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Twins power past Tigers as Field hits 2 homers

After Odorizzi struggles, Minnesota scores 5 in 5th to break game open
September 26, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jake Odorizzi struggled in his final start of the year, but the offense more than made up for the slack with Johnny Field recording his first multihomer game of his career, Jorge Polanco driving in three runs and Christopher Austin connecting on a two-run homer.Despite Odorizzi surrendering four

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jake Odorizzi struggled in his final start of the year, but the offense more than made up for the slack with Johnny Field recording his first multihomer game of his career, Jorge Polanco driving in three runs and Christopher Austin connecting on a two-run homer.
Despite Odorizzi surrendering four runs over three-plus innings, the offensive outburst helped the Twins to an 11-4 win over the Tigers on Wednesday at Target Field. Odorizzi had been pitching better with a 3.83 ERA over his last nine outings dating back to Aug. 1, but finishes the year with a 4.49 ERA in 32 starts and 164 1/3 innings.
"I'm not going to let this outing determine my season," Odorizzi said. "I made a lot of adjustments, saw a lot of improvement up until this last one. I'm going to take the good from this season. I made all my starts. I stayed healthy. It was by no means a year that I'm proud of, but it's a year I learned a lot from."
The Twins jumped all over lefty Matthew Boyd, who surrendered six runs on eight hits over 3 2/3 innings. They scored three times in the first, with Polanco drawing a walk, stealing second and scoring on a single from Robbie Grossman. Austin followed with his ninth homer with Minnesota and his 17th on the year.

Field smacked a leadoff blast in the second and added a two-run shot in the fourth off Boyd. Field, playing in his 18th game with the Twins since being claimed off waivers from the Indians on Aug. 3, crushed a no-doubter in the second on a first-pitch fastball from Boyd. It had an exit velocity of 100.8 mph and went a projected 376 feet, per Statcast™.
"I told myself that I hadn't really played in a while -- like six or seven days -- and I didn't really want to get into some deep counts," Field said. "I didn't know what my timing would be like tonight. So I just told myself that the first good pitch I got, I was going to put a good swing on it."

His second homer needed the help of instant replay, as it was originally ruled a double. But after a review, Field was credited with a two-run shot that left the bat at 98 mph and went a projected 353 feet.
"I honestly didn't even think it would hit the fence on the fly," Field said. "I thought it was going to be down, so I was running with my head down, trying to go hard into second. I got there and saw the commotion. I had no idea it was even close to being out."

Minnesota broke it open with a five-run fifth that was nearly derailed by a potential triple play. With two runners on and nobody out, Willians Astudillo hit a liner to second with both runners going, and the Tigers threw to second for what was ruled the second out but shortstop Ronny Rodriguez couldn't get the ball to first in time. But after a review, it was ruled Rodriguez never touched second base, so Grossman was ruled safe at second with one out.
"It was a good catch by replay," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Because I was closing my eyes, hoping not to see a triple play, so I missed the play at second."
Three batters later, Chris Gimenez provided a two-run single to left with two outs before the Tigers opted to intentionally walk Joe Mauer. The decision backfired with Polanco clearing the bases with a triple to left-center.

Odorizzi didn't have it from the start, walking the first batter of the game and allowing an RBI triple to Christin Stewart, who was thrown out at home trying to stretch it to an inside-the-parker. Detroit scored two more times in the third, keyed by back-to-back walks with one out. Niko Goodrum and James McCann both brought home runs with RBI singles.
Odorizzi left in the fourth with the bases loaded and nobody out, walking the last batter he faced. Reliever Tyler Duffey came in and allowed a sacrifice fly but struck out the next two batters to escape the jam.

"He threw a lot of pitches that were real close," Molitor said. "But I think most of them were balls, and you start needing those pitches to hang around. But the walks, hits, just was having trouble. We were giving him a chance to get into a groove there, and it just didn't happen. So we went ahead and turned it over to Duffey after they loaded them up there in the fourth."
Molitor reached his 300th win as manager, becoming the fifth Twins skipper to reach that mark, joining Tom Kelly (1,140), Ron Gardenhire (1,068), Sam Mele (524) and Gene Mauch (378). Molitor is 300-343 since taking over in 2015.
"It snuck up on me a little bit," Molitor said. "Didn't realize it until Joe Mauer acknowledged it after the game, which was nice. I guess baseball likes round numbers. Would like to get to 300 wins already before you have seen 300 losses, but that hasn't been the case. Keep moving forward."

"From start to finish my arm felt really good. My back felt good. Those are the kind of positives you take out of a year like this. It's nothing I'm proud of by any stretch of the imagination. Truth be told, I'll probably forget about 2018 tomorrow. I'm going to focus on next year and improving and getting back to the pitcher I am and this team deserves." -- Odorizzi
The Twins will use an opener for the final time this season in their rubber game against the Tigers on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Lefty Gabriel Moya (3-1, 4.72 ERA) is again the opener, as he's done it five times this year, including three times against Detroit. Fellow lefty Stephen Gonsalves (1-2, 6.75 ERA) is expected to serve as the primary pitcher. Former Twins lefty Francisco Liriano (5-11, 4.40 ERA) starts for the Tigers.

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