When the biggest problem with your team is that they win every series but just can't sweep...well, it could be worse.
The Indians hit Scott Baker often this afternoon, tallying five doubles off him over 5.2 innings. A couple of them were balls that fell just right and landed just inside the foul lines, and a couple of the other hits simply found holes or beat a defensive shift. So no, Baker didn't pitch all that well today, but the Indians had a lot of bounces go their way today.
Mitch Talbot, on the other hand, deserves all the credit for this win. He threw 99 pitches over six innings, with the Twins barely managing to scrape across one run on a Justin Morneau RBI double. By peppering hitters with a steady dose of fastball-slider and mixing in the cut fastball, Talbot was able to layer the strike zone with a lot of pitches that looked the same until the last second. It didn't necessarily mean that he was always in the strike zone, but he didn't have to be. The fastball set up the slider and cutter, resulting in a lot of silly swings and 11 groundouts.
The Twins didn't help themselves by bailing Talbot out of 2-0 and 3-1 counts by hacking on a numer of occasions. Even by the sixth inning, when base runners came at a premium and it should have been abundandtly obvious that nobody was making good contact besides Morneau, Talbot's pitches continued to look so fat that Twins hitters couldn't help themselves. And then got themselves out.
- Drew Butera picked up his first Major League hit today, on a seeing-eye single through the left side. Congtats to him. He hit the ball much harder in his next plate appearance, but sadly it went right to Grady Sizemore.
- Alexi Casilla made an unorthodox defensive play, I believe in the fourth--on a massive shift a weak grounder was dying in no-man's land in front of Orlando Hudson. Casilla (who was playing shortstop, remember) had the best angle, sprinted horizontally across the diamond, reached out and managed to flip the ball to Morneau at first for what would be a big out.
- Andy Marte's two-run homer later in the inning was bad enough, but it could have been worse.
- Anybody else hate double plays? Twins ran into four today. FOUR. It's good to lead the league in those, right?
All in all, not a good day. But it was a beautiful day in Target Field, and the Twins won yet another series. That, my friends, is a recipe for success.
Justin Morneau: Two hits, including a double and a walk, also the Twins' only RBI
Target Field: So pretty in sunshine
Bert Blyleven: Dude's still funny, I'd have a beer with him...and I also envy his ability to eat at the ballpark every day
Scott Baker: Just not your day, sorry bud
Alex Burnett: Didn't change the outcome of the game, but he had his first rough outing as a Major Leaguer
Brendan Harris, Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer: No help