NEW YORK -- Mitch Garver paced the Twins with two home runs on Tuesday -- the first two-homer game of his career.
He was just one of many players to break out the lumber on Tuesday as they hit six home runs during the a 14-8 pounding of the Mets. But, in Garver's case, he might want to consider how he ended up in the spotlight.
Before the game bogged down late -- and Chase De Jong struggled mightily in his season debut -- the Twins were leading in the middle innings. Garver homered in the second inning, on a fat slider from Mets ace Jacob deGrom, who throws fat sliders as often as Willians Astudillo steals bases.
All of a sudden, a tweet from Twins pitcher Stephen Gonsalves -- who's in Fort Myers rehabilitating a sore forearm -- appears:
"@MitchGarver called his shot today, deGrom is going to throw me a slider outside and I’m taking him dead center!!!!!! Are you kidding me!!"
This required further investigation, so Garver was asked about it after his big night.
"Yeah, we like to mess around a lot," Garver said. "We were playing video games this morning and I told him I was going to hit a homer. That’s how it happened."
Garver later confirmed they were online together, playing Fortnite.
There were four other home runs in the game that Garver had nothing to do with. But, if Fortnite leads to foresight about what's forthcoming, perhaps Garver should add it to his routine.
Who knows? Perhaps he already has.
Garver became only the third player to hit two home runs off of Jacob deGrom in a game, joining Giancarlo Stanton and Mark Teixeira. Not bad company.
A concert of hits
The Twins hit nine balls with an exit velocity at least 100 mph. That seems like a lot to me.
Jorge Polanco hit one exactly 100 mph. The hardest hit ball was 111.8 mph, C.J. Cron's single in the sixth. But Jonathan Schoop's second home run of the night, his three-run shot in the ninth, was 109.9 miles per hour, the hardest home run hit by the Twins on Tuesday
"Even the balls we didn't hit hard, the at bats, they were good," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.
That was the most impressive thing about Tuesday. The Twins squared up a lot of balls against deGrom and the Mets pitching staff. It didn't look like deGrom had the filthy slider he usually does, but the Twins hit darn near anyone the Mets sent to the mound.
I listened to deGrom's post-game interview. His direct quote: "My slider wasn't even a factor tonight."
Another quote from deGrom, I found this morning: "A lot of the outs they made, the ball was hit hard."
So I wasn't imagining things. The Twins were presented one their biggest challenge of the season, and the response was thunderous. DeGrom had his 27-inning scoreless streak snapped, his 26-start run of quality starts and 31 straight starts giving up three or fewer runs all snapped on Tuesday.
Four the Twins wins this young season have come against Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Jake Arietta and Jacob deGrom. That's not bad either.
Gibby still searching
Kyle Gibson said he felt good but, once again, there were pitches on Tuesday he would like to have back. He was one pitch from getting out of the fifth but his command left him at the wrong time as he walked the bases loaded and then was pulled for Trevor Hildenberger.
"I threw some good pitches here and there," he said. "(Michael) Conforto was a situation where we were trying to execute a pitcher's pitch in that situation knowing we had (J.D. Davis) on deck and trying to make sure he hit the one we wanted to throw. Then on Davis, didn't get ahead. Just lost my fastball command a little bit. It was a little frustrating but Hildy came in and did a great job."
Gibson has had back-to-back outings in which he failed to pitch five innings. It looks like he's still working through things after E. coli. Nine baserunners in 42/3 innings isn't going to cut it.
"I felt the same," he said, "but I felt my stuff was better tonight."
But, hey, how about that offense?
"It's a lineup that everyone in the (AL) Central is going to have to figure out how to navigate," Gibson said. "When you look up and down the lineup, even the guys on the bench there's no letup. We have however many combinations of a lineup that are going to make people think, 'we have to get around this guy to get here.' And you just can't do that. We have no letup, and it is pretty fun to watch night in and night out."
Other stuff from Tuesday:
Byron Buxton swiped second base in the second inning, his streak now at 32 stolen bases without being caught.
Hildenberger had stranded all eight runners he's inherited this season.
The weather this weekend won't be good for baseball.