Thursday, April 23, 2009

Games #16-17 - Sweep (And Not the Good Kind)

The Twins were man-handled by Boston in a day-night double header Wednesday, losing 10-1 and 7-3.

In the first game, Scott Baker was victimized by the 2-run homer, surrendering bombs to Kevin Youkilis, Nick Green, and Mike Lowell in the first 3 innings. Baker has now given up 7 homers in 8.2 innings pitched yesterday. His final line: 4.2 IP, 10 H, 6 R. Juan Morillo also struggled in his second Twins outing, facing 4 batters in the 6th inning, walking 3, giving up 1 hit, and giving up 4 runs without recording an out. The Twins managed just 5 hits in the first game, but 3 were doubles (Nick Punto, Carlos Gomez, Denard Span), and Justin Morneau picked up the only RBI.

The afternoon game was played under the threat of rain, and the skies eventually broke, allowing the umpires to call the game after 7 innings and the Sox leading 10-1. On ESPN's "Baseball Tonight" Wednesday, analyst Steve Phillips was wild that the teams were not forced to complete the game, especially given that the night game was eventually started and completed. He argued that the Red Sox and Twins should have been forced to use pitchers to complete the first game before game two was to be started to preserve the integrity of the game. I tend to agree, but the Sox' 4-run outburst in the 7th sealed the Twins' fate in that game, and the umpires did the Twins a favor.

In the second game, the Twins were undone by starter Francisco Liriano's inability to throw strikes. Liriano walked 4 batters in just 4 innings of work, and gave up 7 runs in his effort, dropping to 0-4 on the season. Jeff Bailey's 3-run shot in the bottom of the 2nd set the tone for Boston. The Twins' bullpen stopped the bleeding after the team's second-consecutive short start, throwing 4 scoreless innings (Matt Guerrier for 2; Luis Ayala and Jose Mijares 1 apiece).

Justin Morneau homered and was one of 2 Twins with 2 hits on the game (Span being the other). The team was 0-5 with runners in scoring position.

The Twins have an off-day on Thursday and move to Cleveland for a weekend series with the Tribe. Pitching match-ups are as follows, as the Twins say good riddance to Boston for their only trip in 2009:
  • Friday, 6:05pm - Nick Blackburn (0-1) vs. Fausto Carmona (1-2)
  • Saturday, 6:05pm - Kevin Slowey (2-0) vs. Carl Pavano (0-2)
  • Sunday, 12:05pm - Glen Perkins (1-1) vs. Aaron Laffey (1-0)

Elsewhere in the AL Central:

  • Chicago White Sox 8, Baltimore 2 - A 12-hit attack paced Chicago. Chris Getz and Josh Fields had 3 hits apiece for the Sox, and Fields and Jim Thome each went deep. John Danks continued his fine start, giving up just 4 hits and 1 run in 7 innings of work. Danks improved to 2-0 on the season and lowered his ERA to 0.95.
  • Kansas City 2, Cleveland 0 - The Royals continued to get great starting pitching in 2009 with a shutout of the Indians. Brian Bannister, newly-recalled from Omaha, went 6 innings and allowed just 4 hits. Jamey Wright and Joakim Soria finished up, with Soria picking up his 5th save. Coco Crisp and Alberto Callaspo each had 2 hits for Kansas City; Victor Martinez had the only multi-hit game for the Indians, raising his average to .403. Cliff Lee was strong in a losing effort, going 8 innings and surrendering 9 hits and 2 runs.
  • Detroit 12, Los Angeles Angels 10 - A wild one in which the Tigers and Angels combine for 22 runs and 34 hits saw the Tigers pick up the victory. Curtis Granderson, Magglio Ordonez, Brandon Inge, and Adam Everett each had 3 hits, and Granderson and Inge each hit their 5th homers of the season. Justin Verlander got smacked around again, giving up 9 hits and 7 runs in 5 innings of work. However, the Detroit bats picked their starter up in this game.

Around the Minors:

  • AAA - Pawtucket 8, Rochester 7 (11 innings) - The Paw Sox scored 5 runs in the bottom of the 9th to force extra innings, and won it in the 11th. Ben Julianel and Armando Gabino could not hold the lead in the 9th, and the solid effort from Kevin Mulvey, Bobby Keppel, and Sean Henn went for naught. Trevor Plouffe and Matt Macri each homered for Rochester, and Jason Pridie and Luke Hughes each had 2 hits.
  • AA - New Britain 6, Portland 4 - Matt Moses and Rene Tosoni each homered for the Rock Cats, and Moses, Whit Robins, and Brian Dinkelman each had 2 hits. Jay Rainville started and won, going the first 5 innings and giving up 3 runs and 6 hits. The lights-out back of the bullpen of Rob Delaney and Anthony Slama finished up with win with 3.1 innings of scoreless work, punctuated by 5 strikeouts.
  • High A - Ft. Myers 6, Palm Beach 1 - The Miracle picked up strong pitching from David Bromberg (6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, Win), Spencer Steedley (2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 K), and Santos Arias (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, Save) to pick up the win. D.J. Romero had 2 hits (including a double) and an RBI in the game.
  • Low A - Quad Cities 4, Beloit 2 - The Snappers surrendered 13 hits to Quad Cities in their loss. Dan Osterbrock started and gave up 11 hits and 4 runs in his 6 innings of work. The Snappers managed just 5 hits of their own, all singles except for Adam Severino's double.

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