at second base from right field.

Julien had three extra-base hits: two doubles and a home run. He also scored two runs and and drove in two more. Kirilloff had two hits in five trips to the plate.

All of the hits and runs made a winner out of starter Pablo Lopez, who didn’t make the best appearance, but still improved to 3-3 with a 4.11 ERA.

The Twins took a 9-4 lead into the ninth inning that Twins closer Jorge Lopez nearly threw away. He couldn’t get an out in the inning and allowed three runs in the process, so manager Rocco Baldelli called on rookie Brock Stewart who locked down the game and earned his first save.

The Twins go for the series win on Sunday. Bailey Ober gets the ball for the Twins, while the Blue Jays will counter with old friend Jose Berrios.

Extra innings …

-Despite the win, the Twins still struck out 11 times as a team, including Joey Gallo with four whiffs.

-Many are quick to bemoan the state of the AL Central because the Twins lead the division with a 27-25 record. Well, take a look at the NL Central and you’ll see that the Milwaukee Brewers find themselves with the same record and a slim lead over four weaker clubs. Sounds familiar to me.

-What happened to Derek Shelton’s Pittsburgh Pirates? After they produced a 20-9 record in March and April, they went into a 6-15 tailspin in May.

-Toronto’s Bo Bichette can certainly hit. He homered and tripled in Saturday’s loss and homered and singled in Friday’s win. He is hitting .335 this season.

COMMENTS

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.