After three extra innings, here are three extra notes from the Twins’ 2-1 win over the White Sox:
Paul Molitor has regretted it a couple of times this season when he’s allowed Ricky Nolasco to pitch one more inning as his pitch count climbed, but there was no problem doing it on Friday. For one thing, the veteran righthander had thrown only 88 pitches through seven innings, a number he had exceeded 18 times already this season. And for another, Nolasco hadn’t allowed a runner to reach third base since Adam Eaton’s leadoff home run.
“We talked about going back out there for the eighth inning, and he was good,” Molitor said. “He had a really nice clean innings.” In fact, Nolasco finished with a flourish, getting J.B. Shuck on a first-pitch line out, then striking out Tyler Saladino and Carlos Sanchez to give him six whiffs on the night.
It was Nolasco’s 29th career start of eight or more innings, but only his fourth with the Twins. And he had not gone that long since Sept. 16, 2014.
Still, Nolasco wasn’t credited with the victory; that went to reliever Trevor May, who is now 2-2 on the season. Nolasco still has four wins this season, one each in April, May, June and July.
Miguel Sano spoiled the Twins’ best chance at a big inning against Jose Quintana with a baserunning gaffe.
“It’s one of those areas where we continue to try to teach,” Molitor shrugged, “and you have to be patient.”
Sano was on second base with one out after doubling off Quintana — his first hit off the left-hander after an 0-for-9 start to his career. But when Kennys Vargas lined a soft single to right field, Sano only moved a few steps toward third base. When it fell in, he suddenly raced for third, passed third-base coach Gene Glynn’s stop sign, and headed home, where he was easily tagged out. Brian Dozier scored ahead of Sano, but it was the Twins’ only run in a four-hit inning. The run loomed large in a game that was still 1-1 in the 12th inning.
Molitor said the team has emphasized “the whole idea of being focused whoever you’re at are on the field — in the [batter’s] box, playing defense, on the bases.”
But that’s a lesson Sano forgot.
“It wasn’t a particularly good read, [because it] sure looked like a hit off the bat,” the manager said. Sano “kind of hung out there for awhile and then put his head down. You get a good read, you probably score easy. But when you don’t, you’ve got to pick up the coach.”
Molitor after the game, noting it was the fifth time in the last nine games that the Twins have allowed the first batter of the game to hit a home run: “We might walk [Adam] Eaton tomorrow.”