Saturday, Aug. 3 — The Twins took a 4-1 lead over Kansas City, fell behind 5-4 as Martin Perez balked in a run and gave up a couple homers, then tied it at 6-6, scored five in the seventh for an 11-6 lead. and hung on for an 11-9 win as newcomer Sam Dyson faltered for the second night in a row. Nelson Cruz drove in five runs. However, it was the third straight home game in which the Twins had given up at least 9 runs and 15 hits.
Sunday, Aug. 4 — Thirty-nine-year-old Nelson Cruz hit three homers as the Twins pounded the White Sox 11-3, Kyle Gibson upping his record to 11-4, best by percentage among the team's starters. Jorge Polanco and C.J. Cron also homered, Polanco's three-run blast the most important because it came in the second inning after Kansas City had tied the game at 2-2.
Monday, Aug. 5 — Finally, after five series this season in which the Twins had a 2-0 lead and then lost the third game, they swept a three-game series with a 3-0 win over Kansas City. They needed it because Cleveland, 38-16 in its last 54 games, won again. It was a tense game with rookie Devin Smeltzer shutting down the Royals for six innings on two hits. He left with a 1-0 lead and three relievers pitched scoreless innings, catcher Jason Castro hitting his first homer in a month to make it 2-0 in the seventh. And there were outstanding fielding plays by infielders Miguel Sano, Ehire Adrianza and Luis Arraez, and a diving catch by Jake Cave to end the game. Cave was there because Byron Buxton is again on the injured list. Buxton hasn't played a home game since the first week in July. There comes a time when you have to be more careful, no matter what anyone says. If the game's on the line, or it's a must-win game, that's different. But he's had too many collisions with walls when making the catch wasn't so important. Recent acquisition Sergio Romo has been outstanding for the Twins, while recent acquisition Sam Dyson, after two horrible outings, is already on the injured list.
Tuesday, Aug. 6 — A few weeks ago before the Cleveland Indians went on a streak, a baseball friend said he thought the Twins were a team of destiny. It'll be awhile before we know if that's an accurate assessment. BUT, who would have thought that last night the two slowest runners in the lineup — Nelson Cruz and Jason Castro — would get infield hits in the same inning, and that it led to two runs? The answer: No one! And tell me if you knew back in March that Luis Arraez would be playing almost every day, or more accurately, that you even knew who he was. The big blow in the 5-3 win, over the very good Atlanta team, of course, was the prodigious homer that Miguel Sano hit to win the game. Cleveland lost 1-0 and now the Twins have a four-game lead. It was a good start to what promises to be a bunch of tough games. And to think that a SKOR North radio guy wanted to release Sano without getting anything in return. Oh yes, Trevor May was great in getting his second win in a few days. It would be a huge boost to the bullpen if he gets back to where he was early in the season.
Wednesday, Aug. 7 — It was 11-0 before the Twins scored in a 12-7 loss to Atlanta, Nelson Cruz hitting two homers (32 now) and Eddie Rosario and Mitch Garver also homering. Yes, four homers and still a blowout loss. The Atlanta pitcher, just up from the minors, had a 2-5 record this year and had given up six runs a game. Jose Berrios, called by most the ace of the staff, gave up nine runs in 5 2/3 innings (why did the manager leave him out there that long?) and has won only twice in the last 61 days after an 8-2 start this season. Hope he's sharp on Sunday against Cleveland.
Thursday, Aug. 8 — It was too little too late for the Twins, two days in a row, in an 11-7 loss to the Braves, that the Twins fell far behind and then scored some late runs that made the game look closer. Atlanta hitters knocked consecutive pitches out of the park in the first inning and soon it was 3-0 and then 6-0 a couple innings later. Meanwhile, the Indians swept a doubleheader, 2-0 and 5-1, and ended up giving up only two runs to Texas in three games (the Rangers won 1-0 to open the series), while the Twins gave up 26 in three games to the Braves, 23 the last two days. Does that mean the teams needs pitching, as some have said, or was it just two bad days? The answer may come the next four days as the Twins and Indians square off in a four-game set at Target Field. What's scary for Minnesota fans is that the Indians did it without without their top three pitchers. Cy Young winner Corey Kluber is still on the IL, Carlos Corrasco is out for the season, and Trevor Bauer has been peddled to the Reds after a temper tantrum. That means the pitching depth for Cleveland is far superior to the Twins at this point. In fact, the Indians used only relievers in the second game yesterday against Texas. The lead is down to two games as the series starts tonight. Oh yes, the highlights:The Twins turned a triple play for the second time this season, both started by Miguel Sano. And Sano hit four bullets in five at-bats, including a three-run homer, and has knocked in 18 runs the past 15 games.
Friday, Aug. 9 — It was a bad start to the Cleveland series for the Twins as they lost 7-5 last night, making it the second three-game losing streak of the season. Not only that, Nelson Cruz left the game with a strained wrist on the same hand that forced him to the injured list in May. He had 14 homers in his previous 17 games. Starter Kyle Gibson walked a career-high six batters and didn't make it out of the fifth inning. Still, the Twins had chances with the bat and failed, leaving two on base in the eighth and leaving the bases loaded in the ninth. It's amazing what they do (or don't do) with the bases loaded. Recently they were 1 for their last 24 at-bats with the bases loaded. That's hard to figure, considering the offense the team has. And opponents have scored 30 runs in the three straight losses. Tonight the Twins send a rookie lefty, Devin Smeltzer, against Shane Bieber (11-4).