July 17, 2023

Twins sweep A’s, but Oakland gives them all they could handle

The Twins got back on track with a second-half-starting sweep of the cellar dwelling Oakland A’s over the weekend, but the three wins did not come easy.

In Game 1, they nearly beat themselves. In Game 2, they coughed up a huge lead and in Game 3, the Twins had to rally from a 3-0 deficit. Although it was a sweep, there was a lot not to like.

In Friday’s 5-4 win, the Twins struck out 14 times as a team and were 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base. Starter Kenta Maeda also struggled with his command, tossing 80 pitches over three innings.

In Saturday’s 10-7 win, the Twins had a 6-0 lead, then watched as the A’s rallied to tie the game at 7-7. All-Star pitcher Pablo Lopez looked good early, but finally allowed seven runs on eight hits, including two home runs, over five-plus innings.

And then on Sunday, the Twins had to rally for another 5-4 victory. The win went to reliever Jorge Lopez, the save to Jhoan Duran, who had a save in each game of the sweep. He now has 15 saves on the season.

Sonny Gray gets the ball Monday in Seattle.

Extra innings …

-The Twins are again 2.5 games up on the Cleveland Guardians at 48-46 in the AL Central.

-Byron Buxton had a terrible series, striking out seven times in 12 trips to the plate.

-You know who also had a terrible series? The umpires. The strike zone really got out of whack and it wasn’t lost on anybody, including broadcasters and players.

Carlos Correa and Joey Gallo were nearly ejected for arguing about balls and strikes during the series, and finally Twins hitting coach David Popkins was ejected trying to defend Gallo.

-The Twins’ sweep of the A’s in Oakland was the first since a three-game sweep of the club in July 1997. The final game of that sweep featured a masterpiece turned in by pitcher Brad Radke, who tossed a complete game five-hitter to blank the A’s, 1-0. Radke allowed five hits over nine innings with no walks and 10 strikeouts.

It was his ninth consecutive win, lifting his record to 13-5 with a 3.68 ERA. He would go on to win 20 games in 1997 and finish third in the AL Cy Young award vote. Radke, a career Twin, won 148 games over 12 seasons.

Sources: MLB.com, Baseball-Reference.com, Newspapers.com


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.