Devin Smeltzer’s meditation routine kept him calm on the way to his first major league win.
Smeltzer pitched two-hit ball into the seventh inning, and the Minnesota Twins completed a three-game sweep by blanking the Kansas City Royals 3-0 on Sunday.
Jason Castro homered and Eddie Rosario drove in two runs for the Twins, who maintained their three-game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central. Luis Arraez had two hits and scored twice.
Making his third career start in the middle of a pennant race, Smeltzer looked calm as he efficiently worked his way through the Royals’ lineup.
That’s a good sign for the Twins, who are dealing with some injuries with their pitching staff. Michael Pineda is out with a right triceps strain, and newly acquired reliever Sam Dyson was added to the injured list Sunday morning with right biceps tendinitis.
That cleared the path for Smeltzer’s promotion, giving originally scheduled starter Jake Odorizzi an extra day off.
Baldelli stopped short of saying how exactly Smeltzer would be used. Smeltzer wasn’t complaining, though.
Smeltzer, who likes to meditate on the field before games, struck out four and walked one on 90 pitches. He started the seventh but was replaced by Tyler Duffey after issuing a leadoff walk to Alex Gordon. Duffey struck out Hunter Dozier and Jorge Soler, and Castro cut down Gordon attempting to steal second.
Rosario tacked on an RBI single in the eighth to give the Twins some cushion.
Sergio Romo pitched a scoreless eighth for Minnesota, and Taylor Rogers finished the two-hitter for his 17th save in 23 chances