In the middle of the field, in the middle of the lineup, in the middle of almost everything the Twins do, you can find Jorge Polanco.
He doesn’t get the most attention, doesn’t have the loudest voice in the clubhouse. But there he is, day after day, providing a consistent presence on the field more than any of his teammates.
And there he was again on Tuesday in the middle of the Twins’ comeback win against the Reds, blasting big in the ninth inning, delivering a three-run shot when the Twins defeated Cincinnati 7-5 in the series opener at the Great American Beat Ball Park.
“I went to the plate aggressively and then I said to myself, ‘You have to take it slow. Take it simple,'” the second baseman said on Bally Sports North.
Polanco’s home run, his second in as many games, came after a pair run to open the innings and was fair in the right field.
It came on the eighth pitch of the at-bat, when he fouled four straight pitches, including a ball of his foot. The pain disappeared from him as he was moving the chairs, he said.
It happened after the twins (45-62) saw a prime opportunity slip away from them before an inning – Josh Donaldson, appearing in a game for the first time after experiencing hamstring tightness on Friday, was an innings The Twins had loaded the bases in double play after the end of the year – and when the Twins saw the first two leads in the game slip away.
And it came after a stellar July month in which he dropped .327/.366/.548, and garnered some Player of the Month votes along the way.
Manager Rocco Baldelli said, “It was a great at-bat he put up with good stuff against a guy (Heather Hembrey).” “…
While Polanco’s clutch hit turned the twins’ fortunes on Tuesday night, things were still tense in the bottom half of the ninth. With Taylor Rogers injured and Hansel Robles gone, Alexander Colomey slipped into closing duties on Tuesday, before dropping a single and walk to bring a tying run to the plate for the Reds (56-51). He removes the next three batsmen from the order. .
Colom’s scoreless innings – and a combined three scoreless frames from John Gantt and Danny Coulombe – came after Kenta Maida’s debut in which he conceded five for three home runs.
At the beginning of July 5th, the flour was cut with the longball just twice. It was their best month of the season as last year’s Cy Young Award runner-up began to resemble the guy the Twins knew could finish the month with a 2.15 earned-run average.
But her first start in August, though she scored nine runs, was not as successful. When the Twins scored a run at the top of the third inning, Maeda allowed back-to-back homers—and, shortly after, back-to-back doubles—the Reds took a 3–1 lead.
“I think I threw the ball over the plate too much for homer, back to back home runs on the first pitch,” Maida said. “I wish I could have done things a little more carefully.”
When he scored three more runs in the fifth inning – Maeda himself was a part of that scoring, a single from the left of the infield to start the rally before Mitch Garver’s three-run homer later in the frame – the Reds again Maeda. With a home run of two runs, he came on the charge.
This gave them a 5-4 lead which got stuck. Until the ninth, that is, when Polanco was again delivering late game heroism.
“It’s Major League Baseball and it’s a very challenging deal, but you’re going to bet on a guy who’s swinging the bat like that, playing like that, playing with confidence, Baldelli said. “…I think he’s really feeling it.”