After going 0-for-4 in their first four potential sweep-clinching games this season, the Twins finally finished the job today with a 5-4 victory over the Tigers. It didn't come easy.
There were plenty of frustrating aspects of this game. Despite getting an early lead thanks to the Twins scoring multiple runs in a sixth straight contest, Kevin Slowey once again struggled to keep his pitch count under control and left with two outs in the sixth inning, marking the fifth time in six starts that he has failed to complete six frames. Slowey coughed up three home runs in the start, with Jon Rauch surrendering another, but thankfully they will all solo shots.
On the offensive end, the Twins continued to waste baserunners. The biggest culprit was Jason Kubel, who got the start in the cleanup spot but left the bases empty twice and stranded eight runners in total. The top three hitters in the lineup combined to reach base eight times, but scored only three runs thanks to a combined 1-for-16 effort from the 4-through-7 hitters. Finally, the Twins are starting to miss Joe Mauer. In total, the offense went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position while leaving nine men on base.
Slowey's continued inability to pitch deep into games and the offense's continued inability to produce in scoring opportunities fortunately did not destroy the Twins today, as the quality performance from the top of the order a solid day for the bullpen led way to Minnesota's first sweep of the year.
Presently, the Twins are tied with the Rays for the highest win total in baseball, and they will now welcome the woeful Orioles into town for a four-game series.