CHICAGO — Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez both make their home in New York — Rizzo as a Yankee, Báez as a Met. Craig Kimbrel pitches on the other side of Chicago these days for the White Sox. Kris Bryant is headed to the playoffs as a Giant.
Nelson Cruz will enjoy a trip to the playoffs this year as a Ray, and José Berríos is hoping his Blue Jays make it.
The late July sell-off for both the Cubs and the Twins of some of their biggest and best names left Tuesday’s late-September matchup with little intrigue. These days, the fifth-place Twins and fourth-place Cubs are just trying to stave off 90 losses.
The Cubs inched a little closer to the dreaded number on Tuesday, falling 9-5 to the Twins in the series opener at Wrigley Field in a game that lasted four hours and five minutes.
That’s what tends to happen when you collect 16 hits, as the Twins (66-85) did. Nearly everyone got in on the action, except for Jorge Polanco, who uncharacteristically struck out four times as part of an 0 for 6 day against the Cubs (67-84).
But that hardly mattered, because his teammates more than picked up the slack. Mitch Garver, in his first game back from the injured list, had three hits, as did Josh Donaldson, Max Kepler and Nick Gordon. The latter three each drove in two runs. Gordon’s opposite field two-run home run broke open a tie game in the fourth inning, giving the Twins a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Starter Griffin Jax went three innings, giving up three runs before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the top of the fourth. Jax gave up a pair of home runs — he has now surrendered 21, tying him with former Twin J.A. Happ for the team lead. After his departure, the Twins used six different relievers to cover the remaining six innings.