Twins’ Sonny Gray loses control, lead in fifth inning of 7-6 loss to Mariners

18 July 2023

SEATTLE — After sweeping the A’s over the weekend in Oakland, the Twins had a chance to win their fourth consecutive game for the second time this season, and first since April 11-14, on Monday at T-Mobile Park.

The Mariners had other ideas.

Twins starter Sonny Gray started the fifth inning with a 2-0 lead and just 45 pitches on his scorecard. But the right-hander lost his command, walking two batters and hitting another, as Seattle scored four before holding on for a 7-6 victory in front of 25,770.

With Cleveland’s 11-0 victory at Pittsburgh, the Twins’ lead in the American League Central was trimmed to 1½ games.

The Twins made it interesting in the ninth against right-hander Ty Adcock, who started the night with an 0.69 earned-run average. Edouard Julien hit a one-out single and, after Byron Buxton’s third strikeout, Donovan Solano singled to right to bring up Max Kepler.

Kepler hammered a drive into the right-field bleachers to cut the Twins’ deficit to 7-6. But Paul Sewald relieved and got Ryan Jeffers looking for the final out.

Joey Gallo pulled the Twins to within 4-3 with a two-out solo home run off Mariners left-hander Gabe Speier, but Gray came back to the sixth inning and walked leadoff hitter Cal Raleigh on four pitches, then sent him home with a two-out wild pitch.

Manager Rocco Baldelli pulled Gray and replaced him with Oliver Ortega, who struck out Jose Caballero to end the inning, then retired the Mariners’ first two batters in the seventh, but the right-hander allowed a single to Jarred Kelenic and — after Kelenic stole second — a home run to Eugenio Suarez.

The Twins took a two-run lead in the third inning when No. 9 hitter Michael A. Taylor doubled off starter Logan Gilbert and came home on Carlos Correa’s double into left field. Julien then singled Correa to third, and Alex Kirilloff brought the shortstop home with a sacrifice fly to right field.

Gray (4-4) was baseball’s best starter in April, going 4-0 with a 0.77 earned-run average in six starts. He had given up 25 hits and fanned 41 in 35 innings pitched. Gray earned a spot on the AL All-Star team, but since the calendar turned to May, he is 0-4 with a 4.49 ERA in 70⅓ innings with 68 hits and 65 strikeouts.

Julien, a rookie, was 3 for 4 with a walk and a run scored for Minnesota.

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