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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Twins face Pirates, flip to Sonny Grey on again finish of 1-2 punch

Proper-handers Pablo Lopez and Sonny Grey have developed into fairly the one-two punch for the Minnesota Twins as they hit the stretch run of their quest for an American League Central title.

Lopez improved to 4-0 with an ERA of 0.36 in 4 August begins by throwing six shutout innings in a 5-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday within the opener of a three-game collection in Minneapolis.

Now it is Grey’s activate Saturday evening.

Grey (6-5, 3.04 ERA) has allowed simply 14 hits and 4 earned runs over 19 innings (1.89 ERA) whereas successful two of his three August begins, placing out 25.

Grey is 4-3 with a 4.20 ERA in 9 profession appearances (eight begins) towards the Pirates. He enters Saturday’s sport off a 3-0 win at defending Nationwide League champion Philadelphia on Sunday, when he allowed solely two hits and three walks over six innings whereas placing out seven.

Minnesota has received 4 of its final 5 video games and has a five-game lead over second-place Cleveland within the AL Central.

Pittsburgh, which has misplaced 4 of its final 5 contests, had its probabilities early towards Lopez in Friday evening’s opener. The Pirates acquired the leadoff batter on in every of the primary three innings, together with back-to-back singles by Ji Hwan Bae and Bryan Reynolds to start out the sport and a double by Alika Williams to open the third inning. However Lopez pitched out of each jams whereas extending his scoreless innings streak to 19.

“We had him in conditions we wished him in — we simply did not capitalize,” Pittsburgh supervisor Derek Shelton mentioned. “We now have to capitalize when you will have run-scoring alternatives, and we had a number of early within the sport.”

The Pirates completed the sport 1-for-14 with runners in scoring place.

“It was a kind of gritty outings the place nothing got here straightforward,” mentioned Lopez, who allowed six hits and two walks over six innings whereas placing out seven.

“Extra Pablo being Pablo and simply sort of getting it performed inning after inning,” Twins supervisor Rocco Baldelli mentioned. “I can not single one factor out. He is doing all the pieces at a really excessive degree. … He is doing all of it proper now.”

Michael A. Taylor gave Minnesota all of the offense it wanted within the fourth inning when he hit a two-run homer into the left-center bleachers to interrupt a scoreless tie.

“Very spectacular,” Taylor mentioned of Lopez. “He is been regular all yr. I imply, he is such a troublesome pitcher. I really feel unhealthy for these hitters up there. Even when he falls behind, he finds a solution to get it performed.”

Pittsburgh will flip to All-Star right-hander Mitch Keller (9-8, 4.27 ERA) in an effort to even the collection on Saturday.

Keller, who has by no means confronted Minnesota, has misplaced his final 5 choices relationship to a 7-1 victory over San Diego on June 28. In eight begins since, he has allowed six or extra earned runs thrice, together with eight runs twice. His ERA his elevated nearly a full run from 3.34 to 4.27 throughout that span.

Keller got here away with a no-decision in his final begin, a 4-2 victory over Cincinnati on Sunday. He allowed two runs (one earned) on 5 hits over six innings whereas strolling three and placing out seven.

—Area Stage Media

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