Sandy Alcantara twirls complete-game gem as Marlins-Twins finishes in less than two hours

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The Miami Marlins on Tuesday evening handed the Minnesota Twins their first loss of the 2023 season with a 1-0 victory. Central to that outcome was Miami ace and reigning National League Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara, who pitched a complete-game shutout in his second start of 2023. His line for the night: 

The 27-year-old Alcantara is a bit of a throwback hurler in terms of stamina and his capacity to work deeply into games. Last season, he led the majors in innings, complete games (his six complete games were more than any other team had in 2022), shutouts, and batters faced. Based on Tuesday night’s gem, he’s showing no signs of letting up. 

Speaking of Tuesday night, it marked his fourth career shutout, and he needed just 100 pitches to achieve it. Of those 100 pitches, 68 went for strikes. He’s also the first pitcher since 2018 to pitch a complete game within his team’s first six games of the season. Alcantara retired 11 in a row to start the game and allowed just four base-runners all night. 

Also of note is that this game was completed in less than two hours — 1:57, to be exact, which makes it the shortest of the 2023 season so far. That, suffice it to say, doesn’t often happen, particularly in contemporary times.

For instance, as Phil Miller notes, the Twins haven’t played a sub-two-hour game since 2010. Largely, this is the result of the new pitch clock in MLB, which thus far has helped shave roughly 30 minutes off the average game length relative to this juncture of the 2022 schedule. You get this kind of swiftness when the new pitch clock teams up with an in-the-zone Alcantara (and some good pitching on the Minnesota side). Given all that, it seems likely this won’t be the last time that Alcantara does the heavy lifting in a sub-two-hour contest. 

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