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Minnesota Twins’ J.A. Happ shuts down Pirates to end skid

Apr 23, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher J.A. Happ (33) pitches to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 23, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher J.A. Happ (33) pitches to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Twins left-hander J.A. Happ threw 7 1/3 no-hit innings Friday in a 2-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in Minneapolis.

Happ (1-0), in his 301st career start, allowed three baserunners, two on walks and one a double by Jacob Stallings to break up the no-hit bid. He threw a season-high 95 pitches.

Tyler Duffey pitched a scoreless inning, and Taylor Rogers got the final two outs to sew up the shutout on a combined one-hitter. Rogers picked up his first save.

Willians Astudillo and Jake Cave hit solo homers for the Twins, who had lost four in a row and nine of their previous 10 games.

Pittsburgh starter JT Brubaker (2-1) had a solid night, giving up two runs and five hits in seven innings, with no walks and five strikeouts, but of course he didn’t match Happ.

Happ walked Erik Gonzalez and Stallings in the second, then mostly cruised into the eighth.

Happ previously in his career twice had gone 4 2/3 innings before giving up a hit, according to AT&T Sportsnet.

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That’s almost how it worked out this time. With two outs in the fifth, Pittsburgh’s Wilmer Difo hit a chopper back to and off of Happ, who bobbled it momentarily before throwing to first.

Difo beat the throw, but he was ruled out for running out of the base path, something that he protested. However, the play is not open to a challenge, and Happ’s no-hit bid was alive through five.

With two outs in the third, Astudillo hit his first homer of the season, to left off a pitch nearly up to the level of his chin, for a 1-0 Minnesota lead.

In the fifth, Cave also picked up his first homer, also to left, to make it 2-0.

After Stallings’ double to left with one out in the eighth broke up the no-hitter, and also ended Stallings’ 0-for-19 drought at the plate, Happ was lifted for Duffey.

Duffey walked Difo, and Kevin Newman’s groundout advanced the runners to second and third. Duffey then struck out Adam Frazier to keep the shutout intact.

–Field Level Media