CHICAGO – Bobby Wilson has played in Texas and lives in Florida, and he considered Saturday’s game one of the hottest he has ever played in.
Fernando Rodney didn’t pitch Saturday, but the native of the Dominican Republic couldn’t believe the heat either.
“Never back-to-back like this,” he said of successive days of barely bearable heat.
With the midgame temperature reaching 96 degrees and a heat index of 107, the conditions were too hot for the Twins to handle, as three of their players left because of heat-related illnesses.
The Cubs also were too hot for them, too, pounding out 20 hits on the way to a 14-9 victory. The Twins lost for the seventh time in nine games, have been outscored 24-15 in two games at Wrigley Field and fell to 1-4 on their nine-game road trip.
Twins manager Paul Molitor had to let Zach Duke bat in the seventh and pinch hit Jake Odorizzi in the ninth because of the limited options he had with the departures of Wilson, Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler. The Cubs’ Albert Almora Jr. also left because of heat-related cramps in both legs.
“When the conditions are like that you do the best you can to get players ready, whatever we can possibly do to get them prepared with nutrition, hydration, all those types of things,” Molitor said. “It overtook three of our guys today.”
Rosario, Wilson and Kepler all were administered fluids through intravenous therapy. The conditions might be more memorable than the game itself, which is something considering the Twins grabbed an early 3-0 lead, fell behind 4-3, reclaimed a 7-4 lead, fell behind again 9-7 and then came back to tie the score 9-9 before the Cubs put the them away with five runs in the seventh inning.
That final big inning came at the expense of Trevor Hildenberger, who lasted one-third of an inning and was changed five earned runs on four hits and four walks, two intentional. His ERA jumped up more than a run, from 2.08 to 3.18.
“We couldn’t keep them off base,” Molitor said. “There were a lot of singles. They kept hitting them in the right spots. They were grinding.”
Rosario gave the Twins a 5-4 lead with a two-run homer in the fifth inning, then went out to left field in the bottom of the inning, where he felt ill and had to depart. He was replaced by Willians Astudillo, who was making his major league debut.
Wilson drew a walk in the sixth — but doesn’t remember the at-bat. He remained in the game and was able to get around the bases and score on a sacrifice fly. He was getting dizzy and having trouble catching his breath.
After another conversation in the dugout, he was pulled as well.
“I just know I got on base and just kind of Mollie and them coming out and talking,” he said. “I was pretty dizzy at that point. I know I walked. I know I got on base and touched the pillows a couple of times and scored a run. I don’t really remember that too much.”
And then Kepler came out before the eighth inning when he didn’t feel well. Logan Morrison had to enter as the left fielder and push Astudillo to center.
There were no plans to make roster moves after the game, as the Twins hope that a night of rest and fluids will help.
The Twins probably were happy to be out of the heat wave — the one produced by the sun as well as the Cubs.
“Everyone has to deal with different times of the year where you have to deal with things that are out of your control, like extremes with the weather, those types of things,” Molitor said. “Get your rest and do the best you can and try to fight and come back and win a game.”