Twins open Target Field with college game

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The Twins opened brand new Target Field Saturday with a college game between the University of Minnesota and Louisiana Tech.

More than 37,757 showed up to take in the new ballpark, which features a massive fire pit in left field and several in-stadium bars and restaurants.  Stuart Groskreutz wrote a review of the place for the Stillwater Gazette last week and there’s a picture of today’s action available on SBNation’s Twinkie Town.

The Twins are hoping the new park, which looks like it could be a real gem, will provide enough revenue to justify the massive eight-year, $184 million contract extension that was handed to catcher Joe Mauer last weekend.  So far, so good. 

“The number one word we heard from people today was, ‘incredible,”‘
Twins spokesperson Kevin Smith told the Associated Press Saturday.

Oh, and for those interested in such things, Louisiana Tech won Saturday’s game 9-1.

Astros’ bullpen throws combined one-hitter for MLB-best 30th win

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The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.

Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.

The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.

After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.

Brandon Phillips hit his 200th career home run

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Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.

Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.