Minnesota Twins Take 2 Of 3 From Colorado Rockies
DENVER -- — The Minnesota Twins were so ready to turn the page to playoff baseball. Hence, the decision to send an outfielder to the mound in an extra-inning game.
Brenton Doyle scored from second base on a wild pitch in the 11th inning by outfielder-turned-pitcher Jordan Luplow, and the Colorado Rockies rallied for a 3-2 win over the playoff-bound Twins on Sunday in the regular-season finale.
On deck for the AL Central champion Twins: a best-of-three playoff series against Toronto starting Tuesday at Target Field.
“Yes, we want to win this game today,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “But the more important situation to prepare for is the playoff game.
"Our pitching staff is lined up and ready to go. We have everything that we’re looking for, that we need. It’s an exciting time.”
With Doyle starting the 11th inning on second, Luplow (0-1) went from outfielder to emergency reliever. As Luplow delivered a 63-mph slider to Brendan Rodgers, Doyle took off to steal third. It was an easy decision to keep on going once the baseball got through the pads of catcher Ryan Jeffers. A hustling Doyle easily slid headfirst into home.
The Twins are searching for their first playoff win since Game 1 at New York on Oct. 5, 2004. The team hasn’t won a postseason series since beating Oakland in five games during the 2002 AL Division Series.
Gavin Hollowell (2-0) earned the win by escaping a bases-loaded jam in the 11th inning. He was one of eight pitchers the Rockies used on the afternoon.
Twins starter Bailey Ober tied a season-high with nine strikeouts as he pitched 6 2/3 sharp innings. The 6-foot-9 right-hander allowed just one run on a homer by Nolan Jones.
The Rockies finished the season by losing 100 games for the first time in franchise history (59-103), but still drew 2,607,935 fans to Coors Field. They boast a young nucleus that features Jones and shortstop Ezequiel Tovar.
Gear up for the postseason, where right-hander Pablo Lopez is slated to start Game 1 of the American League Wild Card Series on Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays. The first pitch will be at 3:38 PM on ESPN 102.3/AM 1000 KSOO.
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Gallery Credit: Seth Berkman