CLEVELAND — The Minnesota Twins won’t be full strength this weekend for their important series with Cleveland, but they got a little bit closer on Friday as both Max Kepler and Miguel Sano were cleared to play.
Nobody played much, however, after rain washed out Friday’s opener with the teams tied 2-2 in the middle of the third inning. The game was officially postponed so the score and stats to that point were similarly washed out.
The teams will start over in a split doubleheader Saturday, with the games set for 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Before the rains fell, Kepler, Sano, Jake Cave and Marwin Gonzalez all took pregame batting practice, after which the Twins finalized their lineup for their game against the Indians. The Twins, who got in in the early hours of Friday morning after Thursday’s game against the Nationals, were waiting until after that group took BP to set their lineup.
Friday's game was halted by a lengthy rain delay in the third inning.
Kepler (shoulder) hasn’t played since Sept. 8 and Sano, sidelined with back pain, had last played on Sept. 7. While Cave (groin) and Gonzalez (abdomen/oblique) remain out, they are both moving closer to their returns. Gonzalez has been out since Aug. 27, and manager Rocco Baldelli said he has been picking up his intensity lately.
“A lot of guys haven’t dealt with injuries like this at any point in their careers, and then when they do there’s a confidence hurdle that you have to kind of get over because you can’t do the things that you have always done without feeling this very unusual feeling or pain,” Baldelli said. “Marwin’s feeling a lot better. We’re getting closer to that confidence question.”
One guy who won’t return soon? Ehire Adrianza.
Adrianza, who strained his oblique on Thursday, did not travel with the team to Cleveland and Baldelli said he was not expecting him to be back anytime soon.
“He’s going to have to rest for a period of time. We’ve seen how these core muscle injuries play out, and they’re not the easiest injuries to come back from and you can’t play with them,” Baldelli said. It has nothing to do with gutting it out. You can’t play when you tear or pull or strain one of these muscles, so I wouldn’t anticipate in him playing in any games anytime soon.”
The Twins have not announced a starter for Saturday’s game, though they are likely to have a bullpen day. They have used Randy Dobnak to begin the game twice this month before turning to Lewis Thorpe and Devin Smeltzer for lengthier outings. … Baldelli said Sam Dyson was planning on playing catch over the next couple of days.
Nationals rip Twins
Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto each homered and drove in three runs, and Adam Eaton and Yan Gomes also hit home runs to lead the Washington Nationals to a 12-6 victory over the Minnesota Twins in the rubber match of their three-game series Thursday in Minneapolis.
Rendon also doubled, walked twice and scored two runs, and Asdrubal Cabrera tripled and drove in two runs for Washington (81-64), which extended its lead for the first wild card in the National League to 3 1/2 games over the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers.
Patrick Corbin (12-7) picked up the win, allowing three runs on nine hits over six innings.
Jonathan Schoop homered and had three hits, and Nelson Cruz went 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs for Minnesota (89-57), which saw its American League Central Division lead shrink to 3 1/2 games over Cleveland. The Twins open a three-game series with the Indians on Friday night in Cleveland.
Kyle Gibson (13-7) took the loss, allowing six runs (five earned) on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings. He walked four and struck out five.