The Minnesota Twins will look to record their first win in Phoenix in 17-plus years when they visit the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night.
Arizona beat Minnesota 7-2 in Friday’s opener of the three-game set. It was the Twins’ fifth straight setback when visiting the Diamondbacks.
Minnesota’s last road win in the series was a 10-0 rout on June 8, 2005. The Twins lost the series finale the next day and then were swept in a three-game set in Phoenix from May 20-22, 2011.
Minnesota will attempt to end that drought after experiencing a frustrating loss on Friday.
The Twins had eight hits in the first three innings but only scored two runs. They finished with 10 hits.
“That’s the way the game goes sometimes,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said afterward. “It’s not about fairness, it’s not about what you earn. You have to score runs. We couldn’t have hit the ball any harder.”
Jordan Luplow smacked two homers and drove in three runs for the Diamondbacks. His first one was a two-run shot in the first inning to counter Byron Buxton’s leadoff blast in the top of the inning.
“I was trying to jump on a fastball and I got one in my first at-bat,” Luplow said. “The offense came through and we did the little things and got the W.”
Arizona’s Buddy Kennedy got his first major league hit in his big league debut after being recalled from Triple-A Reno.
Kennedy, 23, is the grandson of four-time All-Star Don Money and has a close relationship with Angels star Mike Trout, who shares the same hometown of Millville, N.J.
“I’m very proud,” Money, who attended Friday’s game, told The Press of Atlantic City. “He’s been after this for years, and not many people get to make it to the big leagues. He put in a lot of hard work this winter. He works out with Mike Trout. They’re friends, and Mike always encourages him.”
Kennedy can play second and third base and his presence is welcome with second baseman Ketel Marte ailing. Marte missed the opener due to a left hamstring injury and underwent an MRI exam, according to manager Torey Lovullo.
Marte dealt with multiple hamstring injuries last season when he was limited to 90 games.
“We’re pulling him back for the right reasons,” Lovullo said. “We need him for the entire season.”
Meanwhile, the Twins placed second baseman Jorge Polanco (back) on the 10-day injured list prior to Friday’s game. According to the team, it is the first time Polanco has been on the injured list in his nine-year major league career.
Alex Kirilloff was recalled to fill the roster opening. He batted just .172 in 29 at-bats for the Twins earlier this season but he played well after being demoted to Triple-A St. Paul by batting .359 with 10 homers and 32 RBIs in 35 games.
“A.K. really took care of everything he needed to,” Baldelli said. “We asked him to go and direct his energy toward getting at-bats and figuring out how to attack different pitches. Go do what you do. He’s a great young player.”
Kirilloff struck out as a pinch-hitter in the opener.
On Saturday, Minnesota will start right-hander Dylan Bundy (3-3, 5.87 ERA), who is winless (0-3) over his past seven starts.
Bundy, 29, received a no-decision against the New York Yankees on June 9 when he gave up four runs and five hits over four innings.
Bundy is 2-1 with a 5.27 ERA in three career starts against Arizona. Christian Walker is 0-for-5 with three strikeouts versus Bundy.
The Diamondbacks will counter with right-hander Luke Weaver (1-0, 4.91), who is making his third appearance and first start of the season.
Weaver recently returned after missing two months due to elbow issues. He has never faced the Twins.
The 28-year-old picked up a victory in his return last Sunday when he gave up one run and three hits in three innings of relief against the Philadelphia Phillies.
–Field Level Media