Minnesota Twins Drop Finale With Chance to Sweep
The MinnesotaTwins came into today with the rare chance to complete a series sweep, and played an uninspired game on a gorgeous Thursday afternoon. Twins (23-49) cut short their 3 game winning streak, as they allowed 22 runs to an anemic Phillies team this week – yet won two out of three.
Minnesota took an early first inning lead on an RBI double by the hot-hitting Brian Dozier, his 26th hit this month. His slash for June is an All-Star-ish (.338 AVG / .420 OBP / 1.004 OPS) and now has 11 RBI in 3 weeks of June, after just 17 for the first two months of 2016.
The Phillies would score immediately the next inning, a recurring theme for Twins’ starters and Ricky Nolasco in particular. Ryan Howard continued to hit Twins pitching well, with a blast on a full count pitch that Nolasco appeared to just try to get over for a strike.
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He couldn’t get any of the Philadelphia batters to swing and miss at any of his fastballs or curveballs all day. In fact, he finally got a swing and a miss in the fifth inning on his rarely used changeup, and picked up his only strikeout of the game on another changeup in the 7th inning.
His inability to get swings and misses seemed to unnerve him as he struggled to get out of a lot of high pitch battles. He usually ended up throwing a strike down the middle with either his curve or fastball, seemingly just to get onto the next batter. The Phillies did not miss many of those offerings, collecting 15 hits on the day, 10 off Nolasco.
But, Nolasco did battle all day, getting into the 7th inning before giving way to Kevin Jepsen. Jepsen allowed the Twins to escape the 7th trailing just 4-2. However, the Twins were not able to rough up Philly starter Jerad Eickhoff like they did other Philadelphia pitchers. He allowed only 5 hits, and his only extra base hit allowed was the Dozier double.
Jepsen imploded once again in the 8th inning, this time unable to locate his fastball. A line single, plus a walk were the prelim to a monster shot to the left field plaza by Freddy Galvis, who chased Jepsen from the mound with his 3-run homer, unofficially putting an end to a game that ended with Philadelphia (31-43) snapping a 9-game losing streak, winning by a score of 7-3.
MVT: Max Kepler & Brian Dozier
The Minnesota Twins will hit the road for 6 games, starting in New York versus the Yankees. Tommy Milone was pushed back from today’s game to allow Nolasco to pitch on normal rest. Milone will take the mound opposite Masahiro Tanaka. First pitch is at 6:10 CDT. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports North.