A Tentative Victory
Hooray! The Twins are back in the win column! Of course, they couldn’t just put the game away after jumping out to a 6-1 lead, but at this point I guess a win is a win.
In the fifth inning, with the game tied at 1-1, the Twins did what they should do against the perpetually average Paul Byrd…rough him up a little. Morneau and Cuddyer doubled home runs, while Kubel went deep to center field, and by the end of the inning the Twins had a 6-1 lead.
Yet, as has been Twins baseball recently, that lead was not safe. After six strong innings, starter Blackburn was pulled for Boof Bonser. In what must have come as no surprise to fellow Twins fans, Boof got into trouble right away, putting two Indians on base. Then, Reyes trotted in from the bullpen and proceeded to allow a three-run homer to Grady Sizemore. The lead was now a slim 6-5, and Twins fans had that “oh no, not again feeling”…again.
The pleasant surprise of the night, though, was Jesse Crain pitching a solid inning of relief in a pressure situation (something that hasn’t happened for quite awhile). Besides the fact that he can never quickly put a batter away (but that has always been Crain), he looked sharp. A good step in the right direction.
Because of that strong outing from Crain, the Twins were able to hold the lead and even add two more runs in the ninth, giving closer Joe Nathan a 8-5 lead to do this thing, which he did almost flawlessly as usual. Before tonight, it seemed like Nathan had been cooped up in the pen forever, so it was nice to see his domination over opposing batters once again.
The Twins also played strong defense tonight, which is something that MUST continue into the future. All the routine plays were made (the most important thing), and even a great one was turned in by Cuddyer in right with his diving sprawl.
Thus, despite the Bonser/Reyes hiccup, the Twins played a solid game tonight, something that has not been said since the calendar turned to June. Plus, they gained a game on the White Sox!
Preview (31-34, 5.5 GB CWS): Tomorrow night (yes, a rare Thursday night game) the Fat Man (6-3, 5.32) will take the mound armed with his scintillating repertoire of…junk, while Aaron Laffey-Taffey (too funny not to!) (3-3, 2.98) will start for Cleveland. The way the Indians have been struggling to score runs of late, even Livan should be able to shut them down. Thus, all the Twins should need to do is scratch out 3-4 runs to win this contest and secure a much-needed series victory over someone!