April 12, 2013: Early Offense Buries Twins

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Date: April 12, 2013
Mets starter: Jonathon Niese
Mets: 16
Twins: 5
Winning pitcher: Jonathon Niese
Key player(s): David Wright, John Buck, Daniel Murphy
Key play: Wright’s double, Buck’s grand slam, Murphy’s three-run double

The Mets faced the Twins on a Friday night in Minneapolis. The teams played the opener of a three-game series at Target Field. The Mets scored five runs in each of the first two innings and rolled to a 16-5 win over Minnesota.

Jordany Valdespin singled against Twins’ starter Vance Worley to lead off the top of the first. Daniel Murphy followed with a double to advance Valdespin to third base. David Wright doubled to bring home Valdespin and Murphy with the first two runs of the game. Ike Davis drew a walk and Wright scored as John Buck reached second on a fielder’s choice ground ball. Lucas Duda went down on strikes and Marlon Byrd singled to plate Davis and Buck for a five-run Mets lead. Worley then got Mike Baxter to pop out to third baseman Trevor Plouffe and retired Ruben Tejada on a fly ball to center fielder Aaron Hicks to finish off the inning.

Hicks drew a walk against Mets’ starter Jonathon Niese to begin the bottom of the first. Hicks moved to third base on a double by Joe Mauer and scored on Josh Willingham’s ground out to shortstop Tejada. Justin Morneau was retired on a fly ball to left fielder Baxter. Ryan Doumit was hit by a pitch and Plouffe singled to drive home Mauer with the second Minnesota run. Niese then got Wilkin Ramirez to ground out to third baseman Wright and end the inning.

Valdespin and Murphy got back-to-back singles against Worley to open the top of the second. Wright singled to drive home Valdespin and a walk to Davis loaded the bases. Buck followed with a grand slam against Twins’ reliever Pedro Hernandez to increase the Mets’ lead to 10-2. Duda grounded out to second baseman Brian Dozier and a triple by Byrd ensued. Hernandez got Baxter to ground out to Dozier and retired Tejada on an inning-ending fly ball to Hicks. Niese then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

After scoreless third and fourth innings, Hernandez shut down the Mets in the top of the fifth. Hicks reached on an error by Tejada to lead off the bottom of the inning. Mauer drew a walk and Willingham flied out to Baxter. Morneau hit a double that plated Hicks and moved Mauer to third base. Doumit singled to score Mauer and Morneau, reducing the Mets’ lead to 10-5. Niese then retired Plouffe on a fly ball to Baxter and got Ramirez to hit a force play grounder to Tejada for the inning’s final out.

Hernandez and Minnesota reliever Ryan Pressly combined for a scoreless top of the sixth. New York’s Scott Atchison hurled a perfect bottom half and Duda drew a leadoff walk in the top of the seventh. Byrd popped out to first baseman Morneau and an error by shortstop Pedro Florimon allowed Baxter to reach base. Tejada flied out to right fielder Ramirez and a walk to Valdespin loaded the bases. Murphy hit a double that brought home Duda, Baxter and Valdespin. Daniel scored on Wright’s ensuing triple for a 14-5 Mets lead. Pressly struck out Davis to end the inning. Atchison then gave up just a single to Mauer in the bottom half.

Twins’ reliever Brian Duensing set down the side in order in the top of the eighth. For the Mets, reliever Greg Burke pitched a perfect bottom of the inning. Baxter singled against Minnesota’s Glen Perkins to begin the top of the ninth. Tejada hit a double to advance Baxter to third base. Valdespin grounded out to Florimon to drive home Baxter and send Tejada to third. Ruben came home with the Mets’ sixteenth run on a sacrifice fly by Murphy. Perkins then issued a walk to Wright and retired Davis on a fly ball to Ramirez that ended the inning.

Mets’ reliever Aaron Laffey got Florimon on a ground ball to third baseman Wright to start the bottom of the ninth. Hicks was called out on strikes. Laffey then retired pinch-hitter Eduardo Escobar on a fly ball to Baxter for the final out of the game. The Mets had a solid victory to open the weekend interleague series.