And Mauer Makes 3; Triple Play Key in Twins’ Breaking Losing Streak

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Friday, June 2.

The Minnesota Twins couldn’t have been playing much worse recently.  After a 15-inning game which lasted nearly 7 hours they were losers Sunday to the Rays, 8-6.  After that they were demolished in their own ball park by the Astros in a 3-game beatdown.  Maybe it was the California sun, rather than the rain and sleet of Minnesota that turned the Twins’ luck around resulting in a 4-2 Twins’ win late last night.   Maybe it was their third baseman Miguel Sano joking around during pregame drills telling anybody who would listen that he would turn a triple play. Nobody imagined such a thing would happen-you never do until it’s happening right before you.

The triple play is the most rare of all plays.  The Twins hadn’t turned one in 11 long years. When it comes to triple plays I count myself more fortunate than most broadcasters.  In college I broadcast a game where a triple play ended the game.  Then in a dozen minor league seasons my partner and I called 3 triple plays.

Last night’s 4th-inning triple play happened when the Angels’ Jefry Marte hit a sharp shot to Sano at third.  He caught it and touched third, retiring Albert Pujols.  He fired to second to get Yunel Escobar, after which the second baseman Brian Dozier fired to Joe Mauer at first to retire Marte for the triple play. The Angels hadn’t been victimized by a triple play going back to 2004. In spite of the triple play the Twins appeared to be beaten thanks to two home runs by the Angels’ Kole Calhoun. But in the visiting 9th, Marte (the Angels’ first baseman who hit into the triple play earlier) dropped a routine popup by Jorge Polanco and the Twins were off. Eddie Rosario doubled and Jason Castro singled both men home giving the Twins a lead they wouldn’t give up. The Twins put up an insurance run +++when Mauer walked with the bases full.

Rod Carew, who in his day played for both the Twins and Angels made an appearance at the game last night.  Back in 2015 he suffered a heart attack and was told eventually he would need a transplant. In December 2016 he received both a heart and kidney transplant. At 71 he’s done remarkably well to get as far as he has since the operation.   If his doctor will allow it, the 18-time All-Star will visit Minnesota next month and hopefully reach Cooperstown, New York for Hall of Fame weekend at the end of July. It’s traditional that as many living Hall of Famers make the pilgrimage as are able to do so.

Today baseball fans get a treat-an afternoon game at Wrigley featuring the Cubs hosting the Cardinals. The ageless John Lackey of the Cubs faces the Cardinals’ Lance Lynn.  Everything else in both the minors and majors is under the lights. The Orioles host the Red Sox in the second of a 4-game series.  Their starter Alec Asher only lasted two innings giving up 6 runs last time out.  He faces a struggling Rick Porcello for Boston. After demolishing the Blue Jays 12-2 last night, the Yankees send out Michael Pineda against Toronto. Pineda has 6 wins which was as many as he had during all of 2016.  He faces Francisco Liriano who spent the month of May on the DL. The Tigers send out Michael Fulmer against the White Sox.  As good as the last Rookie of the Year has been the Tigers haven’t scored in his last two starts as he lost 1-0 and 3-0. The Mets hope for two things tonight.  They hope their anemic offense can get some runs and they hope Matt Harvey can pitch as he did Sunday when he beat the Pirates.  He meets the same foe tonight. The Astros face the Rangers who they recently swept in a 4-game series in Arlington. For the Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw faces the Brewers who are once again coming off taking a series from the Mets.  The last time the Brewers swept the Mets, their return to reality was a nasty jolt against the Padres. Kershaw can again return them to their usual level of futility. The Nationals face the A’s in Oakland.  Stephen Strasburg struck out 15 men last time out. If his family wishes to come from San Diego the park in Oakland will have ample seating no matter how many Strasburg fans attend.

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