Twins’ pitching struggles in loss to Mets
NEW YORK — Jake Odorizzi was in complete control. He really was.
And then …
“It’s not often you see something like that happen,” he said, much later.
Odorizzi and the Minnesota bullpen suddenly went wild, allowing seven straight batters to reach base despite not hitting a single fair ball and letting Noah Syndergaard and the New York Mets stroll past the Twins 9-6 Wednesday night.
One day after the teams set a Citi Field record by totaling 10 home runs in Minnesota’s 14-8 romp, the Mets barely had to swing to build a big lead.
“It just came down to strike throwing,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli.
Or lack thereof.
The last time a team had seven batters in a row reach without a hit or error? It was 25 years ago, in fact, when the New York Yankees did it in 1994, the Elias Sports Bureau said.
A startling stretch that kept snowballing saw Odorizzi, newly promoted reliever Andrew Vasquez and Trevor Hildenberger combine to walk six and hit a batter with a pitch without getting a batter out.
At one point, the Twins threw 21 pitches — 19 missed the strike zone, many of them bouncing or sailing all over.
Mets manager Mickey Callaway had a simple message for his team as the inning unfolded.
“Keep on taking,” he said. “Don’t swing.”
“No, I don’t even think we put one take sign on. I think we just did a great job of being patient and doing what it took to score some runs there,” he said.
Wilson Ramos grounded a two-run single that capped the crazy six-run rally in the fifth inning. The Mets could’ve scored more, but Jeff McNeil was picked off third after hesitating on a bases-loaded pitch that skittered to the backstop.
Syndergaard (1-1) had permitted just two hits in taking a 9-1 lead into the eighth, and was pulled after giving up a single, double and triple to begin the inning.
It had already been a strange season for Odorizzi (0-2) — he struck out 11 against Cleveland, yet got only two outs while being tagged by Philadelphia — before this bizarre start.
Odorizzi had retired 13 of 14 batters in quick order before McNeil singled with one out in the fifth for the Mets’ first hit.
Out of nowhere, Odorizzi lost it. He walked Amed Rosario, J.D. Davis and Syndergaard in a row, all on full counts. At one point, Odorizzi threw his hands over his head, in disbelief after another free pass.
Odorizzi couldn’t really explain what caused the control problem, simply offering: “It was an unfortunate time for that to happen.”
“Just didn’t have my stuff,” Vasquez said.
Hildenberger was next, with similar results. He walked Michael Conforto on four pitches and gave up Ramos’ single that made it 6-1.
Conforto added a two-run single in the seventh.
The Twins scored three times in the eighth to make it 9-4 and loaded the bases with no outs. Jeurys Familia got Willians Astudillo to ground into a double play, limiting the damage.
MAKING A CONNECTION
Mitch Garver homered in the ninth off Edwin Diaz, who led the majors in saves last year. On Tuesday night, Garver hit two home runs off NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom.
Twins: The 25-year-old Vasquez was called up from Triple-A Rochester, but didn’t fare any better than the player he replaced on the roster. RHP Chase De Jong was optioned to the minors, a day after he gave up four runs on three hits and three walks in the ninth inning.
Twins: Snowballs or baseball? Snow fell Wednesday in the Twin Cities and the forecast calls for more into the weekend, putting Friday night’s series opener at Target Field vs. Detroit in jeopardy. As it stands, Minnesota RHP Michael Pineda (1-0, 2.00 ERA) is scheduled to start against LHP Daniel Norris (0-0, 5.06).
Mets: LHP Steven Matz (0-0, 0.87 ERA) makes his third start of the season, facing Braves RHP Kevin Gausman (1-0, 0.00) in Atlanta. Matz has gone a team-record eight straight starts without getting a decision. He is 4-0 in seven career starts vs. the Braves.