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  • Kepler, Bullpen Push E-Twins to Championship Game

    Happy Labor Day to all!! Labor Day is also the final regular season game for full season minor league affiliates. Correcting myself from yesterday, the New Britain Rock Cats will go into the final day of the season with a chance at a playoff spot. On Sunday, Elizabethton fought elimination. Would they be able to force a Appy League championship-deciding Game 3 against Burlington?

    The Twins and Royals completed three games within a 24 hour period. Unfortunately, after winning the first two games on Saturday, the Royals got the win in game three.

    Esmerling Vasquez started and after some early control issues, he settled down some. In all, he gave up five runs on seven hits and three walks in 5.2 innings. Joe Mauer had three hits, including his 27th double. Chris Parmelee hit his fourth Twins homer, one of his two hits. The Twins and White Sox will play on Labor Day.

    Here is a look at the Twins minor league scores and highlights from Sunday:


    After losing by a score of 3-2 in 12 innings on Saturday night in Game 1, Elizabethton would need to win on Sunday to force a championship-deciding Game 3 on Monday. The E-Twins needed overtime again, but thanks to a big home run and some incredible bullpen work, they fought out an 11-inning, 4-3 win. On Monday, the Twins will send top pitcher J.O. Berrios to the mound in an attempt to win their first Appy League title since 2009.

    The weather tried to keep the teams from playing. They were delayed for about two hours before starting the game. The E-Twins had to start 5th starter Hein Robb in this all-important game. The lefty from South Africa game up three runs on four hits in four innings. He walked two and struckout five. He gave up a two-run homer to Bubba Starling before giving up a solo homer to Fred Ford.

    Adam Walker got the E-Twins on the scoreboard in the fourth with an RBI single. Down 3-1, Max Kepler hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the 6th to tie the score at three.

    That’s where the score stayed for a while thanks to great work by the bullpens. Tyler Duffey struckout five batters in two perfect innings. Kaleb Merck then struckout two in two scoreless innings. JT Chargois threw three scoreless innings. He walked one and struckout five.

    That brought the game to the bottom of the 11th. DJ Hicks led off with a single to right field. Thanks to an error, he got all the way to third base. Kelvin Mention pinch ran for Hicks. Adam Walker and Byron Buxton were intentionally walked, setting up a force at home. With Travis Harrison at bat, Mention scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch.

    Max Kepler was 3-5 with the homer and two RBI. Candido Pimentel went 2-5 in the game.


    Wilkin Ramirez and the offense continued to put up runs, but on this day, it wasn’t enough. Ramirez went 2-4 with his 17th double, 15th home run and two RBI. Rene Rivera was 2-4 with his 15th homer. Tsuyoshi Nishioka hit his 16th and 17th doubles.

    Nick Blackburn made the start. He went just 2.2 innings. He gave up six runs (3 earned) on eight hits. Two were home runs. Bobby Lanigan went the next 3.1 innings. He gave up two runs on three hits and hit a batter. He struck out four. Daniel Turpen went the final two innings and did not give up a run. He gave up a hit, walked one and struck out two.


    The Rock Cats kept their playoff hopes alive with a win on Sunday afternoon. Steve Hirschfeld started but got just two outs. He gave up one run on three hits. David Bromberg came in and gave up one run on two hits over the next 3.2 innings. He walked two and struck out one. Aaron Thompson gave up one run on four hits over the next 2.1 innings. Matt Hauser went the final 2.1 innings and gave up just one hit.

    James Beresford went 3-4 with his third triple. Nate Hanson went 2-4 with his 16th double and seventh home run. Oswaldo Arcia was 2-5 with his fifth triple. Josmil Pinto was 2-5. Chris Herrmann went 1-2 with two walks and three RBI.


    Andy Leer has had a difficult season with the Miracle in terms of his batting average. However, his ability to play several positions has given him value throughout the season in the eyes of manager Jake Mauer. On this day, he went 2-2 and drove in four runs. Three times he drove in Angel Morales who was 2-3 with a walk and two stolen bases. Anderson Hidalgo went 2-3 with his 13th double. Danny Santana homered for the 8th time, and Kyle Knudson ripped his 11th double.

    Lefty Pat Dean started and gave up just one hit over the first three innings. He struckout four. Matt Summers came in for the middle three innings. He gave up three runs on two hits and two walks. He struck out three. AJ Achter didn’t allow a single base runner in the final three innings for his sixth save.


    Matt Tomshaw was very good again on this day. The lefty went the first seven innings and gave up two runs on six hits. He walked none and struckout six. He was replaced by Steven Gruver who gave up two hits and two walks in his two innings but did not give up a run.

    The Snappers had just three hits. Jairo Rodriguez went 1-2 with a walk and his 12th double. He scored the team’s lone run on a Wang-Wei Lin sacrifice fly. Kennys Vargas went 1-3 with a walk. Most important, Miguel Sano was back in the lineup.


    Players of the Day for Sunday, September 2, 2012

    Hitter of the Day – Max Kepler

    Pitcher of the Day – Matt Tomshaw


    A Look Ahead – Monday, September 3, 2012 Schedule

    Rochester vs Syracuse – TBD
    New Britain vs New Hampshire – LHP Logan Darnell
    Ft. Myers vs Charlotte – Season Over
    Beloit vs Quad Cities – LHP David Hurlbut
    Elizabethton vs Burlington – RHP JO Berrios
    GCL Twins – Season Over


    If you have any questions or comments on the Twins minor league system, players, teams, etc., leave them in the Comments and I’ll try to answer them!
    This article was originally published in blog: Kepler, Bullpen Push E-Twins to Championship Game started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Berrios on the bump with a league title on the line... that couldn't have worked out much better.
    1. darin617's Avatar
      darin617 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      Berrios on the bump with a league title on the line... that couldn't have worked out much better.
      I just hope the kid can handle the pressure of a big game like a title game. Possibly a sign of future greatness how he pitches. Either way, this kid is the one of the top pitchers in this weak organization.

      Is 2015 the right time for a debut or could he make it sooner?
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      He's definitely advanced for his age, but at this point with pitchers I'm less about projecting "when" and more about "praying they don't get hurt".
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      He's definitely advanced for his age, but at this point with pitchers I'm less about projecting "when" and more about "praying they don't get hurt".
      I'd gladly take putting up with Steven Strasburg-type-debate: "Should-we-shut-him-down-or-not?"- in 2015 if this kid pans out anywhere close to Strasburg's numbers.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Fine, as long as the debate is happening only because he hasn't slowly worked his way up in innings pitched, and not because he is recovery from arm surgery.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      I think 2015 is the best case scenario. 2 years for a HS pitcher to go thru A/AA/AAA is really fast regardless of which org he's in and the Twins usually err on the side of caution (but not horribly so).

      He is looking really, really good but I'm going to wait to get really excited until he spends a year in full season ball.
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