August 31, 2023

Twins not out of the woods yet as lead slips to 5 games

The Twins were one strike away from claiming a 2-1 win over the Cleveland Guardians on Wednesday.

Instead, closer Jhoan Duran threw a wild pitch, the runner on third scored to tie the game, and then in extra innings, reliever Kody Funderburk, who made his major league debut in this series, served up a three-run bomb and the Twins went from 2-1 winners to 5-2 losers.

Not only did they lose the game, they also dropped the series to the Guards, which means Cleveland trails the Twins by only five games with six key games still facing the team from Minnesota. The Twins now head to Texas for three games, followed by three more in northeast Ohio on the shores of Lake Erie.

The AL Central is still up for grabs, folks.

The Twins got plenty of pop in their Game 1 win over the Guards but the offense has gone wanting ever since, including Wednesday when they scored their two runs on a grand total of four hits and struck out 14 times as a team.

The result is that they let Sonny Gray’s great start go to waste. He pitched seven scoreless innings, then stepped aside for a bullpen that wasn’t quite up to the task, allowing five runs the rest of the way.

Cleveland’s Kole Calhoun hit the three-run shot off Funderburk, and as soon as he hit it, everyone knew it was gone. Calhoun immediately dropped his bat and Funderburk walked off the mound.

Joe Ryan gets the ball Friday in Texas against Max Scherzer, who carved up the Twins pretty good in their last meeting.

Extra innings …

-Carlos Correa had another tough night by going hitless at the plate and grounding into his 28th double play of the season.

-Oregon State man Steven Kwan, who plays for the Guards, had six hits in the series.


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.