MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Rich Hill shot goalless five times in a smooth Minnesota debut, backed by Eddie Rosario and Nelson Cruz’s double RBI, and the Twins beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-0 on Wednesday night -market.
Alex Avila, another Minnesota rookie, had an RBI single. Taylor Rogers made a perfect ninth for his first defense, and the Twins finished a sweep in two games to improve to 4-1.
Currently the second oldest player in the national teams, Hill, 40, needed just 68 shots to get his first win in a team of twins who signed him this winter with the assumption that he would be ready in the summer after his recovery from elbow surgery. When the coronavirus pandemic interrupted baseball for four months, Hill was available for rotation immediately.
The left-handed curveball artist still had his start set back for four days just in case, and he was in good shape, allowing for two singles and a walk.
The Cardinals, after winning their first two games against Pittsburgh, scored four races in 15 hits in a three-game losing streak.
Daniel Ponce de Leon (0-1) scored eight over 3 2/3 times. He gave up two hits, three walks and all three runs as a replacement for Miles Mikolas, who was declared out of season by surgery on his forearm.
The twins, wearing the blue uniforms of the franchise they boasted for road games in the 1980s, improved their racing differential to over-16. The current champions of the Central Division of the American League lead the major leagues with 7.2 runs per game.
Only when Hill joined Cruz this season did the twins add two 40-year-old players to the squad on Matchday 1, and the last time they had a teammate at the same time was in 2004 with catcher Pat Borders and pitcher Terry Mulholland. Atlanta, with pitchers Bartolo Colon and RA Dickey in 2017, was the last major league team with more than 40 pairs.
No one in this virus-delayed season has a stronger start than Cruz, the second oldest active player in the major leagues behind Albert Pujols. Cruz was 7 for 13, with seven races, two doubles, three players and 10 RBIs in the opening series in Chicago. He leads the main courses with 11 RBIs.
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Four of the seven oldest baseball players were on Target Field for this series, with Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright and catcher Yadier Molina, both 38, on the fifth and tie for the sixth. Pujols, three times MVP of the National Cardinals League, is the oldest in the game. Pitcher Fernando Rodney, 43, would run over everyone if he signed with a club this summer.
Cardinals: Newcomer Rangel Ravelo, who had 39 bats last season, was DH for his season debut, with Matt Carpenter getting his first day of rest. Pinch of carpenter hit Ravelo in eighth.
Twins: CF Byron Buxton was kept as planned, as a precaution, after his season debut on Tuesday, two weeks after suffering a sprained left foot. … 1B Miguel Sanó, who is 1 for 14 with six strikeouts, was eliminated after the sixth inning.
Cardinals: After a day off on Thursday, the team’s second in four days, RHP Jack Flaherty takes the mound on Friday night to start a series of three games in Milwaukee. He was the winner at the opening of the season in St. Louis last week, allowing for two races over seven entries.
Twins: RHP José Berríos will start Thursday night against Cleveland, starting a series of four games. Berríos lasted four times in the first round, without a decision after five races in seven hits in the season’s opening victory in Minnesota.
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