The Twins faced a familiar foe in the Yankees Tuesday, with an even more familiar outcome, losing 8-4. Minnesota lost Rob Refsnyder to injury and capitulated after a promising start.
On a sweltering day in Minneapolis the Twins received positive injury news on Tuesday. Rob Refsnyder was activated from the 7 day concussion IL with Gilberto Celestino optioned back to St. Paul. Additionally, Byron Buxton began a rehab assignment with the Saints Tuesday night. Kenta Maeda is scheduled to throw 50-60 pitches for St. Paul Wednesday night. Will the Twins get healthy in the nick of time, or is it too late?
DJ Lemahieu led off for the Yankees, barely missing a home run with a long double to right field. Despite the first two Yankee batted balls ominously clocking in at over 100 mph, Pineda recovered for a strong, scoreless first inning. The Twins returned the threat with singles from Josh Donaldson and Miguel Sanó, the latter coming after an impressive at bat laying off close pitches on the outside corner. Ryan Jeffers then worked back from an 0-2 count to rip a double down the left field line, scoring both runners and giving the Twins the first lead of the night.
Rob Refsnyder led off the top of the second as if he’d never left, with a single to left field. Andrelton Simmons singled up the middle before a brutal call from home plate umpire Nick Mahrley on a fastball well inside rung up Garlick. Josh Donaldson ripped a line drive right at Gleybar Torres but the Twins were looking comfortable against Jordan Montgomery through 2 innings.
It was perhaps a sign that luck was on the Twins side when Miguel Andujar ripped a 109 mph screamer off Pineda, which Willians Astudillo snared on an incredible play at 3rd. Twins fans optimism however, was misplaced.
Make no mistake, Pineda was cruising. After the first inning leadoff double, he retired 11 straight before Giancarlo Stanton hit a weak ground ball through the hole at short. Pineda had particularly strong command of the outside corner of the plate. In spite of an error which allowed Urshela to reach base on a dribbler to the mound, Pineda escaped the jam, getting Sanchez to line out to Andrelton Simmons to end the threat.
Pineda found trouble in the 5th, a walk and two singles loading the bases with only one out. Pineda then walked in Aaron Judge to cut the lead to 2-1 before being removed by Rocco Baldelli. Pineda followed a pattern more typical of José Berríos, looking dominant before completely losing control in short order.
Jorge Alcalá, being exposed to increasingly high leverage roles, entered for Pineda, bases loaded, one out. After back to back swinging strikes on nasty sliders, Alcalá spiked a 55 foot fastball to allow the tying run to score on a wild pitch. Sigh. Torres lined out to Simmons for the second out, before Stanton ground out to end the inning. All things considered, one out of three inherited runners scoring was a win. The game was knotted at 2-2 entering the bottom of the fifth.
What felt like it might have been a strong day for the offense also fell into a predictable pattern. After an impressive start, the Twins capitulated against Jordan Montgomery. They have to go against Gerrit Cole and the spider stuff tomorrow, y’all.
Alexander Colomé entered in the 6th inning, immediately giving up a searing, 111 mph double to Roughned Odor before a Willians Astudillo error on a chopper to third loaded the bases for the second straight inning. A Gardner sacrifice fly gave the Yankees their first lead. Astudillo made consecutive gaffs on consecutive plays, cutting off a strong Larnach throw which could have saved the Yankees go ahead run.
The Twins bats finally awoke in the 6th, with Refsnyder doubling home Larnach. Refsnyder would immediately exit the game with hamstring tightness. The Twins were unable to score.
In the 8th, the Yankees retook the lead. Clint Frazier singled, Andujar singled, and Gardner sacrifice bunted them over to 3rd and 2nd respectively. With the infield playing in, a smoked LeMahieu ground ball was thrown away by Polanco, the Twins 3rd error of the game. The Yankees scored again on a fielder’s choice which resulted in the Twins 4th error of the night as Simmons was off the base at 2nd. Rogers induced a double play to end the inning, but the damage was done.
Griffin Jax entered for his MLB debut in the 9th. He hung a breaking ball to Gary Sanchez which was deposited for a 2 run HR, making it a 7-3 ballgame. Andujar added a solo shot two batters later. The Yankees closed out the game in the 9th despite a Twins win to take their record at Target Field to 24-11.
On my recap days, I’m going to throw in a crowd sourced statistic, joke, story, or complaint to get more voices into the recap. Tonight's Bleacher Tweet is courtesy of Matt Braun
Bullpen Usage Chart
On Wednesday, the Twins will send Randy Dobnak to the hill against Gerrit Cole. First pitch is at 7:10 CT. If you want to whet your whistle for tomorrow’s encounter, check out this footage, courtesy of BSN of Donaldson and Cole addressing pitchers using sticky substances on the baseball.