DENVER – Josh Winder only retired one of the three batters he faced in Sunday's All-Star Futures Game, but the fact that he pitched at all was a positive sign for the Twins.
Winder, the Twins' lone representative in the annual game pitting the top prospects in the minor leagues, threw 12 pitches, one of which cleared the center field wall after being belted by Brennen Davis, a Cubs outfield prospect who hit two homers during the National League's 8-3 victory to earn the MVP Award. But coming just four days after Winder was hit in the neck by a line drive while pitching for the Class AAA St. Paul Saints, nobody was complaining about giving up a run.
The NL team hit five homers in the game, victimized a pitching staff being managed by Twins broadcaster LaTroy Hawkins, who allowed only seven Coors Field homers in 91 appearances in this high-altitude ballpark. In addition to Davis' two homers, the Reds' Jose Barrero, the Mets' Francisco Alvarez and the Rockies' Michael Toglia also went deep as the NL built an 8-0 lead before the AL rallied in the seventh (and final) inning.
Jeter Downs of the Red Sox hit a two-run double and Blue Jays' prospect Austin Martin singled home another to close out the scoring.
Winder, who posted a 1.98 ERA in with 65 strikeouts 10 starts for Class AA Wichita during May and June before being promoted to St. Paul, rebounded from Davis' leadoff homer in the fourth inning to retire another Rockies player, Ryan Vilade, on a grounder to third. And his final hitter, Phillies infield prospect Bryson Stott, struck out on an 89-mph changeup that bounced away from catcher Adley Rutchman of the Orioles, allowing Stott to reach base.
Winder, a seventh-round pick in the 2018 draft, threw nine strikes in his brief appearance, three times hitting 96 mph with his fastball — including the one in the middle of the strike zone that Davis pounced on.