Twins 3, Padres 1

Twins win in dramatic fasion.

Jake Peavy and Kevin Slowey each pitched like legends on Tuesday night in San Diego.  Peavy, a Cy Young award winner and still just 27, was incredible through six innings.  He struck out six, walked one and was touched for only one run--off Michael Cuddyer's run-scoring single in the first inning.  The San Diego ace can be nasty, and he was near the top of his game for six innings.

But Slowey was better.  Throwing only 92 pitches and striking out seven, walking none, and scattering four hits, Padre hitters fell away from him time after time.  It was arguably Kevin's strongest performance of the season, matching up against an 8-inning 2-run start on June 13th and a complete game 1-run outing on May 29th.  Whatever the case may be, his second year with the Twins is measuring up pretty well against his first:


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP

2007 - Kevin Slowey

2008 - Kevin Slowey

4-1

4-6

13

11

11

11

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

66.2

63.2

82

63

39

28

35

28

16

10

11

9

47

46

4.73

3.96

1.40

1.13


While the Padres managed to tie the game in the 7th inning off Jesse Crain, the Minnesota offense had been stymied.  Drawn at 1-1 into the top of the 9th, Trevor Hoffman had retired both Cuddyer and Jason Kubel on strikeouts.  On both occasions he set the hitters up with fastballs, and finished them off with his not-as-devastating-as-it-used-to-be-but-still-pretty-dangerous changeup.  According to Kelly Theiser over at MLB.com, the next hitter Brendan Harris had noticed:

"I was just looking for a fastball," Harris said. "I saw he got ahead of the first two guys with fastballs and just went right into the changeup. I was just hoping I would get it and put it into play and not have to hit the changeup."

Looking fastball, Harris was aggressive and went after Hoffman's first pitch.  It was the fastball he was looking for, high and right over the plate.  Harris turned and make excellent contact...and the ball landed in the left field seats.  In his first plate appearance versus future Hall of Fame pitcher Trevor Hoffman, Brendan Harris took him deep on the first pitch.  The solo shot gave the Twins a 2-1 lead.

Hall of Fame pitcher, first plate appearance ever, first pitch fastball, home run...a formula so simple, Brian Buscher repeated it immediately.  Hoffman's fastball came in just above the knees, and Buscher turned on it, yanking a line-drive home run just over the right field wall.  With a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the ninth, Joe Nathan came on and converted his 20th save of the season.

It was an unorthodox win for a power-starved team, but when you ride a winning streak it seems like all the bounces and all the luck go your way.  That was certainly the case on Tuesday, as Minnesota picked up its seveth straight victory.  The Twins are 9-1 in their last 10, and have picked up four games on the White Sox in that stretch.

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