Following a rainout on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota Twins played the first of their three-game set on Wednesday night in slightly better weather, albeit still chilly temperatures.
The first inning was a breeze for Kyle Gibson, who retired the Dodgers in order on six pitches. Joe Mauer hit a one-out single off Dee Gordon’s glove and Zack Greinke issued a two-out walk, but the right-hander got out of the first on a Jason Kubel pop fly.
Adrian Gonzalez led off the second with his ninth double of the season, but the Dodgers’ inability to drive runners in reared its head again. Meanwhile, Josmil Pinto singled in the bottom of the second and advanced to second base with no outs on a passed ball. Eduardo Escobar picked up an RBI on a two-out double, which resulted in the final out of the inning as he attempted to stretch it into a triple.
Drew Butera hit a leadoff single in the third and reached second on a Yasiel Puig two-out walk. Hanley Ramirez tied the game with a single to left that just scored Butera. Twins manager Rod Gardenhire challenged the play, but he ruling was upheld and the game was tied at 1-1. Gonzalez extended the two-out rally with his second hit of the game, an RBI single to left that scored Puig. With the bases loaded, Andre Ethier flared one to left field, which Kubel made a diving catch on to end the top of the inning.
Greinke allowed a double in the bottom of the third but with two strikeouts, kept the Twins at one run through three. Both teams were scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings, with the Dodgers leaving runners on first and second in each inning. After back-to-back innings where the Dodgers had men on base, Gibson sailed through the sixth by striking out Gordon and getting a pair of groundouts. Greinke answered right back with his first 1-2-3 inning of the game in the bottom of the sixth.
Puig singled to left field to start the seventh and a Matt Kemp single put runners on the corners with two outs. Gibson remained in the game to pitch to Ethier and the move proved costly for the Twins as the Dodger left fielder doubled in a run to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead. Michael Tonkin relieved Gibson immediately after, however it didn’t improve the Twins’ fortunes. With Ethier standing on second and Kemp on third, Uribe singled down the right field line to score two more.
Kurt Suzuki doubled off Greinke in the bottom of the seventh and that marked the end of the night for the right-hander. J.P. Howell came on in relief and struck out the first batter he faced. Howell then allowed a single and walked Mauer to load the bases with two outs. Mattingly called on power right-hander Chris Withrow, who got Trevor Plouffe to pop up on a 3-0 pitch.
The Dodgers added to their four-run lead in the eighth, sparked by a Gordon double. Puig followed by hitting a shot up the middle that Twins shortstop Edwin Escobar couldn’t handle and Gordon alertly got up from his slide into third base to score. With a five-run lead, Brian Wilson came on in the bottom of the eighth. The struggling right-hander retired the Twins in order, including two strikeouts.
Anthony Swarzak pitched the ninth for the Twins and limited them to one walk. Newly recalled Paco Rodriguez took over for Wilson in the bottom of the ninth, allowed a one-out double and RBI single to Escobar, who went 4-for-4 on the night. Brian Dozier then singled off Rodriguez, and the lefty got the next batter to strikeout. Kenley Jansen replaced Rodriguez and in an 11-pitch at-bat against Plouffe, gave up a two-run double to pull the Twins within 6-4. Jansen retired the next batter to earn the save in the win, which was No. 10,000 for the Dodgers franchise.
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