The Minnesota Twins will try to earn a fifth series win in their six home set this season on Thursday afternoon when they face the San Diego Padres in the rubber game of a three-game series at Minneapolis.
Right-hander Bailey Ober (2-0, 0.98 ERA) will make his fourth start of the season and first of his career against the Padres. Minnesota bounced back from a 6-1 loss to San Diego in the Tuesday series opener by winning 4-3 in 11 innings on Wednesday.
Alex Kirilloff, playing in his fourth game since being recalled from Triple-A Saint Paul, drilled a single down the right field line off Domingo Tapia to drive in automatic runner Max Kepler from second in the 11th inning on Wednesday. It was Kiriloff’s first career walk-off hit.
The Washington Nationals, who took two of three games April 21-23, are the only visiting team that has won a series at Minnesota this season.
San Diego right-hander Yu Darvish (2-2, 3.19 ERA), who is 1-2 with a 2.73 ERA in four career starts against the Twins, gets the start on Thursday.
The Padres will be looking to build some momentum before heading to Los Angeles for a three-game weekend series with the National League West-leading Dodgers.
The Twins, who lead the American League Central, snapped a three-game losing streak on Wednesday. Kepler homered, doubled and scored three times, while Carlos Correa had an RBI double off the fence in left-center and also walked twice. Kirilloff finished with two hits and a walk.
“That’s a really good win,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Pitching went out there and kind of took the bull by the horns. They’re a good team. We know that. The way we responded after (Tuesday’s loss), couldn’t be happier with finding a way, willing ourselves to (the win).”
Now the Twins turn to the 6-foot-9, 260-pound Ober, who pitched seven shutout innings on Friday during a 2-0 win at Cleveland. He allowed just three hits and a walk while striking out six.
“I think everybody watching the game from our dugout, we didn’t want to take our eyes off of him,” Baldelli said of Ober after that contest. “He was really something today. … When a guy takes over a game like that, he can win a game for you himself. That was close to what happened today.”
San Diego, which has lost three of its past four games, including a 5-2, 10-inning gut punch against the Dodgers on Sunday night, is 0-4 in extra-inning games.
On Wednesday, the Padres took a 3-2 lead in the 10th on a suicide squeeze by Austin Nola, which brought in Rougned Odor. Minnesota tied it in the bottom half on Donovan Solano’s leadoff opposite-field single down the right field line that drove in automatic runner Willi Castro. It marked the second blown save in a row for closer Josh Hader, who struck out three in the inning.
San Diego failed to score in the top of the 11th despite loading the bases with two outs. Griffin Jax struck out Matt Carpenter on three pitches to end the threat.
“It comes down again — what were they, 4-for-10 with runners in scoring position? We were 0-for-5,” San Diego manager Bob Melvin said. “So we had our opportunities. We did get some big hits today, and against a really good bullpen. … Just couldn’t finish it off.”
–Field Level Media