MLB Baseball

2
Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
Pittsburgh0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 270
Minnesota0 0 0 3 0 0 0 2 x 5100
5
  W: J. Odorizzi (5-7)   L: J. Taillon (9-9)   S: T. Hildenberger (2)
5:10 PM PT6:10 PM MT7:10 PM CT8:10 PM ET20:10 ET0:10 GMT8:10 5:10 PM MST7:10 PM EST7:40 PM VEN4:10 UAE (+1)7:10 PM CT, August 14, 2018
Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota  Attendance: 28,515

Pirates continue to chase teams above them in standings vs. Twins

According to STATS
According to STATS

Pittsburgh Pirates at Minnesota Twins

  1. The Pirates are 12-3 in interleague games in 2018, tied with Boston (8-2) for the best winning percentage in the majors. Pittsburgh is 7-1 on the road against the AL this season and also owns the best winning percentage among NL teams in interleague play since 2013 (70-45, .609).
  2. The Twins are 14-4 at Target Field since June 24, trailing only Boston and Oakland for the best home winning percentage in the majors over that period. Minnesota is 12-1 when scoring five or more runs in those games.
  3. Minnesota has lost nine of its last 10 matchups against NL opponents, including six straight, and its 5.64 team ERA in interleague games is the highest in the majors. The Pirates are averaging 6.07 runs per game in interleague play this season, the best mark in the majors.
  4. Josh Bell has hit safely in 18 of his last 21 interleague games dating back to Aug. 9, 2017, a stretch in which he's posted a .405/.460/.703 slash line with 22 RBI.
  5. Chris Archer makes his third start since being acquired by Pittsburgh on July 31 in Wednesday's game. Archer is 6-1 with a 1.96 ERA in nine career starts against the Twins, including a 4-0 mark with a 1.48 ERA in five starts at Target Field.
  6. Max Kepler went 2-for-23 on Minnesota's just-completed road trip but is slashing .351/.471/.649 over his last 17 games at Target Field. Kepler is batting .269 at home compared to .199 on the road, the fifth-highest split difference among AL qualifiers.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 8/14/2018 thru 8/15/2018

The National League wild-card race is tightening and the Pittsburgh Pirates are still hanging around.

After splitting a four-game series with former teammate Andrew McCutchen and the Giants in San Francisco, the Pirates went into their off-day on Monday just five games back of the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies for the two postseason berths, with three teams standing in between.

They'll try to close that gap Tuesday when they take on the Minnesota Twins in the opener of a two-game interleague series at Target Field behind right-hander Jameson Tallion, who notched his second complete game of the season his last time out, holding the Rockies to two runs despite giving up 10 hits and a walk in a 10-2 victory on Aug. 7 at Coors Field.

"I've watched 1,300 or 1,400 ballgames here and you don't see a lot of complete games," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, who was with the Rockies from 2002 to 2009. "I told him when he came off that it's special. It doesn't happen often."

The only National League pitcher to throw two complete games this season, Tallion has held opponents to three runs or less in each of his last 13 starts. Since June 1, he's 7-4 with a 2.95 ERA.

"I'm lucky in that I put (batters) on the ground a lot when I'm pitching right," Taillon said after facing the Rockies. "That's kind of my game when I'm going right. You just need to stay focused and execute the next pitch."

Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli hopes to be back in the lineup for the series opener. He left the game Saturday after taking a foul tip to the face mask and wasn't in the starting lineup Sunday, but he did appear as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning, striking out against Giants closer Will Smith.

"We'll play it out and see how we go," Hurdle said.

Cervelli didn't report any dizziness or related issues after getting hit but after two stints on the disabled list this season with concussion-related issues, the Pirates are taking a cautious approach with the 32-year-old backstop.

"We're going to continue to take as many precautionary measures as we can when he does take the field behind the plate and continue to be cautious as he does take foul balls off the mask or run into any other challenges," assistant general manager Kevan Graves told a Pittsburgh radio station.

The Twins are juggling catchers these days, too. Bobby Wilson and Mitch Garver have been splitting time behind the plate since starter Jason Castro was lost to a torn meniscus in early May.

Garver, Minnesota's ninth-round pick in the 2013 draft, has seen most of the action so far. He has appeared in 77 games this season, batting .261 with six homers, 26 RBIs and a .761 OPS but is his defensive game remains a work in progress.

Twins manager Paul Molitor acknowledged that he has given more time to Garver in order to help him develop that aspect of his game and likes what he sees so far.

"It's been steady," Molitor said. "It encompasses all areas of catching, from mindfulness of game-calling, blocking balls, catch-and-throw abilities, framing, and just the overall sense that my pitchers have gotten a lot more comfortable throwing with him as this season has gone on."

Wilson's playing time has been limited in large part because offensive struggles. He's batting .165 this season, putting him on pace for a career low in seasons he has played at least 120 games.

"It's worked out fairly well," Molitor said. "It's not easy to navigate a season with two guys who aren't really labeled as everyday guys and try to find the best way to do that."

Minnesota sends right-hander Jake Odorizzi to the mound for the series opener. His 4.50 ERA this season is the highest of his career and he's tied for the team lead in 2018 with 18 home runs allowed.

Updated August 13, 2018

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