Leather pattern: Twins make several web gems

August 6th, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota manager Paul Molitor knew it was an abnormal look for his infield defense on Saturday at Target Field.

The Twins played without both of their everyday corner infielders during a 4-1 loss to the Rangers in the third game of a four-game set. Still, the makeshift unit kept the club in it by recording three outs with a hit probability of at least 65 percent, per Statcast™.

"I felt we swung the bats well, but they played some really good defense behind their guy that erased some scoring opportunities," Texas manager Jeff Banister said. "Especially that play by their shortstop."

, who was hit by a pitch on Friday, was sidelined with a bruised left hand. In his absence, manned third base. Meanwhile, started at first base for Joe Mauer (rest), which marked his second career start at the position and first since 2015 when he was member of the Giants.

Entering Saturday, Adrianza had 11 career innings -- two this year -- at first base. Moments after the first pitch was thrown, Texas designated hitter hit a roller to first base where Adrianza fielded it cleanly and was greeted with a roar from the crowd.

But Minnesota shortstop was responsible for the game's greatest web gem. In the fourth inning, Rangers catcher ripped a changeup from that appeared to be destined for left field. Instead, Polanco stretched out to pick the ball and proceeded to turn an inning-ending double play to keep the deficit at three runs at the time.

According to Statcast™, the ball had a 72-percent hit probability. It was the highest such chance on an out all night.

"That was highlight worthy," Molitor said. "The ball was hit very sharply and a funny hop that he was able to snare. He did a nice job of getting his balance and giving a good feed and we were able to turn the play into two."

Escobar made his presence felt on the defensive end as well.

With one out in the top of the seventh, Escobar robbed Choo of a base hit with a leaping snag. According to Statcast™, the lineout had a hit probability of 66 percent, and he wasn't done there either. With the infield defense shifted over to the right side, Escobar made a diving snag on a groundout by to end the eighth. Per Statcast™, it had a 65 percent hit probability.

It was welcoming sign for Gibson, who boasted a 51.9 percent ground ball rate prior to Saturday's game.

"Polanco made a great play, Adrianza made a couple good plays, Escobar made a couple good plays," Gibson said. "Our defense was really good tonight."