Sweep! Twins walk off on Polanco HR in 10th

July 11th, 2021

In many ways, the Twins’ final game before the All-Star break, a wild 12-9 victory against the Tigers on Sunday at Target Field, served as a microcosm of their first half of play.

Minnesota faced adversity and showed resilience just like it has all season. There was good pitching and some not-so-good pitching combined with flashes of offensive and defensive brilliance.

Ultimately, the game provided hope for a better tomorrow. In this case, tomorrow comes Friday with a doubleheader against these same Tigers in Detroit.

Sunday marked the club’s first four-game sweep at Target Field since September 2018 against the White Sox, and the Twins' third sweep of the season.

“That was a real character game,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “You learn a little bit about yourself, and you deal with a lot. There were a ton of different things that came up in that game. A lot of them made life difficult for our guys, but we fought through it and dealt with whatever came our way.”

, who hit a three-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, will be remembered as the game’s hero, but he didn't do it alone. And as the score indicates, the game was full of drama.

Tigers catcher Jake Rogers hit a grand slam in the top of the ninth off of reliever to put Detroit ahead, 9-8. Not to be outdone, the Twins answered with a solo home run by , the second homer of his big league career, in the bottom of the frame to tie the game.

On the mound, Twins starter did not allow a hit through his first 4 2/3 innings. He was in command, using a steady dose of sinkers and curveballs to keep the Tigers off-balance. Berríos was hitting his spots with changeups and fastballs, too. But then he walked No. 8 hitter, Zack Short, and Rogers, the No. 9 hitter, during an eventful fifth inning. Back-to-back two-run singles by Akil Baddoo and Jonathan Schoop changed everything.

Just like that, the Tigers led, 4-0, and the right-hander was on the ropes. But the resilient Twins rallied for the second day in a row.

“In the fifth inning after two outs, I was trying to be a little bit too perfect, too picky with the strike zone,” Berríos said. “The year is not going the way we want, but we are playing better lately. The most important thing is this group comes in every day working hard and trying to do their best.”

cut the lead to three runs with a solo home run in the fifth. The next batter, Twins catcher left the game after fouling a 3-2 pitch off of the inside of his left knee. Jeffers tested the knee with a light jog, but he could not continue and was replaced by Rortvedt, who walked on the next pitch.

The Twins tacked on a run in the sixth, then took a 6-4 lead during a four-run seventh. The first run scored on a single to left field by and took the lead on an RBI single from Polanco. Kepler added an RBI in the frame.

“You don't normally get to go into the All-Star break on such a high note,” Baldelli said. “And I think it's a great way for our guys to spend the next four days. I think the positive nature of the way we're playing right now is that it’s actually still a good time to take a break so we can acknowledge it, feel it, and then come back ready to go.”