After earning saves in Minnesota’s first three games coming out of the All-Star break, hard-throwing closer Jhoan Duran was unavailable as the Twins opened a four-game road series against the Seattle Mariners on Monday
Whether Duran will be called upon Tuesday in Seattle remains to be seen.
“We’ll see,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We haven’t done it before, so I don’t know. I really don’t. We’ll talk to the pitching guys (Tuesday) and see how he’s moving around and throwing the ball
“The second half just started. We have a long run of games to start the second half, and we have plenty of games to go. We’re going to need him for a while.”
Duran, whose fastball has been clocked at 104.6 mph, said he generally feels stronger in the second half of the season. Overall this year, he is 2-4 with a 2.17 ERA and 15 saves in 34 appearances. He has struck out 47 and walked 15 in 37 1/3 innings.
Duran remained with his teammates on Monday even though he wasn’t going to pitch.
“He will be at the ballpark all day,” Baldelli said. “We won’t send him home to go lay down. He’ll be here. We’ll talk about (Tuesday), though, (on Tuesday).”
The Twins had a three-game winning streak snapped with a 7-6 loss on Monday. They made it interesting, however, as Max Kepler hit a three-run homer on a 1-2 count with two outs in the ninth inning to pull Minnesota within a run
That forced Mariners manager Scott Servais to call on his closer, Paul Sewald, to get the final out
Joey Gallo also homered for the Twins, his team-leading 17th of the season
Eugenio Suarez hit a two-run shot in the seventh to give Seattle a 7-3 lead.
The Mariners managed no runs on two hits through four innings before breaking through against All-Star Sonny Gray in the fifth. Jarred Kelenic’s two-run single capped a four-run rally
“I thought the quality of at-bats got better as the game went on,” Servais said. “It didn’t start off so good and Sonny Gray is really good. But after (that), we made a few adjustments, understanding that you’re not going to hit the long ball off Sonny Gray. You’ve got to take your singles, work your walks and we were able to do that and put a big inning together.”
Tuesday’s pitching matchup features a pair of right-handers, Minnesota’s Bailey Ober (5-4, 2.61 ERA) and Mariners rookie Bryan Woo (1-1, 3.63)
Ober has made five straight quality starts of six or more innings and three or fewer earned runs allowed. He didn’t get a decision in his latest outing, on July 7 against the visiting Baltimore Orioles, despite allowing just one run on four hits over six innings in a game the Twins lost 3-1 in 10 innings
Ober is 1-0 with a 4.00 ERA in two career starts against Seattle.
Woo hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in his past six starts after getting hammered in his major league debut. In his most recent appearance, on July 8 at Houston, he gave up two runs — one earned — on three hits in six innings but didn’t get a decision as the Mariners lost 3-2
Woo will be facing the Twins for the first time
–Field Level Media