ST. LOUIS — Luis Arraez said he was ready to play again five days ago, but by rule, he couldn't come off the injured list until Saturday. "I'm so bored inside," Arraez said. "I talked to Rocco [Baldelli] and said, 'I need to play.' "
He got his wish Saturday. It wasn't boring in the least.
Arraez, playing for the first time since wrenching his right knee 10 days ago and batting cleanup for the first time in two years, drove home the Twins' first run with a sacrifice fly, and another one with a double. Ryan Jeffers homered for the third time in his last five at-bats, a three-run shot, and the Twins snapped their three-game losing streak with an 8-1 victory over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
Bailey Ober wasn't credited with the victory for his four-inning performance, but he enjoyed about as perfect an inning as a rookie pitcher can imagine in the second inning. Ober, batting for the first time since high school nearly a decade ago, looped a 2-2 sinker from St. Louis starter Jake Woodford into right field for his first career hit, then struck out the side in the bottom of the inning.
Over allowed four singles, a walk and one run in four innings before being lifted — by a manager apparently unmoved by his success at the plate — for a pinch-hitter. Hard to argue with the strategy, given that the substitute, Willians Astudillo, lined a two-out single to drive in an insurance run, and the Twins' bullpen finished off the game with five scoreless innings.
The Twins battered Woodford for seven runs in three innings, with Jeffers' homer to straightaway center the big blow. Andrew Miller pitched 1 2/3 innings for the Cardinals, and extended a five-year-old scoreless streak against Minnesota. Miller has pitched 20 consecutive shutout innings against the Twins, dating back almost precisely five years; the Twins' last run against the lefthander came on Aug. 1, 2016, when Joe Mauer spoiled Miller's Cleveland debut with a home run.