The Twins really ought to skip pitching in the fifth inning from now on.
Kyle Gibson, like Jose Berrios the day before, got knocked around by Mariners bats and surrendered a crooked number to the scoreboard. Unlike Berríos, Gibson didn’t have a 15-run cushion, and at the end of the fifth, Minnesota’s lead was reduced from two to minus-one.
As for those “good pitching versus good hitting” apothegms, each side had their moments to claim importance. Neither team recorded an extra-base hit until the home half of the fourth, when Edwin Encarnacion and Domingo Santana rapped back-to-back doubles to break Gibby’s attempt at a shutout.
The Twins retaliated with some classic piranha baseball. After Luis Arraez and Byron Buxton walked, Jorge Polanco dropped a bunt single which Yusei Kikuchi threw into right field, bringing Arráez home and sending everyone else up a base. They advanced again on a Jonathan Schoop RBI groundout before Eddie Rosario’s grounder to short went under the glove of J.P. Crawford, tallying Polanco and concluding the scoring in the top half of the fifth.
Unfortunately, that conluded the scoring in only the top half of the fifth. Gibson got two outs after Crawford’s double, but Mitch Haniger and Daniel Vogelbach followed with the Mariners’ second set of back-to-back hits. These were home runs, putting an end to Minnesota’s lead.
While Seattle’s pitching set down 11 in a row during the late innings, Encarnación would add to the Mariners’ score line in the seventh, walloping an Earl Weaver special off Trevor May, who had walked a pair on with two outs to set up the three-run jack.
The Twins put together a rally in the ninth, adding a run on two singles and a walk to bring the tying run to the plate, but Schoop flied out to the track in right to end it.
Despite the loss, Minnesota still holds a 3-1 lead in West Coast games this week. They must remain in the Pacific Time Zone for a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California, thereby ruining our sleep for the rest of the sennight.
(aside from the ones missed in the singing of the National Anthem):
The Twins’ winning streak has ended at five and their homer-game streak at 13; their septet of hits this game were all singles.
Kikuchi’s throwing error was nearly his second of three on the game. In the first inning, C.J. Cron was initially ruled safe on a swinging bunt, Kikuchi’s throw pulling Encarnación off the bag, but Seattle challenged and Cron was called out. In the sixth, Kikuchi fielded a dribbler and his throw to first hit batter-runner Arráez in the back, but Arráez was called out for batter interference. As the rulebook says:
6.05 A batter is out when—
(k) In running the last half of the distance from home base to first base, while the ball is being fielded to first base, he runs outside (to the right of) the three-foot line, or inside (to the left of) the foul line, and in the umpire’s judgment in so doing interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base, in which case the ball is dead; except that he may run outside (to the right of) the three-foot line or inside (to the left of) the foul line to avoid a fielder attempting to field a batted ball;
(Rule 6.05(k) Comment: The lines marking the three-foot lane are a part of that lane and a batter-runner is required to have both feet within the three-foot lane or on the lines marking the lane. The batter-runner is permitted to exit the three-foot lane by means of a step, stride, reach or slide in the immediate vicinity of first base for the sole purpose of touching first base.)
Haven’t seen that one in a while.
Jorge Polanco: 4-5, 1 R, 1 RBI
Luis Arráez: 1-2, 2 BB, 1 R
Kyle Gibson: 6 IP, 9 H, 5 XBH, 2 HR, 4 R (4 ER)
Trevor May: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 HR, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB
Miguel Sano: 0-4, 3 K
Twins’ 2-3-4 hitters (Schoop-Cron-Rosario): 0-12, 2 K (both Cron), 8 LOB