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Escobar's 3 doubles not enough for Twins

Third baseman raises MLB 2B lead to 30; Odorizzi scuffles vs. Tribe
June 17, 2018

CLEVELAND -- Eduardo Escobar added to his Major League-leading total with a career-high three doubles to give him 30 on the season, but it came in a losing effort, as right-hander Jake Odorizzi struggled and the offense went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position in a 4-1 loss to the

CLEVELAND -- Eduardo Escobar added to his Major League-leading total with a career-high three doubles to give him 30 on the season, but it came in a losing effort, as right-hander Jake Odorizzi struggled and the offense went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position in a 4-1 loss to the Indians on Sunday afternoon.
Minnesota had a chance for a sweep over Cleveland, but had to settle for taking two out of three, as the Indians increased their lead over the Twins to five games in the American League Central. Escobar stayed hot, though, and is now on pace for 71 doubles, which would break the Major League record of 67 set by the Red Sox's Earl Webb in 1931.
"It's better when you have three doubles in a win," Escobar said. "It was a good series win here and we'll get tomorrow off and be ready Tuesday for another series at home. This team will be OK. We go out there and play hard every day, but sometimes you have to give credit to the other pitchers."
The Twins scored early against Indians rookie right-hander Shane Bieber, who was making his second career start after Adam Plutko, Sunday's scheduled starter, pitched in relief on Saturday. Joe Mauer led off the game with a double and scored on Escobar's first double of the day. But the offense went cold from there, as it was the only run Bieber surrendered in 5 2/3 innings.

"We had chances but couldn't put the ball in play at times when even a fly ball or a ground ball would get us a point or two and get us closer," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I know it's not easy, but it's something we need to improve on, executing in those situations."
Odorizzi gave up a leadoff triple to Lonnie Chisenhall in the second, and he came around to score on a single from Tyler Naquin. But it was in the third when Odorizzi lost his command, as he loaded the bases after back-to-back walks to Edwin Encarnacion and Chisenhall. After falling behind Yan Gomes with three straight balls to open the at-bat, Odorizzi served up a three-run double on a 3-2 fastball to give the Indians the lead.
"If I make a better pitch in that bases-loaded situation, things could be different," Odorizzi said. "It was tough. I was just getting too fine on pitches. It's a fine line you walk, especially against this team. Getting it back to 3-2, if I had confidence in my slider, I would've thrown it, but the fastball was really the only thing I could locate. I just didn't execute it."

Odorizzi settled down to get through five innings, but he was charged with four runs on six hits and four walks over five innings to fall to 3-4 with a 4.38 ERA.
The Twins had their chances offensively, but they left runners in scoring position in the first, second, third, fifth and sixth innings. Ehire Adrianza and Mitch Garver made costly baserunning gaffes in the second, when Adrianza tried to advance to second on a throw to third that was cut off. Adrianza made it back to first, but Garver was caught between third and home to end the inning.

"We're not clean there yet," Molitor said. "We're making mistakes. I thought that was a momentum changer. We were hitting the ball hard the first couple innings, and we had Joe coming up with runners at first and third. Just really nowhere to go."
The Twins had two runners in scoring position with one out in the fifth, but Logan Morrison struck out looking and James Dozier grounded out to end the inning. It was even worse in the sixth, when they had two runners in scoring position with nobody out, only to see Garver, Adrianza and Mauer strike out to end the scoring threat. Lefty Oliver Perez came in to strike out Mauer and threw 1 1/3 perfect innings.

Right fielder Robbie Grossman left the game in the sixth inning with a heat-related illness, but Molitor said Grossman was feeling better after the game. Grossman, who went 2-for-3, was removed for pinch-runner Taylor Motter while at third base.
"He got a little light-headed," Molitor said. "A little dizzy. Just one of those heat days. We hadn't played in a lot of extremes. Just thought it would be best to get him out rather than risk something further happening. He came in feeling dizzy and wanted to go back out but we told him we were going to pinch-run."
Minnesota's record for doubles in a season is 47, set by Justin Morneau in 2008. Escobar also became the first Twins player with three doubles in a game since Grossman on May 31, 2016. Escobar's 30 doubles through 68 team games is the second most in club history behind Chuck Knoblauch's 31 in 1994.

"It's impressive. People say, 'How do you get doubles?' You have to drive the baseball. Off the wall, right-center-field gap, down the right-field line off the bag. I don't know about comparing him with [Eddie] Rosario, but both guys are really confident hitters right now." -- Molitor, on Escobar
After an off-day on Monday, the Twins open a three-game series against the Red Sox on Tuesday. Right-hander Jose Berrios (7-5, 3.51 ERA) will get the 7:10 p.m. CT start at Target Field. Berrios has been on an impressive run, posting a 2.47 ERA over his past six starts. He limited the Tigers to one run over six innings in a no-decision his last time out. The Red Sox counter with lefty Chris Sale (6-4, 2.75 ERA).

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.