It would have been out of Miller Park, for sure. It would have cleared the short porch in Yankee Stadium by a mile, and it might have threatened to splash into the bay in San Francisco.
But Logan Morrison’s high-and-deep smash in the eighth inning on Sunday? At Target Field, that’s just a long, loud single off the 23-foot-high wall. And Morrison didn’t mind a bit.
“It was just good to come through there and get us the W,” Morrison said after his tiebreaking bases-loaded blast delivered a 3-1 victory over the Brewers and ended the Twins’ three-game losing streak. “It’s a homer anywhere else, but oh well. Let’s just draw a line 5 feet up and we’ll be good.”
If the Twins did that, Morrison would have his first grand slam against a lefthander, Milwaukee reliever Boone Logan. But for a team that’s fighting to stay afloat without several of its key members in uniform, a single was enough, especially since RBI against lefties have also been a little scarce for Morrison thus far; the runs that Brian Dozier and Max Kepler scored doubled his total to four.
“Once he’s started to get on track, he’s become the player we thought he’d be. He’ll strike out some, but he’s taking his walks, and he’s been getting some hits. The production has started to come,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “When he’s swinging well, I don’t think it bothers him either way, who he’s going to face.”
Facing Jake Odorizzi seemed to bother the Brewers plenty, but that’s pretty standard for the Twins righthander these days. Odorizzi ran his streak of scoreless innings to 15 before Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar slugged a high fastball into the second deck in the sixth inning. But that was the lone run he allowed, the fourth time in his past five starts that he has given up no more than one run.
The scoreless-inning streak might be gone, but Odorizzi’s streak of holding batters hitless with runners in scoring position went to 0-for-15, dating to May 3.
“Your biggest pitches are always out of the stretch, so I try to work out of the stretch in my bullpens, just because that’s when it really matters,” Odorizzi said. “[I’m] just making good pitches at the right time, maybe getting some luck, some mis-hits, whatever it may be. As long as they don’t score, I really don’t care how it gets done.”
He prospers off the high fastball, though the one to Aguilar didn’t get high enough. It was a couple of inches above the strike zone, meant to be a waste pitch on an 0-2 count, but Aguilar reached it and crushed his fourth home run of the weekend, just one fewer than Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson’s Target Field record of five homers in a three-game series.
“I threw him one fastball today,” Odorizzi said with a shrug. “I went with my strength, and he got on top of it.”
But it was his lone blemish, and Taylor Rogers, Ryan Pressly, Addison Reed and Fernando Rodney were effective, too. Odorizzi struck out 10, missing his career high by one, and the Twins whiffed 17 batters in all, the third most in franchise history and most in a game not started by Johan Santana.
The Twins managed only six hits, but a Milwaukee error helped the Twins score the game’s first run, and three walks preceded Morrison’s hit in the eighth.
Byron Buxton singled in the sixth inning, stole second base — his 29th straight successful steal, but first since April 12 — and advanced to third base on a throwing error by catcher Jett Bandy. That forced the Brewers to draw the infield in, and Kepler took advantage by hitting a ground ball just out of Jonathan Villar’s reach at second base, an RBI hit that probably doesn’t happen with the infield back.
“When he gets on base, we know the kind of havoc and chaos he can create,” Morrison said. “Shoot, it’s fun to watch him run.”
It was fun for Morrison to watch the Twins walk, too, because once the Brewers put Dozier, Kepler and Eduardo Escobar (the latter intentionally) without a ball put in play, it cleared the way for him.