Twins Bats Ignite In Cold Opener
Steven Coursolle | Apr 5, 2018 AT 11:16 pm
(KNSI) - The first inning started off as rough for the Kyle Gibson and the Twins as it did for “Challenger” the eagle during the national anthem.
Instead of flying back to its handler, the majestic symbol of freedom landed on Seattle's starting pitcher, James Paxton.
Paxton handled himself much better than most would have in that spot but the eagle eventually found its way back to the handler.
Gibson gave up one earned run and one unearned in his first inning of work.
Third baseman Miguel Sano had his work cut out for him by recording all three outs while adding a throwing error to catcher Mitch Garver.
After giving up two more singles to start the second inning, Gibson settled down by striking out Dee Gordon and Robinson Cano to end the threat.
Aside from two seeing-eye singles from Byron Buxton and Ryan LaMarre, the Twins offense remained stagnant in their part of the second inning.
The game was on cruise control until the top-of-the fifth inning when Buxton made a fantastic leaping grab next the the 365 sign in right center field.
Buxton explains that he had some help in making the spectacular catch.
“I got a real good jump off it, read it well and Kepler was there to help me out and tell me how far I was from the wall.”
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Twins bats finally showed some life.
Miguel Sano followed a Joe Mauer single by parking a 1-2 hanging slider from Paxton into the left field bleachers.
The two-run shot was Sano’s third of the season and tied the game up at two.
Seattle then started off strong in the seventh inning when Jean Segura walked, stole second then moved to third on Robinson Cano’s single.
The Twins avoided disaster when Joe Mauer cut down Segura at home to keep the game tied at two.
In the home half of the seventh inning, Mitch Garver hit an 0-2 pitch 411 feet into the second-deck in left field.
The rookie’s first major league home run gave the Twins a lead and Garver a great memory.
“In a spot like that, that’s something I’ll never forget,” Garver said.
Molitor expressed his appreciation for Garver’s first big league home run, “it couldn’t have come at a better time.”
Eddie Rosario provided the Twins’ bullpen with some added insurance in the home half of the eighth inning by hitting his first home run of the season to put Minnesota up 4-2.
After walking Dee Gordon, Fernando Rodney shutdown the next three Seattle hitters to earn his first save of the season.
“It got a little colder as the game went on but a good win,” Molitor added during his post game press conference.
It was a cold Twins home opener at Target Field, 37 degrees, but the 39,214 fans that showed up were feeling optimistic.
We spoke with some fans about their expectations for the 2018 season.
Terry Selness from Mabel, was at his third home opener with his son Travis and says it postseason or bust.
"I think they they should be better than last year, probably not a division winner yet, but I think they're a playoff team."
Shannon Barnell, who recently moved to Minneapolis from Cincinnati, also thinks the Twins are postseason bound.
"Absolutely I think we're going to be a playoff team."
The Twins (4-2) will continue their series against the Mariners (3-3) Saturday, April 7th at 1:10 p.m.