Minnesota Twins: Mitch Garver’s blast helps even series with Indians
By Chris Schad
The Minnesota Twins catcher had a historic night, setting a new franchise record and hitting a three-run home run to help even the series with the Cleveland Indians.
Coming into Saturday night’s game, the Minnesota Twins might have felt a little pessimistic. After dropping the first game of a crucial three-game series with the Cleveland Indians on Friday night, the Twins learned that they will be without the services of their top starting pitcher Michael Pineda after he earned a 60-game suspension for violating MLB’s performance-enhancing drugs policy.
Even with the dark cloud hanging over the Twins as they took the field, they forged ahead and with a strong effort from Jake Odorizzi on the mound and a pair of home runs from Mitch Garver, the Twins were able to even the series at one game apiece with a 5-3 victory.
The Twins were able to get off to a fast start in this game as Odorizzi breezed through the Indians in the top of the first before Garver hit his 27th home run of the season to give Minnesota an early lead.
The home run also had significance as Garver, who hit the home run that set the single-season MLB record for home runs in a season one week ago, surpassed Earl Battey (26 HR in 1963) for the most home runs by a catcher in a single season.
The bats would fall silent even though Aaron Civale would give the Twins their share of opportunities, but Odorizzi would continue his dominance over the Indians to help maintain the lead. The right-hander would go 5 1/3 innings and be the second straight Minnesota pitcher to strike out 10 Indians before running into trouble in the top of the sixth.
After putting Oscar Mercado and Carlos Santana on with walks, Yasiel Puig would lace an RBI double to tie the game for Cleveland. After Tyler Duffey came in to relieve Odorizzi, a wild pitch would allow Santana to score and give the Indians a 2-1 lead.
That score would carry into the bottom of the seventh when Willians Astudillo would earn an infield single. After a strange sequence that would see Francisco Lindor get time called after spiking the ball into the ground, Schoop would make things irrelevant with a double high off the right-center fence to drive in Astudillo and tie the game.
Max Kepler would walk and Garver would play the hero again, blasting his second home run of the night, a three-run blast for his 28th of the season, to give the Twins a 5-2 lead.
Although Jason Kipnis would deliver an RBI single off Sergio Romo to cut into the lead, the Twins bullpen would take things from there as Taylor Rogers delivered a 1-2-3 inning in the night to preserve the 5-3 victory.
With the win, the Twins improved their record to 88-54 and regained a 6 1/2 game advantage in the American League Central. With Minnesota’s magic number to clinch the division down to 14, it will have to contend with Mike Clevenger (10-2, 2.71 ERA) in Sunday’s rubber game. The Twins starter is yet to be announced, but Sunday’s game is slated for a 1:10 p.m. CT first pitch.