The Twins continue to keep pace with the Cleveland Guardians. The Guards have won back to back games over the Tampa Bay Rays, while the Twins have done the same, getting a 5-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Friday and a 10-inning 9-7 win on Saturday.
Two big innings helped the Twins on Saturday. A five-run fourth inning propelled the Twins in front, then they tacked on three more runs in the top of the 10th. Donovan “Donnie Barrels” Solano, who is now hitting .296 on the season, was the Big Bopper, collecting four hits in five trips to the plate with a run scored and four RBI. I don’t know where the Twins would be without that guy.
On the mound, Dallas Keuchel was not sharp, allowing five runs, all earned, in three-plus innings. His early exit meant manager Rocco Baldelli had to run deep on the bullpen, and deep he went calling on eight relievers to preserve the win. Jhoan Duran finally locked down the game to earn his 24th save.
The Twins go for the sweep on Sunday. Kenta Maeda gets the ball.
Extra innings …
-The Twins are 71-65, which ties their high-water mark for number of games over .500 this season. Let’s see if they can make it seven games over .500 on Sunday.
-The Twins improved to 5-1 against the Rangers this season and also are now 12-7 in extra-inning games.
-It’s a good thing that Max Scherzer stepped aside when he did on Friday because as soon as he was gone the Twins hit three home runs to win the game, 5-1. But until then, Scherzer had one-hit the Twins over six innings. Rangers manager Bruce Bochy won’t make that mistake again.
-The Twins’ Joe Ryan also pitched well in Friday’s game. Ryan, who had just returned from the injured list, allowed a run over six innings with seven strikeouts to improve to 10-8 with a 4.20 ERA.
-The Twins need to keep pace with the Guards because they appear to be very serious about their stretch run after they went and picked up three players off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels. The Guards got starting pitcher Lucas Giolito and relievers Matt Moore and Reynaldo Lopez.
Giolito, for one, struggled with the Angels, but he showed much better form when he was still with the Chicago White Sox. For his career, he has pitched to a 4.35 ERA while striking out more than 1,000 hitters over 983 innings.