Dodgers 7, Twins 2: Heaney impresses, late 6-run outburst leads to rain-soaked victory

After a day off to travel, the Dodgers settled in for a rain-soaked game in Minnesota against the Twins, and it ended up a tight affair most of the way. However, late in the game the Dodgers finally had a breakthrough in a six-run 8th frame, and following a lengthy rain delay they secured the 7-2 victory to even their record on the year.

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Chris Archer has struggled in recent years, but if tonight was any indication he seems to have gotten right in Minnesota as his velocity was up and he looked as good as ever. He retired eight in a row to start the game before a two-out Gavin Lux double in the 3rd, but Archer stranded him there. The 4th was then promising for the Dodgers with a Freddie Freeman lead-off double, but he didn’t move from that position as the next three batters made out to keep things scoreless. Fortunately, with the short Spring Training, the Twins were cautious with Archer’s pitch count and he was removed after four shutout frames.

That led to top prospect and rookie Josh Winder making his MLB debut, and he was forced to work in the 5th. He should’ve walked Will Smith on a 3-2 pitch to start but was gifted a strikeout instead, then did walk Cody Bellinger, who stole second (and should’ve got to third on an overthrow). Winder then walked Chris Taylor as well, and Bellinger did finally get to third after they executed a double steal.

Lux then stepped up, the best hitter on the team right now, and worked a 3-1 count before flying out to the track in center for a sac fly to make it 1-0. Unfortunately, they couldn’t capitalize further.

Of course, the reason the Dodgers got the lead in that inning is because Andrew Heaney was exceptional in his debut for the team. After allowing a one-out double to Carlos Correa in the 1st, he then retired eight straight batters in impressive fashion before allowing another double to Correa to start the 4th. However, he quickly rebounded to strand him at that position.

The 5th was a lot rougher, as Max Kepler led off with a double, and after a ground out Heaney got ahead of Miguel Sano but then hit him to put two on. Following a mound visit to talk about pinch-hitter Luis Arraez, he battled back from 3-0 and induced a tailor-made double-play ball to Trea Turner, who stumbled to the ground before fielding it, then tossed over Lux, which led to a run scoring for a 1-1 tie and runners at the corners still with just one out.

That was the end of the line for Heaney, who should’ve been out of the game with five scoreless. Instead he had to settle for a ridiculous 15 whiffs in an impressive start: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB (1 HBP), 5 K, 67 Pitches.

The reason his line ended up clean was because Brusdar Graterol entered to face Byron Buxton and Correa and handled them both, inducing a weak shallow fly ball and grounder to escape.

That trend continued with two more ground outs to start the 7th, but he then issued a walk as the rain continued to come down. David Price entered to get Kepler, who struggles against lefties, and promptly walked him, though he thankfully got out of the inning.

Daniel Hudson got the 8th for the Dodgers, carving the heart of the Twins lineup with two groundouts and a nasty strikeout.

To that point, the Dodgers still hadn’t been able to push across another run. Danny Coulombe got two outs in the 6th then issued a walk, and Joe Smith ended the frame with a strikeout. Emilio Pagan was given the 7th, and he got two quick outs of his own before surrendering a triple into the left-center field gap to Taylor. The Dodgers had who they wanted up at the plate in Lux, but he missed a hittable pitch and stranded CT3.

In the 8th, Pagan issued a lead-off walk to Mookie Betts, which spelled the end of his night. Caleb Thielbar replaced him and had a bit of a nightmare. He immediately issued a walk to Freeman to put two on, and then he got unlucky after a Trea grounder got under Arraez’s glove for a single to left and a 2-1 lead. Thielbar continued by issuing a walk to Max Muncy on a close call that loaded the bases, and that was the end of the road for him as well. He faced three batters and retired none of them.

Jhon Romero entered as the third Twins pitcher of the inning and promptly gave up a single to Justin Turner, who went oppo to plate another run. Smith followed with an oppo double into the right-center gap to put two more on the board and make it 5-1. With two down, another run came in on a CT3 grounder to Arraez that … he certainly attempted to play.

Lux then capped off the rally with a single up the middle to plate yet another for a six-run rally in the 8th to make it 7-1.

Things were coasting along for the Dodgers, but they were then hit with an 88-minute rain delay that arguably could’ve come sooner.

Garrett Cleavinger started the 8th thanks to the big lead and got into immediate trouble. He issued a walk and then gave up a jam-shot single, but bounced back with a ground out and a strikeout. Cleavinger’s night ended with a bit of bad luck, giving up another jam single, this time to Kepler to plate a run and make it 7-2.

That was probably too many pitches, so Evan Phillips entered and took four pitches to get a nasty strikeout.

Jharel Cotton threw the only inning for the Twins after the delay, and he was sort of like a delay himself, walking three batters but ultimately not allowing any runs.

That left Phillips to continue on and close things out, which he did in 1-2-3 fashion on 11 more pitches.

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Dave Roberts, genius.

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Record evened up at .500! 2-2, baby!

Tomorrow, well, I think they’re gonna play at 7:10 AM HST/10:10 AM HST/1:10 PM EST with Clayton Kershaw facing Chris Paddack.

About Chad Moriyama

"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times