Saturday, June 1 — A decent start by Jose Berrios, a clutch relief job by Taylor Rogers and a two-out two-run single in the ninth inning by Eddie Rosario (47 RBIs) gave the Twins a 5-3 win over Tampa Bay on Friday after the 14-3 thumping the night before. Win No. 38 of the season came on June 1, 37 days earlier than No. 38 last season. The win came without a homer as the team was held homeless in back-to-back games for only the third time this season. The Rays led 3-1 in the fifth inning before a rally tied the game.
Sunday, June 2 — Marwin Gonzalez and Byron Buxton homered in a 6-2 win Saturday over the Rays that gave Minnesota a 14-3 record in the last 17 games. The Twins scored in five straight innings in the game and Kyle Gibson upped his record to 6-2. It was the 25th straight game in which the team has scored at least three runs, the longest streak in team history. The Twins struck out 12 times (Miguel Sano had 3) but got some clutch hitting against a good team that was still 14 games over .500 after the Twins won.
Monday, June 3 — For the second game in a row the starting pitcher for the Twins didn't give up an earned run in a 9-7 win over the Rays in Sunday. Gibson (5 innings, 1 unearned run) and Jake Odorizzi (6 innings, 0 runs, and a personal eight-game winning streak) combined for 11 innings and a 0.00 ERA in those two games. It's hard to lose with pitching like that. Odorizzi was a big story in the game but the game ball would probably go to Buxton after a game that showed why, five years ago, many in baseball (not just the Minnesota organization) considered him one of the top two or three prospects. He hit his American League-leading 20th double, also singled, stole a base and scored two runs, one on a safety squeeze when very few others in the majors would have even tried to score. Perhaps the best part of his day was a catch up against the wall and the resulting 303-foot throw to first to double up a runner. Maybe no other outfielder makes that play. He still strikes out too much but is having a good year. Perhaps the best part about the team's 40-18 start, and an 11 1/2-game lead, is that there hasn't been a super-long winning streak. The team has been consistent, posting a 15-3 record after a loss. Mitch Garver came off the injured list after missing 15 games. Oh yes, the win gave Minnesota a 3-1 series win over a team with very good pitching. And it may have soothed the fans who were worried after the 14-3 loss three days earlier.
Tuesday, June 4 — With the Twins not playing yesterday it's time again to look at a few ex-Twins. Leading the way this week is Eduardo Escobar with Arizona .He leads the National League in games played (60) and at-bats (240) - in other words, he plays every day. And he has 14 doubles, 15 homers, has driven in 48 runs, is hitting .288 and has a very good slugging percentage of .567. Might he look better at third than Miguel Sano?The Twins got three Class A players in the Escobar trade with Arizona — Jhoan Duran, Ernie De La Trinidad and Gabriel Maciel. I don't think we'll see any of them soon. Duran, 21, is 0-5 as a pitcher at Fort Myers with a 3.61 ERA. Outfielder Trinidad, 23, was in Class AA but was hitting only .205 and was demoted to Class A Fort Myers this week. Maciel, 20, an outfielder with only 6 homers in 972 minor league at-bats, is hitting .308 at Cedar Rapids, a low A league. Fort Myers is a high A league. Remember that manger Paul Molitor wasn't told by the front office that Esciobar had been traded? He found out from reporters who knew it before him. That was embarrassing.
Wednesday, June 5 — I have a different opinion than Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, and Henry Lake on WCCO Radio's post-game show, about the outing of Devin Smetlzer last night in a 5-2 loss to the Indians. Both the manager and Lake said they thought Smetlzer pitched well. That's the first time I've heard someone say that about a pitcher who went 6 1/3 innings and gave up 5 runs, as well as 4 homers. I want Smeltzer to do well as much as the next guy but I'm sure the Indians had a scouting report for his second start in the majors. And I wouldn't doubt if he is headed back to the minors soonwhen Michael Pineda returns. Let's hope Smeltzer is a pitcher of the future for Minnesota.
Thursday, June 6 — It's only one game but giving up leads of 5-1, 6-3 and 7-5 (that in the 7th inning) did't look good in the loss to Cleveland, as well as a Miguel Sano error that produced three unearned runs and a base running mistake by Max Kepler (0 for his last 21 at-bats) that ended the seventh inning earlier than it should have. It was just an ugly game with a rain delay of an hour and 45 minutes. The guy on WCCO told us that he knew Cleveland wasn't going to give up despite being down by 11 1/2 games when the series began. That's not news - it's too early for a team that has dominated the division to roll over and die with 100 games to go. Now we'll see if the Jose Berrios finally has a good game tonight to stop the little life that has been breathed into the Indians.
Friday, June 7 — The Twins (41-20) kept their streak alive of not losing three in a row this year (they're the only team in the majors that hasn't done that) by beating the Indians 5-4 as Max Kepler had a three-homer game in Cleveland for the second time in his career. It was a good time to play the Indians (31-31) as three of their best pitchers are on the injured list. Manager Baldellil pulled starter Jose Berrios, who was pitching a 2-hitter, in the seventh inning and Cleveland got back in the game after trailing 5-1. The 100-pitch thing is ridiculous. Do you think the Cleveland hitters weren't happy to see Berrios taken out of the game? And maybe it's an age thing but I dislike it when hitters strike out on a third-strike ball that isn't caught and then don't run to first. Make the guy make an accurate throw!! Best headline of the year so far? The Star Tribune's head on Friday: "It's Eins, Zwei, Drei for Kepler" — a reference to him being born in Berlin, Germany. Bring on the 23-36 Tigers and manage Ron Gardenhire this weekend. But don't take it for granted.