Twins record second shutout in three days in win over Rockies
The perfect night at Target Field was accompanied by a near-perfect game from the hometown team
Puffy white clouds filled the blue sky above Target Field, and sunlight bounced off buildings of the Minneapolis skyline throughout the night. It was the kind of summer evening at the ballpark that Minnesotans dream about through the long winter months.
The perfect night at Target Field was accompanied by a near-perfect game from the hometown team. Twins pitchers, led by Chris Archer in perhaps his best start of the year, gave up just one hit (and five walks), and the team captured a first-inning lead on its way to a 6-0 win over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday.
“He was excellent,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He’s had a lot of good outings for us. I think this is right up there near the top of what we’ve seen. … He looked real sharp.”
A day after getting shut out for the 10th time this season, tying the major league lead, Luis Arraez and Byron Buxton made sure early that the Twins wouldn’t suffer the same fate. Arraez snapped an 0-for-11 stretch to begin the game, and Buxton, back in the lineup for the first time since Tuesday, followed with his first triple since 2019.
After missing time this week because his bothersome right knee flared up, Buxton turned on the burners, with a sprint speed of 29.3 feet/second — 30 ft./sec is elite — on the triple, losing his helmet along the way. When he reached the base, he pounded his chest, smacked his hands together and let out a roar.
“It’s like snapping the fingers and you see what he can do and how he affects everything around him all the time,” Baldelli said. “We’ve had a couple of days, and a few days over the past week or two, where we just haven’t been able to get anything going and yesterday, as well. He just steps to the plate, takes a swing and whacks one in the gap and then he’s standing at third and he drives a run in. That’s how fast it can happen when he’s out there.”
While the Twins left Buxton on third in the first inning, they added to their lead throughout the game, tacking on a run in the second on Arraez’s second hit of the game, two more in the fifth and two more in the seventh.
Alex Kirilloff drove in three of those runs, one on a sacrifice fly and the other on a double off the right field wall to bring home Max Kepler — who walked three times — and Kyle Garlick. The double was his fourth in eight games since being recalled from Triple-A.
All that offense came in support Archer, who worked five innings and allowed just one hit — a single to former Twin C.J. Cron in the second inning — and a walk in his outing. Archer pitched out of that second-inning jam, retiring the next three batters in a row, the first of 12 straight that he sent down to conclude his start.
The Twins have carefully plotted out a plan for Archer given his extensive injury history — he did not pitch in 2020 and started just six games last season — that they’ve executed successfully thus far. Archer’s 14 starts lead the team and while none have been longer than five innings, he’s been effective all season, lowering his earned-run average to 3.14 on Saturday, and healthy all year.
“I’m super grateful for how Rocco is handling this whole situation. It’s proving to be successful. I love playing for him. I love playing for this organization,” Archer said. “The training staff does a great job taking care of me as well. I couldn’t be happier with how everything is going.”
And on Saturday, he continued a strong recent run of pitching from the Twins, who shut out the Guardians on Thursday and allowed just a run in a loss to the Rockies on Friday before shutting out the Rockies in the second game of the series.
“What he’s doing, he’s being Chris,” Buxton said. “Going out there, taking the ball every five days, giving it all he’s got — it’s all you can ask for.”
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