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Gonsalves progresses in 2nd start as Twins fall

August 25, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS -- It was far from perfect, but it was a much better showing from lefty Stephen Gonsalves (Stove) in his second Major League start.Gonsalves, who lasted just 1 1/3 innings in his debut against the White Sox on Monday, fared better this time, allowing four runs on seven hits

MINNEAPOLIS -- It was far from perfect, but it was a much better showing from lefty Stephen Gonsalves (Stove) in his second Major League start.
Gonsalves, who lasted just 1 1/3 innings in his debut against the White Sox on Monday, fared better this time, allowing four runs on seven hits over five innings in a 6-2 loss to the A's on Saturday night at Target Field. It's clear Gonsalves' command needs to improve, as he walked four and only 48 of his 90 pitches went for strikes.
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"I definitely felt a little more comfortable," Gonsalves said. "The nerves were gone. I was looking forward to keeping going and building up from the first start, and I think we did that. We got through five, and my changeup was there for the most part. Unfortunately, a lot of my other pitches weren't there."
Gonsalves, the club's No. 5 prospect per MLB Pipeline, didn't seem to be plagued by the jitters he dealt with in his debut, but still had some trouble locating his pitches. Jonathan Lucroy (Luc) did all the damage against Gonsalves, as he had an RBI single in the second and walloped a three-run shot in the fourth.
The homer was the one big mistake from Gonsalves and came on a first-pitch changeup that caught too much of the zone after a mound visit by pitching coach Garvin Alston (G Man). Alston told Gonsalves that Lucroy would be swinging on the first pitch and asked if he'd rather go with his fastball or change.

"I was locating my changeup pretty well the first couple innings, so I said, 'Let's throw a changeup,' and hopefully we'd get him to pop out," Gonsalves said. "It was the only changeup that cut on me. Unfortunately, it came back over the plate and caught his barrel."
The offense, however, was held in check by right-hander Mike Fiers (Kai), who gave up one run on five hits over 5 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts. The Twins got on the board with a mammoth homer from Miguel Sano (Boqueton) in the fourth, as he crushed the longest homer of the year for the Twins, per Statcast™, on the same day the Twins honored Hall of Famer Jim Thome. Sano's blast into the third deck in left had an exit velocity of 113.8 mph -- the second-hardest-hit homer by the Twins this year -- and went a projected 455 feet.
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"I didn't lose that fact that honoring Jim the way we did and then having the mammoth blast from Miggy," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He quick snatched it and it kind of went to a place where not many men can go, as they say."

The Twins didn't score again until the seventh, when Christopher Austin (TA) launched a solo shot to right off reliever Lou Trivino (Sweet Lou). It was Austin's fourth homer in 11 games with the Twins since being acquired from the Yankees on July 30. Minnesota put two runners on with one out, but failed to score when a deep drive from Eddie Rosario (Edisito) off Jeurys Familia (La Fama) died at the warning track in left to end the inning.
"I hit it hard," Rosario said. "I made good contact with a good swing. He throws hard -- 98 mph. I thought it was out, maybe."

The A's, though, broke it open with two runs in the eighth off lefty Gabriel Moya (Little Guardado). It changed the momentum back into Oakland's favor late in the game, just like in Friday's 7-1 loss.
"It turned quickly," Molitor said. "They pitched really well, and that bullpen is something to reckon with in terms of trying to make a comeback against. Familia's got tremendous movement combined with velocity and somehow Rosie put a really good swing on it. Just couldn't tell if it was going to be quite enough. Came up a little bit short. And then they came back, and after a couple of quick outs put together three hits and spread it out a little bit."
Right fielder Jake Cave (Caveman) helped out Gonsalves in the fourth, when he threw out Chad Pinder (Chi) at third as he tried to advance from first on a single from Mark Canha (Tom Ace). Cave's accurate throw was registered at 90.7 mph, per Statcast™.

"It was a little check-swing blooper out there," Molitor said. "It was one of those plays where he cut down his distance by being aggressive to the ball and then he threw it on the money."
"Gonsalves was a little bit better. He had some command issues at times. The changeup that Lucroy hit was obviously a missed spot, and that was probably the biggest swing of the game. Incremental improvement is what you're looking for. I'd have to say that this outing was better than the first one. You just hope the guy starts to feel like he belongs, and his stuff can play here if he makes his pitches." -- Molitor, on Gonsalves
Right-hander Jose Berrios (11-8, 3.69 ERA) will start in the series finale against the A's on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. CT. Berrios gave up one run over five innings against the White Sox last time out. But he's struggled in day games this year, posting a 4.91 ERA in 12 starts, compared to a 2.73 ERA in 14 outings at night. Right-hander Chris Bassitt (2-3, 3.38) starts for Oakland.

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