Schwindel homers, Cubs shut down Twins hitters in 3-0 win

Sep 1, 2021, 8:07 AM | Updated: 9:27 pm

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Frank Schwindel hit a three-run homer and a pair of Chicago Cubs pitchers combined on a two-hitter in a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night.

Justin Steele (3-2) won for the first time since joining the Cubs’ rotation on Aug. 10. The rookie left-hander gave up one hit, walked three and struck out three over five innings, lowering his ERA to 3.48.

“Of all the starts I’ve had in the big leagues, tonight was the best night as far as commanding both my two-seam and my four-seam (fastball),” Steele said. “Having both of them just makes everything else better.”

Adbert Alzolay, just back from the injured list, worked the final four innings to earn his first career save. He allowed one hit and struck out five.

“He was in control the whole time. Really under no stress,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “No walks, attacked hitters, pounded the strike zone. … They put the ball on the ground or punched out.”

Schwindel’s drive in the third was all the Cubs mustered against U.S. Olympic pitcher Joe Ryan (0-1), making his major league debut for the Twins.

Ryan retired the first six batters he faced, but ran into trouble in the third. After issuing a leadoff walk to Alfonso Rivas, Ryan fanned Sergio Alcántara before Andrew Romine doubled to put runners on second and third. Rafael Ortega flied to short center for the second out, but Schwindel launched a three-run homer to left field.

Ryan retired the Cubs in order in each of his other four innings. He allowed three hits, walked one and struck out five in five innings.

A trio of Twins relievers blanked the Cubs the rest of the way.

CAPTAIN AMERICA

Ryan’s summer has been a bit of a whirlwind. He began the year in the Tampa Bay organization, but the Twins acquired him in the Nelson Cruz trade on July 22. Ryan was in Tokyo at the time, competing for Team USA in the Olympic Games. He allowed two earned runs over 10 1/3 innings in two Olympic starts, helping the United States to a sliver medal.

When he returned home, Ryan was assigned to Triple-A St. Paul, where he made two starts, striking out 17 and walking two in nine innings. Then he made the short trip across town to make his big league debut in front of a large contingent of friends and family at Target Field.

Through it all, Ryan appeared to be unflappable, as though it was just another start for him.

“I think the Olympics definitely prepared me for that, just the pressure of having a lot of adrenaline in a game again,” Ryan said. “I definitely felt that today, but I was able to control that a little bit better.”

Even when he got into trouble in the third inning, the rookie was able to diagnose the problem.

“It was just executing my pitches. I mis-executed a little bit too much in the third and got into some not-so-great counts, and was able to battle back from those a couple of times,” Ryan said. “And then, you’ve got to execute that pitch there and get the job done, whatever the plan is. But yeah, just staying on that a little bit more is the only thing that I was a little bit annoyed with myself by.

“It was amazing. It was a great experience. I loved it.”

MAEDA’S SEASON DONE

The Twins took a blow that will affect them not just the rest of this season but probably most of next year as well when right-hander Kenta Maeda had season-ending Tommy John surgery Wednesday in Dallas.

The 33-year-old right-hander from Japan was placed on the 10-day injured list Aug. 24 with right forearm tightness. Texas Rangers orthopedic surgeon Dr. Keith Meister performed the surgery.

Meister added an internal brace to the arm, a recent development in the Tommy John technique that could help speed the rate of recovery, which is traditionally at least a year. The Twins hope Maeda could return in 9-12 months.

“There are never any guarantees, but we are pretty good on the medical side with rehabbing this kind of injury and getting guys back to full health,” manager Rocco Baldelli said.

Maeda was the runner-up in AL Cy Young Award voting last season, when he went 6-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 11 starts. In 21 starts this season, he was 6-5 with a 4.66 ERA.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: INF Matt Duffy was scratched from the starting lineup due to right neck stiffness. … Alzolay and RHP Dillon Maples were activated from the 10-day injured list. Maples had been out since July 29 with a blister on his right middle finger. Alzolay went on the injured list Aug. 14 with a left hamstring strain.

UP NEXT

Cubs: RHP Keegan Thompson (3-3, 3.09 ERA) will be on the mound Thursday at Wrigley Field as the Cubs begin a four-game series with the Pirates. Thompson entered the rotation on Aug. 21 but has pitched just six innings over two starts.

Twins: RHP Randy Dobnak (1-6, 7.83 ERA) returns to the rotation as the Twins start a three-game set at Tampa Bay on Friday. Dobnak will be making his first appearance for Minnesota since June 19. He missed the past two months with a right middle finger strain.

___

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Michigan State players making deals in fall tunnel incident

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — At least four more Michigan State football players facing misdemeanor charges for a skirmish inside the Michigan Stadium tunnel will likely have their cases dismissed in exchange for community service and other conditions, lawyers said Friday. “It’s going to happen outside of court,” said Max Manoogian, an attorney for Angelo […]
2 days ago
Carolina Panthers head coach Steve Wilks watches during the first half an NFL football game between...
Associated Press

Column: Six Degrees of Wilks connects dots of NFL racism

Let’s play Six Degrees of Steve Wilks, a quick and easy way to connect the dots of racism in the NFL head coaching ranks. — We’ll start with Kliff Kingsbury, a white coach who was fired by Texas Tech in 2018 and somehow wound up as head man of the Arizona Cardinals the very next […]
2 days ago
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes stretches runs during an NFL football workout Thursd...
Associated Press

Chiefs’ Mahomes ready for AFC title game against Bengals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes finished a full week of practice on his ailing right ankle Friday, and Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid pronounced his All-Pro quarterback ready to go for the AFC championship game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Mahomes sustained a high ankle sprain in the first quarter of last week’s […]
2 days ago
Texas interim coach Rodney Terry signals to players during the first half of the team's NCAA colleg...
Associated Press

Rodney Terry constantly auditioning as Texas interim coach

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Every game the Texas Longhorns play feels like an audition for interim coach Rodney Terry. At some point, the school must decide if he deserves a callback. What would that take? A Big 12 championship? A deep run into the NCAA Tournament? Texas hasn’t won the league’s regular-season title or made […]
2 days ago
FILE - Carolina Panthers' Steve Wilks warms up wearing a T-shirt in support of Buffalo Bills player...
Associated Press

Wilks ‘disappointed, not defeated’ over Panthers snub

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Former Carolina Panthers interim head coach Steve Wilks is “disappointed, but not defeated” that he didn’t land the team’s full-time head coaching position. The Panthers announced on Thursday they’ve agreed to hire Frank Reich as their new head coach. “The sun rose this morning and by the grace of God so […]
2 days ago
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) celebrates his touchdown against the Jacksonville Ja...
Associated Press

4 of NFL’s best TEs on display in conference title games

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — When Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes headed up the tunnel inside Arrowhead Stadium to have X-rays taken on his sprained right ankle, and Chad Henne trotted onto the field in the second quarter of their divisional playoff game against Jacksonville, it was obvious who the backup quarterback was going to target. […]
2 days ago
Schwindel homers, Cubs shut down Twins hitters in 3-0 win