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Dodgers outlast Twins on rainy night at Target Field

LA scores 6 runs in 8th inning to beat Minnesota

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MINNEAPOLIS — What had been a well-pitched game early spiraled quickly out of control in the eighth inning for the Twins on Tuesday night thanks to a bevy of walks, poor defense and a Dodgers lineup that is too good not to capitalize on mistakes.

Six runs and three relievers later, the Twins found themselves staring at a large deficit, just minutes before the skies opened up, forcing a rain delay that lasted nearly an hour and a half. When the two teams resumed, the Dodgers sealed a 7-2 victory over the Twins in the early minutes of Wednesday morning.

The Twins (2-3), who tied the game up in the fifth inning thanks to a Dodgers (2-2) error, met a similar fate three innings later. After a pair of walks — one from Emilio Pagán, the other from Caleb Thielbar — Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner sent a ball towards Luis Arraez at third.

Instead of two outs — or at least one — the ball rolled under Arraez’s glove and the go-ahead run came around to score. Another walk followed, and in came reliever Jhon Romero, who promptly allowed an RBI single to Justin Turner and two-run double to Will Smith. As the inning continued to unravel for the Twins, another run scored on an Arraez error in which the third baseman simply fell down and another followed on a Gavin Lux single.

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In total, Twins pitchers issued nine walks in the game, most coming in the later innings.

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“It’s a good, healthy challenge to go out there and face that team, because they are going to make you make very good pitches over and over again,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “If you find the middle of the zone, they’ll probably put a good swing on it. If you’re out of the zone, they don’t expand very much, so I think it’s that, and then you add the weather in on top of it and that’s probably why the walks are showing up.”

It was a tough end for the Twins, who had pitched well early in the game, getting a nice effort to kick things off from veteran starter Chris Archer in his Twins debut.

The righty, whom the Twins signed late in camp on March 28, cruised through his four-inning outing, and finished with an enthusiastic reaction — a chest slap mixed with some skipping and yelling — after striking out Justin Turner looking to end the fourth inning.

“I haven’t felt healthy in some time. I had a lot of friends and family here. The team has done a good job of helping me understand what makes me great,” Archer said. “(Pitching coach) Wes (Johnson) has instilled the utmost confidence in me, and it was just a moment where I was just like really excited.”

The Twins were excited by what they saw from Archer, too.

Archer touched 95 on the radar gun twice, his velocity up on average from where it was during his injury-ravaged 2021 season and afterward, he said he hasn’t felt this good in over two years.

“It’s actually fun for me to look up and it puts a smile on my face watching him pitch the way he’s pitching right now and we’re going to keep him going,” Baldelli said. “It was a very good start today against a very good team. We were pleased with every aspect of it.”

After four sharp innings, he made way for rookie Josh Winder.

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While it looked as if Winder might have been on track to win the fifth starter spot out of camp, the Twins instead signed Archer, relegating the rookie to the bullpen. In his debut Tuesday, he tossed one inning of relief.

Winder struck out the first batter he saw, Smith, looking with a little help from catcher Ryan Jeffers, who framed the third strike nicely. But the rest of the inning wasn’t quite as easy for the Twins’ No. 7 prospect (per MLB Pipeline) who then walked the next two batters and later saw them advance to second and third on a double steal.

One run, Cody Bellinger, came around to score to give the Dodgers the lead at the time. The Twins would tie it up in the fifth inning when Arraez, pinch hitting at the time, grounded what looked like it would be a double play toward Trea Turner at short. Instead, he seemed to slip and flipped the ball over Lux’s head at second, allowing Max Kepler to score.

That was the only run for the Twins until the eighth inning on a day where they were limited to just five hits, two of them doubles from Carlos Correa.

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