Starting Pitcher: Sonny Gray, 4.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K (84 pitches, 54 strikes, 64.3%)
Home Runs: Byron Buxton (9), Joey Gallo (10)
Bottom 3 WPA: Emilio Pagán (-.631), Donovan Solano (-.113), Jorge Polanco (-.071)
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
Both starters have to leave the game early
Sonny Gray did a solid job keeping the Dodgers lineup on a leash early on, allowing just two runs through four innings. But that was no simple task. Right out of the gate, Los Angeles applied some serious pressure on the Twins’ early-season Cy Young hopeful, loading the bases with only one out in the bottom of the first. Though the home team came out of the inning empty-handed, they didn’t stop pushing.
After a quick 1-2-3 second, Los Angeles was threatening again in the third. Mookie Betts hit a leadoff triple on a flyball off the wall that looked playable (but probably wasn’t), but Nick Gordon couldn’t make the play in the right-center field gap. Betts was pushed across by a Freddie Freeman sac-fly that scored the game’s first run. Gray managed to finish the inning having allowed just the one run, but not before giving up a single and a walk and reaching 62 pitches.
Dodgers starter Dustin May breezed through the top of the Twins lineup in the first with 16 pitches, but he immediately left the game after that first frame with elbow pain. Still, even with his departure, Minnesota’s offense couldn’t get rolling, collecting only a pair of singles through three. It was only in the fourth that the Twins got on the board after a Byron Buxton solo home run to deep center.
Gray gave up a leadoff single in the fourth to James Outman, who stole second merely minutes later. The Twins’ starter retired the next two batters, but he couldn’t prevail against Betts, who slapped a single to center to bring Outman home and regain the lead for the Dodgers. Freeman singled next to put pressure on Gray, but Sonny got Will Smith to ground out and end the inning. With yet another inning with more than twenty pitches, Gray was pulled from the game.
Twins tie it, take the lead, but waste huge opportunities
The offense couldn’t get anything going against reliever Dylan Covey, who completed four after delivering a scoreless fifth. But that would change in the sixth: Joey Gallo jumped on the second pitch of the at-bat to crush a low sinker for a leadoff home run to center, tying the game at 2-2. Apparently, that home run was all the Twins needed to crack Covey. Following Gallo’s at-bat, Alex Kirilloff and Carlos Correa hit back-to-back singles, followed by a Buxton walk to load the bases with no outs. The Dodgers brought reliever Victor González into the game and retired the side against the middle of Minnesota’s lineup. The Twins are now 0-for-7 in the year with the bases loaded and no outs.
After Jovani Morán and José De León combined to pitch two scoreless frames, the Twins were once again threatening on offense in the top of the seventh. Willi Castro and Christian Vázquez hit back-to-back singles to open the inning, immediately putting lefty reliever Caleb Ferguson in a jam. During a solid Kirilloff ten-pitch at-bat, Castro took off from second to steal third, causing Ferguson to make a throwing error. The ball got away, allowing Castro to score and give the Twins the lead and Vázquez to reach third. Despite the fight, Kirilloff ended up striking out, and Correa grounded out against former Twin Brusdar Graterol, stranding Vázquez at third.
Pagán has one of his worst outings as a Twin
Then came the seventh inning. De León remained in the game, trying to preserve the one-run lead. He did a fantastic job by striking out Betts and Freeman on only six pitches, but he couldn’t retire Smith and Max Muncy, who hit back-to-back singles. Rocco Baldelli decided to bring Emilio Pagán into the game to get the final out, and the rest is history.
Failing to throw strikes, Pagán gave up a six-pitch walk to Jason Heyward that loaded the bases. His command issues continued, and Miguel Vargas drew another walk next to tie the game at 3-3 and keep the bases juiced. Then, on the very first pitch he threw in the following at-bat, James Outman crushed a grand slam to center, making it 7-3 Dodgers and putting the game out of reach.
Three Twins players left the game due to injuries. Here’s an update on their status by The Athletic’s Dan Hayes:
The Twins remain in Greater Los Angeles, where after a day off on Thursday, they’ll visit the Angels in Anaheim for a three-game weekend series. Game one of the series is scheduled for 8:38 pm CDT on Friday (5/19), with Joe Ryan (6-1, 2.16 ERA) taking the mound for Minnesota. The Angels’ starting pitcher has yet to be determined.
Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet