The Runner Sports

Twins Top Royals With Some Luck

One week ago, Minnesota Twins fans went about their evenings in great spirits. That afternoon Max Kepler had failed to avoid a pitch that went straight toward his leg, and the Twins won because of it. Those moods changed as after that game the team went 2-4 over its next two series when they could have easily been 5-1 if three ninth inning comebacks hadn’t fallen short.

The first was on Friday when the Twins scored two in the ninth but lost by one. Then came Sunday when Eduardo Escobar led off the ninth with a double, but was stuck there and never got the chance to tie things up. Then Tuesday saw Robbie Grossman bring the team within one with a ninth inning homer, and two more runners got on base before Eddie Rosario grounded into a double play to end it.

Basically, the Twins were close, but they just couldn’t catch that lucky break.

Until Thursday. Down by one with one out in the ninth and Kepler on first, Jason Castro hit a towering fly ball down the left field line. The ball was in the air long enough for me to think, “Man, I really hate it when the team gets such pathetic outs in key situations.” I’m such a fool. The ball hit off Alcides Escobar’s glove and landed in fair territory, and suddenly the go-ahead run was on first with only one out.

In the next at bat Robbie Grossman, who had already hit a homer in the game, drew a walk to load the bases. He should have struck out, but lucked out when a foul tip ricocheted off the glove of Salvador Pérez. This would have been the second out of the inning, or the third if Castro’s pop up had been caught, and the next at-bat would not have had the same effect.

Brian Dozier followed Grossman with a mighty swing and nearly had a grand slam. He didn’t, as the ball was caught by Alex Gordon on the warning track. But it didn’t matter because Kepler was able to score on the sacrifice fly and tie the game.

That’s luck. Two Kansas City Royals narrowly missed recording outs and the Twins took full advantage. Jorge Polanco capped off the inning with a two run single and the Twins got the the ninth inning demon of their back, holding on for a 4-2 win.

Now, some might say there’s no such thing as luck or that this win shouldn’t feel good because it came from the other team’s mistakes. But that ignores something important.

The Twins played a great game before the ninth inning. Kyle Gibson continued his hot streak with seven innings and only two runs allowed. Best of all, Gibson induced three double plays in those seven innings. Trevor Hildenberger followed with a great eighth inning and a double play of his own. The events of the ninth inning luck wouldn’t even be called lucky if it weren’t for these two pitchers.

So yes, the Twins did get lucky on Thursday night, but that does not mean they played a bad game. Moving forward it would be nice to see them buck the trend of playing their best offense in the ninth inning, but it’s good to know they still have it in them to pull off a good comeback when necessary.

Charlie Gillmer

Charlie Gillmer

Charlie Gillmer is a lifelong Twins fan who spends most nights dreaming of learning a knuckleball and pitching them to a World Series victory.
Charlie Gillmer

Latest posts by Charlie Gillmer (see all)