Minnesota Twins: Put Up Solid Showing But Still Get Swept Away By Mets

Sep 18, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; Minnesota Twins left fielder Robbie Grossman (36) advances to third as New York Mets third baseman Kelly Johnson (55) is late with the tag during the eighth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 18, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; Minnesota Twins left fielder Robbie Grossman (36) advances to third as New York Mets third baseman Kelly Johnson (55) is late with the tag during the eighth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports /

Minnesota Twins Suffer Sweep at Hands of the New York Mets

The Minnesota Twins came into the Mets series stumbling to the 2016 season finish line. Yet, they played one of the National League contenders for the post-season tough all three games of the series.

They allowed no more than three runs in any game and in the finale, the bullpen threw four innings of shutout ball.

In the game before, starter Ervin Santana pitched seven shutout innings to give the Twins a great chance to win the second game.

The only game in which on of the Twins’ pitchers looked over-matched was the first game, in which rookie Jose Berrios struggled once again. This time, he mustered just four innings (80 pitches) and allowed two home runs and another three walks.

More from Puckett's Pond

So it was no surprise when Paul Molitor pulled his young starter for a pinch hitter despite trailing just 2-0 at the time.

The Twins were no match for Bartolo Colon, however, Friday night.

In fact, Berrios was the lone Twins offensive highlight when he collected his first major league hit off the veteran in the bottom of the third inning.

That hit was the first of just three the Twins could cobble together, falling to New York, 3-0. One of the others was by Brian Dozier, whose infield single after Berrios’ hit extended his hitting streak to 20 games.

Saturday proved to be another stinging no decision for Ervin Santana, his 11th on the year and third in a row.

In his last three starts, he’s allowed just four total runs, including just a lone run in his last two outings. Again, the Twins were stingy with the run support, though Santana did hand over a 1-0 lead to his bullpen.

Ryan Pressly promptly allowed a single, followed by a wild pitch. No surprise he then gave up a tailor-made double play ball that instead moved the lead runner to third base. A batter later, Santana’s win disappeared as quickly as Pressly.

The Twins did, however, battle back using the long ball. After having to go to extra innings, Byron Buxton continued his late-season surge with an 11th inning, lead-off home run. It was his seventh of the year, and his sixth since his latest recall a couple weeks ago.

That lead vaporized once Curtis Granderson lined a home run off Brandon Kintzler. Kintzler was hoping for his 15th save, instead it took just one batter to suffer his third blown save of 2016. After loading the bases, Kintzler escaped further damage by striking out Jose Reyes.

In the 12th, the Twins failed to score, but Granderson loomed as the third batter of the inning. After reliever Michael Tonkin collected two outs, Ryan O’Rourke was called upon to do what the lefty reliever is best at, getting left-handed hitters out.

But, instead, he allowed just the second home run of his career (60 batters) to a lefty, as the Grandy Man hit consecutive extra-inning home runs to beat the Twins, 3-2. He became the first NY Met to ever hit two home runs in extra innings.

In Sunday’s finale, Twins starter Kyle Gibson struggled through a disappointing first inning. The first five Mets reached base (two hits, two walks, one hit by pitch) as New York bolted to a 2-0 lead. He did get himself out of the bases-loaded jam with no outs without allowing another run to give Minnesota a chance to come back.

They did get one back immediately on a John Ryan Murphy RBI single. But Gibson gave it back an inning later, surrendering a solo home run. Kennys Vargas made it interesting late, blasting 426-ft shot to right center to pull the Twins within 3-2.

Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports /

But the Twins meekly went 1-2-3 in the ninth to suffer their 15th series sweep defeat of the season. Robbie Grossman was 4-for-4 in Sunday’s game, and Dozier once again singled to extend his streak to a career-high 22 games.

D. 19 hits, 12 walks, 35 strikeouts, 3 home<br />runs and 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position. The Minnesota Twins struck out<br />15 times in Sunday’s finale, and only had one clutch hit (Murphy) in the<br />series. Dozier gets the nod with his hitting streak intact despite his<br />struggles. He struck out twice in every game this weekend.. . Brian Dozier. OFFENSE

B. Team totals: 15 hits allowed, 7 walks, 3 home runs and 17 strikeouts – 9 by Santana. Minnesota Twins starters weren’t the problem this weekend, despite Santana the only pitcher to go more than five innings.. . Ervin Santana. STARTERS

Taylor Rogers. RELIEVERS . B. Team totals: 9 hits allowed (in 11.2 IP), 3 walks, 2 home runs and 13 strikeouts. Tayor Rogers appeared twice, throwing 2 2/3 total innings, collecting four strikeouts while allowing zero hits or walks..

. Brian Dozier. DEFENSE . A-. The Minnesota Twins made just a single error in the series, and<br />Dozier flashed Gold Glove-caliber leather at second base. He was involved in<br />three of the four double plays turned by the Twins over the weekend.

Notes: Eddie Rosario appears lost for the season, hurting his hand (possible broken thumb) while diving into first base trying to reach on an infield hit during the top of the 10th inning.

Next Up:
Twins are off on Monday, returning home for their final homestand of the season. Six games left at Target Field with three each against Detroit and Seattle. Hector Santiago (12-8) looks to continue his trend of good outings to five in a row opposite Matt Boyd (5-4).

Boyd allowed seven runs to the Twins his last time out, an 8-1 Twins win. First pitch 7:10 PM, and the game will be broadcast on Fox Sports North.