MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins’ American League Central lead had vanished. Their starting pitching had been knocked around for four straight nights. They hadn’t had a lead since Monday night.
And while a segment of Twins fans took to social media to voice criticism and concern, Rocco Baldelli and his team weren’t going to put too much emphasis on one game. After all, the Twins entered the day with 46 more games left on the season, had largely avoided losing streaks and had maintained a hold on first place for most of the season while sticking to consistent routine.
Still, they could have used a win on Saturday, Aug. 10.
Enter Jake Odorizzi.
It wasn’t a dominant effort from the all-star, but the righty gutted through nearly six scoreless innings, allowing the Twins some breathing room in a 4-1 win over the Cleveland Indians at Target Field.
The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Twins (71-46) and a four-game winning streak for the Indians (70-47). It gave the Twins sole possession of first place back and ensured that even if the Twins lose to Cleveland on Sunday, they would leave town for their road trip with at least a share of first place.
They largely have Odorizzi to thank for that. After a lengthy rain delay of nearly two hours, Odorizzi battled with baserunners all night, giving up six hits and walking four, but executed when he had to, stranding a pair of runners in each of the first two innings and three more in the third.
Odorizzi worked around doubles in the fourth and fifth innings. In the sixth, after Greg Allen led off with a double, Odorizzi got the next two outs before Baldelli called upon Sergio Romo to finish the inning.
Odorizzi’s scoreless outing came after the four starters ahead of him gave up 26 earned runs in 20 1/3 innings. After him, Romo tossed 1 1/3 innings, giving up a solo home run to Yasiel Puig. Taylor Rogers threw two scoreless innings to cap the game.
Offensively, after facing tough tests in Mike Clevinger and Shane Bieber the two nights before, the Twins were able to get to Indians starter Adam Plutko in the fourth inning.
A Luis Arraez triple brought home the team’s first run of the night. It was immediately followed by a C.J. Cron RBI single. The Twins recorded five straight hits in the fourth, but the inning ended after third base coach Tony Diaz waved Cron home and he was pegged out by Puig from right field.
Max Kepler and Marwin Gonzalez also homered in the win.