There are many ways to lose a game, some more frustrating than others. Giving up a bunch of prodigious dingers like last night? Irritating, for sure, but at least it’s a spectacle. A shaky bullpen walking too many guys and then letting a clutch hit go through? Awful, both for my eyes and blood pressure.
There’s nothing quite like losing by way of single after single, though.
Marco Gonzales looked fantastic out of the gate, retiring the first seven Twins he faced. As expected, he mixed all four of his pitches well, with the cutter and curveball seeing especially heavy deployment. Although Ehire Adrianza (really) broke his string by hammering a first-pitch fastball into the bullpens, Marco still looked pretty sharp, and was in a good rhythm after the first three frames.
Then the fourth happened. Marwin González continued to torture Mariner pitching by smacking a first-pitch curveball up the middle, C.J. Cron worked a four-pitch at-bat before blistering a middle-middle cutter into center, Willians Astudillo snuck a grounder down the right-field line, and Max Kepler laced an 0-1 fastball for the Twins’ second run. Eight pitches, four singles, one run, bases loaded, none out. Auuuuuugh. Adrianza brought in another run on a one-out sac fly, but that was all they would get.
Until the fifth, of course. Three singles, a sac fly (including a pretty harshly scored error by Domingo Santana) and a walk later, it was 6-0 Twins, and while Marco ended his outing with a nice strikeout of Miguel Sanó, it was overall a bummer. His changeup showed some great fade, and he got some ugly whiffs from Minnesota’s lineup with it, but their aggressive approach won out for the second night in a row. Who would have thought the Twins - the Twins! - would turn into a bunch of mashers? Certainly not me.
Martín Pérez, in the midst of a career renaissance in his first year out of the Texas Rangers org, shut down Seattle’s lineup through 6.2 innings, his cutter worming plenty of whiffs and called third strikes. The M’s got a run back in the fifth by way of a Dee Gordon single, Mitch Haniger walk, and Edwin Encarnación knock, but that was the only time they strung together even a little bit of offense. Booo-ring.
The clear highlight of tonight was Austin Adams. Our Austin Adams, not the Twins’, though I feel robbed that Rocco Baldelli opted not to deploy him tonight. Working two perfect innings, the righty racked up four strikeouts, each of them looking, and his other two outs were easy grounders. He showed some sick movement on his slider, and made Jorge Polanco do this:
Adams also pitches with some emotion, showing off a little dance after striking out the side in the sixth:
Matt Festa, fresh from Tacoma, also saw some action tonight, going two innings and giving up one run, though Mallex didn’t do him much good on a slicing fly ball from Jonathan Schoop:
Festa also struck out two without issuing a walk, a very encouraging sign given his control issues during his first stint of the season. Maybe, possibly, a better bullpen is on the horizon?
Oh, well. This was one of those games. J.P. Crawford roped an opposite-field double, at least! It’s nice to be able focus on individual performances. Wade LeBlanc makes his long-awaited return from the injured list tomorrow, going against Twins ace José Berríos. It feels likely that tomorrow’s score will look similar to tonight’s. Of course, it might not, or it might but it’s flipped in our favor. I guess we’ll see.