The Twins bounced back with authority following the sweep in Milwaukee by taking three of four games from the Texas Rangers, one of the best teams in the American League, including Sunday’s 7-6 win in 13 innings.
It wasn’t always pretty — both teams were a combined 4-for-34 with runners in scoring position and stranded 24 men on base — but Royce Lewis hit a grand slam, they got a huge lift from Dallas Keuchel in relief and finally the Twins took advantage of some wildness late to earn the bases loaded walk-off walk to edge the Rangers.
The result is that the Twins still maintain a six-game lead over the Cleveland Guardians, who got seriously pushed around by the Los Angeles Dodgers, but wouldn’t you know it? The Guards took two of three games from the Toronto Blue Jays and now come to Target Field on Monday. Kenta Maeda gets the ball.
Extra innings …
-Starting pitcher Bailey Ober was not sharp on Sunday, allowing five runs, all earned, in four innings of work. But pitcher Keuchel followed him and gave the Twins five scoreless innings. The win finally went to Dylan Floro, who improved to 5-6 with a 4.89 ERA.
-Rookie Royce Lewis hit a grand slam in the game to cut the Rangers’ lead over the Twins to 5-4. I listened to Lewis being interviewed by Twins radio guys Cory Provus and Dan Gladden after the game. If Lewis doesn’t have a long major league career, he can certainly be a coach at this level. I love his relentlessly positive attitude.
-On Aug. 24, 1981, Kent Hrbek, in his first major league game, hit a home run in the 12th inning to help the Twins beat the Yankees 3-2.
The Minneapolis Tribune lede:
“Kent Hrbek, a pretty normal kid from Bloomington, did something no one is supposed to Monday night.”
The New York Daily News lede:
“Try to imagine this fairy tale: You’re 21 years old, playing Class A baseball for the Visalia Oaks in the California League. True you’re having a great season, leading the league in practically every offensive category, but you are still caught by surprise when your manager tells you you’re going to the big leagues.
“The next day you find yourself in Yankee Stadium. … You are understandably awed and yet a few hours later you hit a home run over the right-centerfield fence in the 12th inning to beat the Yankees 3-2.”
The best the Tribune can come up with is a “pretty normal kid from Bloomington?”
Advantage: Daily News.
Sources: MLB.com, Newspapers.com.