Odorizzi dazzles Yanks with no-hit bid into 8th
Twins righty goes 7 1/3 innings, exits after Bird's RBI double
MINNEAPOLIS -- Jake Odorizzi didn't get the no-hitter he and Twins fans were hoping for, but he completed his longest outing of the year and blanked a potent Yankees offense for much of the night.
Odorizzi struck out five New York batters and received some dazzling defense behind him as the Twins topped New York, 3-1, to complete a series win on Wednesday at Target Field. He carried a no-hit bid through 7 1/3 innings before Greg Bird smacked a run-scoring double to end the right-hander's no-hit and shutout hopes with one swing.
Odorizzi said that if he had made it through a clean eighth, he most definitely would have asked Twins manager Paul Molitor for one more inning.
"Absolutely," Odorizzi said. "What's the difference between 120 and 140 [pitches]? Not much. You're going to be sore the next day anyway. There's not too many chances you get to do something that special. You'll never know how many it would have taken, but I appreciate what Moli was willing to do for me in letting me go out there."
The task of navigating through the Yankees' lineup was made all the more difficult by the fact that for most of the night, Odorizzi was throwing to a catcher he had never worked with in a game before. Starting backstop Mitch Garver was removed from the game and went through concussion tests after a foul ball drilled him in the facemask in the second inning.
Willians Astudillo, who had caught Odorizzi only during bullpen sessions, entered the game in the third and let his pitcher call the shots.
"I just kind of took over the game," Odorizzi said. "I was shaking [him off] a lot, but we'd never thrown to each other in a game. So I was just calling my game out there. I told him, 'Don't take any offense to me shaking a ton, but I know these guys. I'm just going to throw what I feel. Don't take offense to me shaking and shaking, don't get upset with me.' He didn't, so it was good."
Wednesday marked the first time this season Odorizzi had recorded an out in the eighth inning, and he ended up throwing 120 pitches, 69 of which were strikes. The Yankees ran up his pitch count early, partially by fighting off his fastball; Odorizzi threw his four-seamer 51 times and New York batters fouled it off on 18 occasions. But he bought himself a bit of breathing room when he needed just seven pitches to retire the Yankees' Nos. 3-4-5 hitters in the seventh.
New York starter Luis Severino was excellent in his own right. The Yankees' ace gave up an infield single to Joe Mauer leading off the bottom of the first, but then retired the next 15 batters he faced. It wasn't until the sixth inning that Severino yielded a one-out single to Max Kepler, who then scored on Ehire Adrianza's double to the right-field corner.
• Mauer contemplating retirement after season
"It was early in the game, and you can't help but hear about the struggles that [Severino] has had," Molitor said. "And then you look at his numbers for the year, and I think a lot of people would trade what they have for that type of performance. He was sharp. Velocity was there. Changeup was disappearing."
In the seventh, the Twins got to Yankees reliever David Robertson to tack on a few insurance runs. Astudillo poked a single up the middle to plate Jake Cave, who had reached on a two-out double, and make it 2-0. Kepler followed with a double that soared just out of the reach of a diving Aaron Hicks in the left-center-field gap to score Astudillo from first and make it 3-0.
Astudillo, who has become a favorite among baseball fans this season for his happy-go-lucky demeanor and unique ability to avoid striking out, was gasping for breath by the time he slid into home and received a warm welcome when he got back to the dugout.
• Astudillo's heroic run from first to home leaves him gasping for air
"Man, I don't know. That was painful to watch that jaunt around the bases," Molitor said. "When they miss the dive, you think he's going to score fairly easily, and then you see Gregorius is going to have a chance. But his hit was big, to get that second run on the single up the middle."
GARVER LEAVES GAME
Minnesota trainers came out to check on Garver after the foul ball hit him in the facemask, and he stayed in the game long enough to finish the inning. But in the top of the third, Astudillo replaced Garver and finished out the game.
Twins officials announced during the game that Garver was removed for precautionary reasons and that initial tests did not indicate that he sustained a concussion.
"He took a shot," Molitor said. "Maybe in hindsight … he said he wanted to try to finish the inning. He got his bell rung pretty good. The tests are looking good right now in terms of concussion symptoms. I think we feel pretty good about it, but you never know. We'll follow up again tomorrow and see how he progresses. But right now, we feel pretty good about him being OK."
Earlier this season, Garver took a bat to the side of the head from Manny Machado, but avoided a concussion.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
In the fifth inning, Odorizzi helped his own cause when he made a sliding play to gather a slow dribbler off the bat of Didi Gregorius and fired a throw to first against his body for the first out of the inning.
"It's something I wouldn't say I practice," Odorizzi said. "I've done it in a game a handful of times. Just try to take pride in being an athlete still. Pitchers get a bad rap from time to time, so you've got to put them back on the map every now and again. [José Berríos] does it, too. Sometimes it's a do-or-die play, that's all I had to do."
An inning earlier, Logan Forsythe made an outstanding diving play at second to rob Hicks of a hit.
HE SAID IT
"I just wanted to show that chubby people also run." -- Astudillo, on his dash from first base to home
The Twins will hit the road and head to Kansas City for a four-game set with the Royals beginning at 7:15 p.m. CT on Thursday. Stephen Gonsalves will make his fifth career start for Minnesota and second straight against the Royals. He'll look for better results this time around after allowing five runs over just 2 1/3 innings on Friday. Heath Fillmyer will get the start for Kansas City at Kauffman Stadium.