Solano hits tiebreaking single as the Twins snap 5-game skid with 3-2 win over Cardinals
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Donovan Solano hit a tiebreaking, two-run single in the seventh inning and Pablo Lopez tossed six effective innings as the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins snapped a five-game skid with a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.
Minnesota was coming off a three-game sweep to the Kansas City Royals and having lost the last two games of a three-game set against the Seattle Mariners. The Twins hold a two-game lead in the division over Cleveland, which was no-hit in Houston on Tuesday.
Tyler O’Neill homered for St. Louis, which has lost four of its last five games and eight of 11.
The loss comes just hours after the Cardinals traded right-hander Jack Flaherty to the Baltimore Orioles for prospects. The Cardinals got infielder César Prieto, left-hander Drew Rom and right-hander Zack Showalter. Prieto is Baltimore’s No. 16 prospect and Rom is No. 18. Flaherty was 7-6 with a 4.43 ERA this year for the Cardinals, who are mired in last place in the NL Central. St. Louis also dealt left-hander Jordan Montgomery to Texas on Sunday.
Solano, pinch-hitting for Joey Gallo, hit the first pitch from Miles Mikolas up the middle to score in Jorge Polanco and Matt Wallner. Polanco began the inning with a hit and Wallner followed with a ground-rule double.
“I was just looking for a ball I could drive and hit up the middle,” Solano said. “(Contact) is my talent. I’m no power hitter. I try to be short with my swings.”
Lopez (6-6) allowed one run on four hits over six innings with five strikeouts. He retired the first seven hitters he faced.
“You want to set the tone in the first game of the series,” Lopez said. “I tried to execute quality pitches from the first inning.”
Lopez set down eight straight batters from the third to fifth innings.
Minnesota did not make any moves at the trade deadline and manager Rocco Baldelli seems content with his current roster.
“We have a great group,” Baldelli said. “We went out there and played a good ball game. Our guys didn’t relent, they kept on it and did some good work.”
Added Lopez, “We know the talent that we have in this clubhouse. We’re a first-place team for a reason.”
Mikolas (6-7) gave up three runs on six hits over seven innings. He was ejected in his previous start against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday after just 14 pitches. Mikolas plunked Ian Happ with a pitch after Happ caught catcher Willson Contreras with on a swing that knocked Contreras out of the game. Mikolas was suspended five games for the incident, but has appealed the suspension.
“Everything felt pretty good,” Mikolas said.
Relievers Emilio Pagan, Griffin Jax and Jhoan Duran combined to secure the seven-hit victory. Duran recorded his 18th save in 22 chances.
The Twins’ five-game losing streak matched their longest of the season.
St. Louis, after trading away two starting pitchers over the last few days, is in survival mode.
“The strategy is to be super-optimistic,” Mikolas said.
Boston forward Jayson Tatum threw out the first pitch alongside his son, Deuce. Tatum, a four time NBA All-Star, was born in St. Louis and attended Chaminade Prep School, in nearby Creve Coeur.
Cardinals: INF Brendan Donovan will have season-ending surgery Wednesday to address a flexor strain in his right arm. He is expected to be fully recovered and able to take part in spring training next year.
Minnesota RHP Joe Ryan (9-7, 4.06) will start the second game of the three-game series on Wednesday. Ryan will be facing the Cardinals for the first time in his career. He is 5-8 with a 5.40 ERA when facing a team for the initial time. St. Louis announced after the game that RHP Dakota Hudson (1-0, 4.19) will make his second start of the season.
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