No late-inning magic today.
It was clear from the start that Kevin Slowey wasn't tossing his best stuff today. His fastballs sailed and consistently missed his spots, and the Royals took advantage. He managed to hold them to just one run through the first three innings before things got a bit more slippery, but he ran into a lot of deep counts and his pitch count rose fairly quickly. On an afternoon where the bullpen was largely spent, this clearly wasn't the day that Kevin was looking for.
Justin Morneau missed a couple of chances to capitalize in the middle innings, but he did homer in the top of the second to tie the game at one. Oh yeah, did I mention it was an absolute monster of a jack? Brian Bannister left a fastball around Justin's armpits and the Canadian swung his bat like so much lumber. He'd come through one more time later in the contest, but in the second he was a champion. Delmon Young later doubled and scored in the same inning.
Slowey's afternoon came to an end with one out in the sixth, leaving a runner on third with just one out. It was already a 4-2 game for Ron Mahay, who had only thrown ten pitches on Saturday night. He got David DeJesus to fly out to shallow left before sending Scott Podsednik down on strikes for one of his more impressive appearances of the year so far.
The Twins put two runners on in each the seventh and eighth inning but were turned away by a stoic Royals bullpen, but things did get interesting in the top of the ninth. Joe Mauer's one-out single led to a Morneau double into the gap, plating Mauer from first. It closed the gap to 4-3 with just one away, but Joakim Soria got Michael Cuddyer and Jim Thome to each strike out on ball four to end the game.
Notes, studs and duds after the jump.
- Slowey drew some criticism from Bert Blyleven, who said Slowey wasn't concentrating enough and wasn't being consistent in his release point. Whatever the case, Kevin didn't look anything like he did against the Indians.
- Orlando Hudson made a nice play ranging to his left late in the game, reaching out to grab a grounder in shallow right, turning and throwing to first for the out. Not bad, Mr. O-Hud.
- Joe Mauer is a machine. Seriously, he's a robot.
- Alex Burnett had a tough time in the seventh, but bounced back nicely, pitching well in the eighth and putting his offense in a position to come back.
- The Twins picked up four more walks today, including Morneau's 20th.
#3: Alex Burnett (2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K, .045 WPA)
#2: Orlando Hudson (2-for-5, .011 WPA)
#1: Justin Morneau (2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, R, BB, .148 WPA)
#1: Kevin Slowey (5.1 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 2 K, 4 R, -.208 WPA)
#2: Denard Span (0-for-5, including a big missed chance with the bases loaded and two out in the 8th)
#3: Michael Cuddyer (1-for-5, 2 K, -.264 WPA)