Kepler, Astudillo, Rosario go deep; Twins beat Phillies
By Rob Maaddi
AP Sports Writer
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Michael Pineda has plenty to celebrate after a long road back to the majors.
Max Kepler and Willians Astudillo hit consecutive homers, Eddie Rosario hit a three-run shot and Pineda’s Minnesota Twins beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-2 on Saturday.
Making his second start since Tommy John surgery in 2017, Pineda (1-0) allowed two runs and four hits, striking out five in five-plus innings for Minnesota. The burly right-hander earned his first win since June 30, 2017 with the Yankees against Houston.
“It’s a special day for me,” Pineda said. “First win in a long time, and they’re a really good team.”
Rhys Hoskins went deep for the Phillies, and Bryce Harper had two hits.
Both teams are off to 5-2 starts.
Jake Arrieta (1-1) gave up three runs and five hits in seven innings. He threw only 75 pitches.
“Jake did a really good job being efficient, attacking the hitters, forcing them to put it in play,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said.
Center fielder Byron Buxton threw out Harper trying to score on a flyout in the sixth to preserve Minnesota’s one-run lead.
Rosario made it a four-run cushion when he hit one off the right field foul pole in the ninth against Seranthony Dominguez.
“I was trying to make good contact,” Rosario said.
The Twins jumped ahead 3-0 in the third inning. Buxton hit a single, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch.
Kepler then blasted his second homer in two games way out to right-center, and Astudillo drove one out to left.
Hoskins connected in the fourth to cut it to 3-1.
Jean Segura led off Philadelphia’s sixth with a single to chase Pineda. Harper ripped a double off lefty Adalberto Mejia, hustling into second with a headfirst dive. After Hoskins walked, Odubel Herrera’s sacrifice fly got Philadelphia within a run. Cesar Hernandez followed with a fly to center. Harper tagged, but Buxton made a strong throw home. Harper leaped over the catcher, but Astudillo applied the tag for the final out.
“I knew he was running, just tried to get the throw as close as I can,” Buxton said.
Philadelphia loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, but Taylor Rogers retired Hernandez on a grounder to first.
Harper, who struck out with a runner on third and one out in the first, got an infield hit with two outs in the eighth for his fourth multihit game in the last five.
“Bryce Harper is one of the top players in baseball,” Pineda said. “I was excited to face him.”
After hitting just one home run in their first five games, the Twins have five in their last two at Citizens Bank Park.
Basketball Hall of Famer Allen Iverson, a Philadelphia fan favorite, threw out the first pitch. Wearing a No. 3 — his number with the 76ers — Phillies pinstriped jersey, Iverson tossed a perfect strike to the Phillie Phanatic. Iverson greeted Harper, fellow No. 3, before the game. The pair met Thursday night across the street when Harper rang the ceremonial bell before the 76ers played Milwaukee.
Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz wasn’t in the lineup for the second straight game. He appeared in right field in only four games last year for Seattle.
Twins: Buxton was back in the starting lineup for the first time since colliding with a wall Tuesday.
Phillies: OF Roman Quinn (right oblique strain) was scheduled to play another rehab game at Class A Clearwater on Saturday. He was 1 for 3 with a double and a walk Thursday and didn’t play Friday.
RHP Jose Berrios (1-0, 1.84 ERA) starts for the Twins on Sunday and RHP Zach Eflin (1-0, 0.00) goes for the Phillies. Both pitchers are making their first appearance against their opponent.