In an interleague battle of teams that traded away some of their players at the deadline, the Chicago Cubs carried the day to start a two-game interleague at Target Field.
Rookie Frank Schwindel hit a solo home run off Twins starter John Gant in the first inning, and Ian Happ tagged Caleb Thielbar for one in the eighth as the Cubs edged the Twins, 3-1, in front of a bipartisan crowd of 22,224.
Leadoff hitter Luis Arraez doubled of Cubs starter Zach Davies and scored on a Jorge Polanco sacrifice fly to tie the game in the first, but the Twins never got anything else across against five Cubs pitchers.
Chicago is a shell of the team that briefly held first place in the National League Central this season, not to mention the 2016 World Series winner. Traded away in July were slugger Anthony Rizzo, 2016 NL MVP Kris Bryant and slick-fielding shortstop Javy Baez, who all helped Chicago end a 108-year Series drought. Closer Craig Kimbrel, who had 24 saves at the time, also was dealt away.
The Twins faded after just one week and used the July 30 trade deadline to swap designated hitter Nelson Cruz, who was leading the team in home runs and RBIs, and their best starter, Jose Berrios, for prospects.
They also traded left-hander J.A. Happy to the St. Louis Cardinals for Gant, who took the loss despite pitching effectively — two runs on three hits and no walks in five innings. He struck out five.
Manuel Rodriguez (3-2) earned the victory with two innings of hitless relief, although he walked two, and Rowan Wick earned his first save in his eighth appearance of a season that started when he aggravated a muscle injury in his rib cage in spring training.
Gant fell to 0-3 with Minnesota and 4-9 overall.
The Twins got a huge performance from reliever Tyler Duffey in the seventh. The right-hander Reliever Tyler Duffey inherited a bases-loaded, no-outs situation from Juan Minaya out the the three batters he faced — all swinging.
In the Twins’ half of the inning, Max Kepler started with a walk, but Miguel Sano then fouled out to first and manager Rocco Baldelli then sent three straight pinch-hitters to the plate. Jake Cave struck out on four pitches, Ryan Refsnyder singled to right and Nick Gordon bounced out to second with the tying run on second base.
In the eighth inning, the Twins loaded the bases with one out against reliever Codi Heuer, but left-hander Adam Morgan came in to face left-handed hitting Kepler and got him to pop up to right field. Cubs second baseman Matt Duffey made the catch running away but turned and fired a bullet to catcher Robinson Chirinos to easily nab Luis Arraez as he tried to score on the tag.