Getting Their Smiles Back

Smile.jpgAfter getting the series with the Oakland A’s off on the wrong foot on Thursday night, the Twins turned the tables last night to the tune of a 12-2, pounding out 20 hits and knocking Oakland starter Meyer out of the game in the second inning by tagging him for six runs.

Starring offensively for the Twins (although everyone in the starting lineup besides Nick Punto recorded at least one hit) were Joe Mauer (5-6, 4 RBI, 1 R), Justin Morneau (4-5, 1 RBI, 2 R), Jason Kubel (2-4, 2 RBI 1 R), and Alexi Casilla (3-5, 1 RBI, 2 R).  There were no Twins home runs in the contest, but Morneau collected two doubles while Mauer and Kubel had one apiece.

Yet, in the middle of that offensive onslaught, one must not overlook the quality pitching performance of starter Kevin Slowey, who went six innings (and could have gone more if not for a long top of the seventh), allowing two earned runs and striking out ten.  Craig Breslow also didn’t disappoint in his mop-up appearance, picking up a three-inning save (the first of his career).

Notes:

-Slowey sure seems to have found his strikeout groove as of late.  Right now, if I had to pick a “playoff rotation order” (yeah, I know, that’s dangerous to do in August, but what the heck) I would go Baker, Liriano, Slowey, Perkins, and then Blackburn.

-Also, a word to all the “Negative Nancies” out there…settle down!  A few days ago, when the Twins dropped to a “full” two games behind the White Sox, I talked with many people who had written the Twins off, including even the Sportscenter guys judging from the way they talked about Minnesota.  Now, we are 0.5 games behind the Sox and everyone is jumping back on the bandwagon.  If being a Twins fan has taught you anything over the past decade (especially 2003 and 2006), it would have to be to never give up on our boys of summer until they are mathematically eliminated.

Preview (76-59, 2nd, 0.5 GB CWS): Francisco Liriano (4-3, 3.83) vs. Dallas Braden (4-3, 4.13). It’s the same old, same old for Cisco: low walk total + low general pitch count = victory.

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