Gomez leads Twins past Brewers

Carlos Gomez had three early hits to help lead the Twins to a comfortable win over the Brewers at Miller Park.

Gomez had hits in each of the first three innings, all on soft liners to right center. The hits resulted in two runs and two RBI. Joe Crede hit a three-run double and Delmon Young added an RBI double to contribute to a 7-3 win.

Francisco Liriano struggled to throw strikes, but still managed to get the win with a five-inning, 120-pitch outing. Liriano gave up three early runs but avoided further runs despite five walks and seven hits. Three relievers combined to hold the Brewers scoreless the rest of the way.

The Twins started the scoring in the first inning, taking advantage of a Brewer mistake to score three runs. With Brendan Harris and Gomez on first and second and two outs, Michael Cuddyer reached first on a strike out and wild pitch to load the bases. The pitch was a breaking ball in the dirt that bounced up and hit Brewer catcher Jason Kendall in a bad place--his glove--and bounded away. Crede then unloaded the bases with a double off the wall in left center.

The Twins were opportunistic all night when the Brewers made mistakes. With two outs in the second, Gomez took advantage of lackadaisical play by Brewers center fielder Mike Cameron to take an extra base and was rewarded with a run on Harris' single. In the third, JJ Hardy booted a double play grounder. Young then doubled in Cuddyer with Crede going to third. Apparently Crede is really laboring to run, as Scotty Ulger did not send him home despite Nick Punto and Liriano coming up. The Brewers predictably intentionally walked Punto (only in the NL). After a  strikeout of Liriano, Gomez made them pay for Hardy's mistake again with a liner into center for two more runs.

Liriano looked frustrated with the strike zone all night, glaring in on close pitches and displaying a droopy body language. Brewer hitters were content to wait for their pitch rather than swing ahead in the count. The result was six strikeouts (three looking) to go along with the five walks. the Brewers managed just three runs against Liriano despite getting at least two base runners on base in each of Liriano's five innings. Inning after inning, Liriano stranded two runners on strikeouts.

The strike zone was tight for both starters, against whom all the runs in this game were scored. Brewer control artist Jeff Suppan threw 97 pitches in five innings, uncharacteristically walking three and going to three balls on many of the Twins hitters. Suppan stomped around the mound after several close pitches were called balls. With competent defense, he would have escaped those five innings without allowing a run. He would have been out of the first if Kendall had come up with the ball cleanly on Cuddyer's strikeout. Likewise, Cameron played a Gomez single into a double, leading to the fourth run. And the three runs surrendered in the third were the direct result of Hardy's error.

As soon as the relievers entered, home plate Umpire Doug Eddings seemed to open up the zone, with only one walk surrendered by either team over the next four innings. What looked like a four-hour game in the making after five was completed in a little over three hours.

 

Studs

1. Carlos Gomez: He took a lot of breaking pitches just off the plate and consciously tried to shorten his swing and shoot it the other way with encouraging results. Hopefully he turns the corner and starts realizing that he's pretty good when he plays under control.

2. R.A. Dickey: Nothing but strikes to clean up a messy game.

3. Joe Crede: That double was a huge lift for this team.

 

Duds

1. JJ Hardy: That was just a routine DP, buddy. You're better than what you're showing this year.

2. Jason Kendall: Suppan needs a guy who can catch sliders in the dirt.

3. Jeff Suppan: Yeah, your defense sucked. And the ump was squeezing you. But you threw some really bad pitches when you could have controlled the damage.

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