Buried beneath the heap of stuff that took place during Tuesday night’s 291-minute, 400-pitch marathon between the Twins and White Sox were a number of small things worth noting. These are things that could have stood out on their own but got diminished by the bigger picture of the Twins moving one game closer to the AL Central title and the novel way in which that happened in the 9-8, 12-inning victory..
Yes, utility infielder Ronald Torreyes was hit in the arm by the 400th and final pitch of the night. Tyler Duffey threw 16 of them to get three strikeouts in the inning that he worked. If you were thinking, “Hey, it’s been almost two months since Tyler Duffey has given up a run,” you’re right. The last time was July 23 against the Yankees.
Not only did Trevor May make the Twins lead disappear by giving up back-to-back home runs, he yielded them to the Nos. 8 and 9 batters in the Chicago order. One of them, designated hitter Zach Collins, now has a .131 average and 28 strikeouts in 61 at-bats.
Third-base coaches are usually noticed only when they mess up. But Tony Diaz made a good call in the 12th inning when he held Marwin Gonzalez at third base on LaMonte Wade Jr.’s one-out single to center field. Gonzalez doesn’t look like he’s running at full speed since his return from an oblique injury and, even in the best of times, he’s among the slowest Twins in baseball’s sprint speed ratings – just ahead of Nelson Cruz and slightly behind C.J. Cron.
Speaking of Wade, the Twins probably don’t tie the game in the 11th if he doesn’t take third base on a pitch that bounced only a few feet away from White Sox catcher James McCann. He scored on Mitch Garver’s fly ball to not-so-deep center, on which Leury Garcia lobbed the ball to second base instead of making any attempt to get Wade at home.
With relief pitchers, sometimes you have to see if time away and time off the mound has cured their problems. In three previous games since being recalled, Ryne Harper hadn’t given up a run or a walk. On Wednesday, asked to protect a tie in the 12th, Harper gave up a walk and a home run, which doesn't bode well for being called upon in crucial situations over the last 11 games.
Despite Harper’s lousy performance, he was the winning pitcher. Yes, baseball has a “brief and ineffective” rule that can take away a win from an undeserving pitcher. But the rule also requires the win to go to a pitcher who enters the game afterward. It's rule 9.17(c), if you want to impress your friends. Brusdar Graterol warming up in the bullpen didn’t qualify.
Rookie Luis Arraez had three hits and a walk in six plate appearances. That increased his slash line for the season to .354/.419/.457. Combined with his serviceable play at second base and ability to play other positions, he’s established himself as a vital cog in the Twins’ future – even if we should hold off on the Rod Carew comparisons for a couple of years.
Rally squirrel photos aren't getting old yet.
And speaking of photos, there were more ushers and medical staff in one part of the ballpark toward the end of the game than there were fans. This is what it looked like in Sections 217 and 218.