Minneapolis – When it happens once, you know, no big deal. It happens twice, in successive starts, very strange but not unprecedented.
But a third time? In eight starts? What the heck is going on?
Matthew Boyd gave up back-to-back home runs to the first two batters in the game Friday, something the White Sox did against him in successive starts last month. And though he gave up nothing the rest of the way, it was enough to beat him and the Tigers, as the Twins took the first of two games 2-0.
“Crazy, huh?” said Boyd, who ended up with his second straight quality start and second career complete game. “I don’t try to make sense out of it. You try to make sense out of it and that’s a rabbit hole I have been down early in my career.
“There’s no reason to. It’s just what have I done, how can I get better and go from there.”
Jorge Polanco hit a 3-2 change-up — a “pushed” change-up, Boyd said — into the seats in left to start the game. Josh Donaldson followed, hitting a 91-mph fastball 441 feet clearing the berm in center field and landing in the Delta Sky Box that sits above the ivy-covered wall.
“The first two hitters, I started worrying about things I shouldn’t have been worrying about, instead of just attacking the glove,” Boyd said. “We made that adjustment, but unfortunately, those two runs cost us a ballgame.”
BOX SCORE: Twins 2, Tigers 0
It was the 13th and 14th home runs Boyd has allowed at Target Field in 10 starts, the most he’s given up in any park except Comerica.
The thing about it, though, the homers ended up being the only blemishes on Boyd’s day. He settled in and gave up just one hit after the first inning. He ended up going six innings with eight strikeouts and 16 swings-and-misses.
Seven of those whiffs were with his change-up.
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“We were using everything,” Boyd said. “We got strikeouts with all my pitches. Romey (catcher Austin Romine) called a great game.”
The Tigers’ offense, which scored six runs on 12 hits against right-hander Randy Dobnak six days ago, couldn’t touch him Friday. He blanked the Tigers on four hits over five innings.
Reliever Tyler Duffey struck out two in a clean sixth inning. Lefty Taylor Rogers gave up a leadoff single to Jeimer Candelario in the seventh, but stranded him there by striking out Travis Demeritte to end the game.