Minnesota Twins Lose 6-5 to Washington Nationals in 16 Innings
After over 5 hours of baseball, the Minnesota Twins were primed to pull off an exhausting win over one of baseball’s hottest teams. After a two-out walk and a stolen base, all that stood between the Twins and a win was pitcher Oliver Perez, who hadn’t batted since 2010. He dropped down a bunt that looked to be curving foul. Instead, catcher John Ryan Murphy fielded the bunt, and overthrew 1st base, letting the tying run score in the bottom of the 15th inning.
The Nationals’ Chris Heisey led off the bottom of the 16th with the game winning home run, and sending the Twins to a crushing loss, their 3rd straight, and second straight game with more than 18 or more strikeouts. This time, Twins batters struck out 20 times, though in many more at bats.
After struggling to put up runs against Nats starter, Stephen Strasburg, the Twins finally broke through in the 8th. After Byron Buxton struck out for Strasberg’s 10th and final K, pinch-hitter Joe Mauer singled, followed by an infield single to Eduardo Nunez (4-7 on the day).
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Brian Dozier worked the count full before pulling a long drive to left just foul. The next pitch, Dozier made it count by blasting it 409 feet to left field for the Twins’ first 3 run home run of the season, and giving Minnesota a hard-earned 4-1 lead.
Trevor May came in for the 8th. 10 pitches later, the Nationals made the score 4-3. May stranded the tying run on second to escape with the lead—a lead that new closer Kevin Jepsen inherited for the 9th. Suddenly, Nationals Park erupted as Bryce Harper made his first appearance on the day, as he stepped in to pinch hit for center fielder Michael Taylor.
Jepsen eschewed any semblance of a breaking ball, instead pumping nothing but 95 mph fastballs to Harper. With the count standing 2-2, Jepsen appeared to catch Harper looking with a strike on the outer half of the plate. As Jepsen raised his arm in celebration, home plate umpire Toby Basner ran the count full. After a foul on a high fastball, Jepsen made his mistake by throwing a low strike, right in Harper’s wheelhouse, that ended up landing 413 feet away over the center field wall, and setting the stage for the late-inning heroics an hour or so later.
MVT: Brian Dozier
The Twins open three game home stand versus Cleveland Indians starting tomorrow at Target Field. Tommy Milone (0-1) will start for Minnesota against the Indians’ Danny Salazar (2-1). The game will be broadcast on FSN. First pitch at 7:10 PM. Twins will honor Prince tomorrow during game, and will play “Little Red Corvette” during the 7th inning stretch for the remainder of the season.