Twins rebound after tough loss to split doubleheader with Cleveland
Minnesota wins 6-0 in second game after falling 3-2 in opener
CLEVELAND — The Twins didn’t have much time to stew over Tuesday afternoon’s loss, which is a good thing for them, because it was one to forget. They listened to music, Byron Buxton said, and some played cards.
“Our guys are good at being forgetful,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “It’s the nature of our game.”
After suffering a 3-2 loss in which Emilio Pagán surrendered a late lead to the Guardians for the third time in the span of a week, Jorge Polanco, just reinstated from the injured list, and Josh Winder, back as the 27th man for the doubleheader, helped lead the Twins to a doubleheader split in the nightcap.
Winder’s six shutout innings in his first appearance in the majors since spending more than a month on the injured list with a shoulder impingement provided the foundation for Tuesday night’s 6-0 win.
“I think we had a really good plan coming in, seeing these guys so much in a sport span of time,” Winder said. “(Catcher) Ryan (Jeffers) had a really good feel for what’s working against these guys and I kind of benefited from not facing them in the short time. … We had a good plan, executed some pitches, stayed out of the middle.”
Winder walked the first batter of the game and then allowed a single to the next. But he settled in after that, retiring the next three in order. He would up giving up four hits in his outing — the other three were doubles, all of which he quickly worked around.
Because he came up as the team’s 27th man for the doubleheader, Winder had to be returned to Triple-A after the game. When he returns and how he fits into plans moving forward this season — he’s both started and relieved this season — the Twins (43-34) don’t yet know.
But Baldelli does know one thing: “When we give him the ball, it gives us a chance to win the game, whether that’s starting or not. What he showed us today was pretty close to what we saw earlier in the year when he was in great shape and throwing the ball well,” he said.
Winder got some offensive support with a trio of home runs from Polanco, who went 2 for 4 and drove in three runs in his return, Jose Miranda and Buxton.
Buxton’s home run was the 20th of the season in just his 57th game. It’s a new career-high for the center fielder, who has now hit 52 longballs in his past 162 games stretching back to 2019.
“It’s cool. At some point I was going to hit 20. It took longer than what I expected but it’s cool,” Buxton said. “It’s a great accomplishment but for me, as long as we’re winning, staying in first and controlling our destiny, that’s kind of my bigger picture and everything else is kind of a plus for me.”
The game two loss helped the Twins regain their three-game lead in the division over the Guardians (37-34) after a tough loss in the first game.
After taking an eighth-inning lead on a Carlos Correa home run in game one, Págan walked the first two batters in the bottom of the frame. He uncorked a wild pitch before the third batter he faced, Amed Rosario, shot a single up the middle, turning a 2-1 lead into a 3-2 deficit.
The late implosion came after a strong start from Devin Smeltzer, who threw six innings and struck out a career-high nine batters.
“These days are good, long days at the ballpark and after losing a tough one, to be able to come out, we talk about setting the tone and the emotion being good in the dugout, it was great,” Baldelli said.
This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.