Sunday afternoon was shaping up to be the kind of typicalLy frustrating down note the Minnesota Twins have played more than a few times this season.
Down 5-0 after five innings, the Twins looked like they were going to rest on the previous two wins over Texas and let this one get away from them. Instead, Minnesota battled back harder than we’ve seen them do in the past and roared back into the game.
The Twins took a chunk out of the lead with a four-run sixth inning, and tied the game in the bottom of the ninth to force extras. From there, they battled through three more innings before finally walking things off in the bottom of the 13th.
It was the kind of victory we’re not used to seeing from the team this year, but one they’ve always seemed more than capable of pulling off. For all of the woes experienced this year, this is the Twins team we expect to see and it was a sight for sore eyes.
The series with Texas began as one between two first-place teams, but it ended with only one of them still in control of their division. Texas sunk into second out West and into the Wild Card race, while the Twins added to what is now a six-game lead over Cleveland in the Central.
After the game manager Rocco Baldelli couldn’t hide how proud he was of the way the Twins fought back from the dead.
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”I had chills after the game. I was so impressed with our group,” Baldelli said. “That’s what actually fighting and winning a ballgame looks like.”
It truly was a team effort for the Twins to march back from five rund down. Starter Bailey Ober had a tough outing, getting chased after four innings and ending up with five earned runs, but Dallas Keuchel came out of the bullpen to manage things until the Twins bats came to life a few innings later.
Keuchel’s work led the way for one of the most impressive outings the Twins bullpen has turned in all season. The unit has been scrutinized this season for being more of a late-inning problem than solution, but there was none of that in a tight game on Sunday afternoon.
If we’re talking high points of the comeback, though, the clear winner is Royce Lewis and his grand slam. Lewis once again strapped the Twins on his back and carried them to places they wouldn’t have gotten to without him — which is something he’s making a habit out of doing.
”Big time effort from our team. You can single some names out if you want to, but that was a team victory,” Baldelli said. “Good team on the other side of the field but our team is tough. We kept working and never relented really at any point.”
Emilio Pagan surrendered a run in the top of the 12th inning, but the Twins offense was able to get it back in the home half. That’s not something we’ve typically seen this season, and now is as good a time as any for Minnesota to start getting it together.
Usually the Twins lose this game, chalk it up to a down game in a series victory and move on. What that’s created, though, is a weird cycle where things never really seem to take off the way they should for a team this talented.
Rather than ending an otherwise impressive series on a down note, the Twins now carry the momentum of what happened on Sunday into its next series and can build on it. That’s a new thing, and the fact that they Twins appear to be taking a leap as the home stretch of the season arrives is a pretty good omen for what might await in October.