Twins Max Kepler took one for the team Thursday afternoon.
With bases loaded on two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox Thursday, August 31, home at Target Field the game was tied at 4. Stepping to the plate was Kepler, who tied the game earlier with an RBI double, so with the crowd anticipating another clutch play for a walkoff victory they got it, just maybe not the way they envisioned. White Sox pitcher Juan Minaya lost control of his pitch and drilled Kepler in the leg. The hit by pitch walk drove second baseman Brian Dozier home and gave the Minnesota Twins the 5-4 win.
After teammates chased Kepler around to dump the Gatorade bucket on him for sealing the win, he talked with Fox Sports North about the win. A win that closed out a Twins three game sweep over the White Sox and a 20-10 record in August, the best in the American League.
“We put together a great inning there and I owe it to all my teammates,” Kepler told Fox Sports North.
Twins trailed early 3-1 in the fourth inning but Bartolo Colón managed to allow no more runs as he pitched through six innings racking up eight strikeouts.
In the fifth inning Twins managed to tie the game. It started with a right field RBI double by Jorge Polanco, who has torched the White Sox with six home runs the past two weeks, and Kepler brought him home with an RBI double to left field.
The game was tied until the top of the ninth inning at 3 until Twins Matt Belisle, who came in to close, allowed a homer on his first batter, Alen Hanson who finished 3-4 with a home run.
Twins Eddie Rosario responded with a base hit that sent Ehire Adrianza home for the tie and loaded the bases, which is where Kepler later came in for the win.
This was the first time in team history the Twins had five players with 20 plus RBI’s in one month and Kepler finished with 21.
“It’s awesome. I didn’t know that fact but I hope you don’t ginx it,” Kepler told Fox Sports North.
Twins are currently slotted as the second American League Wildcard team trailing the New York Yankees by 1.5 games, a team they have beat earlier this season.
By Gino Terrell