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Gonzalez, Cron deliver for Twins on Mauer Day

Marwin's defensive gamble pays off; Odorizzi gets his 10th win
@dohyoungpark
June 16, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS -- Prior to Saturday night’s game, the Twins paid tribute to one of the most celebrated figures in the franchise’s history by officially retiring Joe Mauer’s No. 7. After rain avoided the Twin Cities area during the game to allow for a celebration of the past, a pair of

MINNEAPOLIS -- Prior to Saturday night’s game, the Twins paid tribute to one of the most celebrated figures in the franchise’s history by officially retiring Joe Mauer’s No. 7.

After rain avoided the Twin Cities area during the game to allow for a celebration of the past, a pair of the newest Twins -- Marwin Gonzalez and C.J. Cron -- highlighted the power-packed team of the present with two of the most pivotal hits in Minnesota’s 5-4 comeback win over the Royals.

Box score

“I don’t think we were meant to lose on Mauer Day,” starter Jake Odorizzi said. “So I think that win was for Joe, and everybody came out and saw a great game, and it was a big win for us.”

Though the Twins trailed 4-1 at the game’s halfway point, and committed three errors, they mounted another late comeback -- as they have in every game on this homestand.

The first big blow came from Gonzalez, who launched a two-run homer that traveled a projected 410 feet to right field in the bottom of the fifth, trimming the lead to one run, before an RBI double by Jorge Polanco tied the game.

“Not the smoothest night -- we had to deal with a little bit of adversity,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Some of it just the circumstances, some of it maybe a little self-inflicted. But either way, we didn’t let it bother us, and we got some good efforts. We deal with whatever comes our way pretty well. Our guys have been pretty good about that. We were able to push some runs across and our bullpen, I thought, did a really nice job.”

One frame later, Eddie Rosario walked and Gonzalez knocked a single before Cron -- Mauer’s successor at first base -- clubbed a double off the left-field wall at 109.8 mph that plated the eventual game-winning run.

Gonzalez later added a sliding catch in right field to keep Billy Hamilton off the basepaths in the ninth inning. A risky endeavor considering Gonzalez’s relative inexperience in right field, Hamilton’s speed and the fact that it was a one-run game, but it was a gamble that paid off for Minnesota nonetheless.

“I didn’t think about it,” Gonzalez said. “If I would have, I would have probably waited and then catch it on one hop and throw to second. If I would have missed the ball, he was going to score. It’s a risky play.”

According to Statcast, Gonzalez’s snag had a catch probability of 10 percent, with a strong jump of 7.7 feet above average contributing to his ability to cover the needed 32 feet to make the snag.

“I was looking up to get a good jump and I made the play,” Gonzalez said. “I think it was all about the first step during that play.”

A stat that mattered

11: The number of consecutive Odorizzi starts won by the Twins.

Odorizzi didn’t feel that he was at his best on Saturday night, allowing four earned runs -- his most since April 5 -- and a pair of homers in six innings. He said after the game that he didn’t have his usual consistency on his fastball (though he generated 12 whiffs with the pitch) and felt off on his locations.

Still, he won his 10th straight decision, marking the longest winning streak by a Twins starter since Johan Santana set the club record of 17 consecutive wins between July 17, 2004, and April 26, 2005.

“When you’ve thrown the ball as well as he’s thrown the ball for so many starts, it feels like anything but six or seven innings with no runs, there’s something to talk about,” Baldelli said. “For me, there’s nothing to talk about. I thought he threw the ball well and battled through making those pitches that maybe he didn’t want to make, and figuring it out and getting us to the middle of the game.”

Do-Hyoung Park covers the Twins for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark and on Instagram at dohyoung.park.