Opponent: Baltimore Orioles
Starting Pitcher: Duensing, Baker and Slowey
Final Score: L 3-2, W 7-2, and W 10-4
Recap: My apologies for not posting anything this weekend and for combining them all into one entry. I had to work this weekend, and more importantly my internet wasn't working on Friday and Saturday. Anyway, there's really no better medicine for a team than playing the Orioles. The struggling starting pitchers looked good, the offense was on fire (for the most part), and we came away with the series victory.
Friday was the only game we lost. Duensing made his first start of the season and delivered 5 strong innings with just 1 earned run. He was on a pitch count, which led to him being pulled after the 5th inning. The Twins had taken a 2-run lead after a homer by Mauer. There were a couple of balls that made it to the warning track, but that home run ended up being the only offense the Twins got. Sadly the lead didn't last long. Slama came in to pitch the 6th and gave up a single and a home run to give the Orioles a lead they wouldn't relinquish. At least he got his first MLB run allowed, first MLB homer allowed, first blown save and first loss over all at once. The other unfortunate thing was Orlando Hudson, who strained an oblique hitting a fly ball.
Saturday proved a much better day for the team. Baker had a good start finally and went 7 innings with 2 earned runs. He would have had another run at least, but he was saved by a great catch by Span, reached over the outfield wall to pull back a home run. The Orioles again took a 1-run lead off a 2-run home run, but this time we came back. Everything just seemed to fall into place for the Twins during this game. We did some running, including a stolen base by J.J. Hardy (my guess is Punto missed a hit-and-run sign, but damn was that funny), we had some nice defensive plays, and there were some great offensive performances. Skinny Delmon went 4 for 4 with a home run and 3 RBIs. It's kind of insane how good he is right now. Sure it took 2 years, but he's really carried the team this month. Valencia had 3 hits in the game.
Sunday turned into a bit of a romp for the Twins despite an early Orioles lead. The Baltimore starter was getting into all kind's of trouble. Right from the start the Twins were hitting everything hard. He was lucky enough to escape the first 2 innings unscathed (Can you be scathed? Just wondering.). The luck ran out in the 3rd when, after hitting Repko, allowing a single to Casilla, and walking Thome, Jason Kubel crushed a ball into right for his 2nd grand slam of the season. It wasn't quite as exciting as the late inning come-from-behind grand slam against Rivera (by a long shot), but it was impressive. It came with 2 outs in the inning, and the Orioles came close a couple of times to doubling off Casilla on some line drives. After that the Twins continued tacking on runs. Young, Thome and Repko all hit solo home runs in the game. Slowey took a big step forward with his pitching performance. He sailed through 6 innings but was done in by a rain delay. It was probably good to have him end positively to give him some confidence in his next start. I do the same thing when I'm training my dog. It was going pretty well until Blackburn made his appearance. He got through the 8th okay, but he really struggled in the 9th and gave up 3 earned runs. Apparently Bullpen Blackburn has not figured things out yet.
Best Moment: Mauer's home run on Friday. Denard Span's home-run-robbing catch, Skinny Delmon's outfield assist and J.J. Hardy accidentally stealing a base on Saturday. Jason Kubel's grand slam on Sunday.
Most Questionable Moment: On Friday, I would say pulling Duensing after the 5th, but I actually didn't have a problem with that since he still needs to be stretched out. Or I would say putting in Slama to protect the 1-run lead, but we had 4 innings left to pitch and I'm not sure who else would have been a better choice. So I'll go with nothing. On Saturday, the child wearing the Orioles hat with the TC logo painted on his chest. Poor, poor confused boy. Someone needs to straighten him out. On Sunday, the whole lineup, but especially batting Repko and Casilla first and second. I'm not trying to question Gardy's judgment (okay, maybe I am), but what was up with that?
Worst Moment: Orlando Hudson getting hurt, Baker giving up a 2-run homer, and Blackburn continuing to suck on Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively.
Quotations of the Day:
- "It just blows out hot air. A lot like you, Dick." - Bert Blyleven, comparing Dick Bremer to a fan in the Twins dugout.
- "Right now, it looks like if [Skinny Delmon] can reach it, it's a base hit." - Orioles manager Juan Samuel on trying to pitch to Delmon Young.
Suck-Ass Performance of the Game: Anthony Slama (1.0 innings pitched, 3 hits, 1 home run, 2 earned runs, 1 blown save, 1 loss) on Friday, Jason Kubel (0 for 5, 2 strikeouts, 1 GIDP, 6 left on base) on Saturday, and Michael Cuddyer (1 for 6, 1 strikeout, 8 left on base) and Nick Blackburn (2.0 innings pitched, 5 hits, 3 earned runs) on Sunday.