It's so much easier to win when the team performs as a whole.
On Tuesday night, the Minnesota offense awoke. Following a stifling series at the hands of the Braves, an explosion of runs in the middle innings essentially turned into a knockout blow.
An early home run by Troy Tulowitzki and a third-inning triple by Carlos Gonzalez put the Twins in a 2-0 hole, but there was never much of a doubt that Carl Pavano was on his game. Pavano allowed just five hits and a walk across seven innings, with Todd Helton's solo blast in the sixth the only other damage to his line.
With Orlando Hudson still out of the lineup, Gardenhire penciled in Matt Tolbert to hit second for the series opener. And it turned out to be a good decision, as he reached base in three of his five plate appearances. But it was a big fourth inning that opened the flood gates.
The first nine batters reached base in the fourth inning (one on a fielder's choice), and only Joe Mauer's second double play of the game kept it from being more than a five-run inning. Five singles, two walks a double and a fielder's choice put the Twins on top 5-2, and Jason Kubel's two-run home run in a three-run fifth kept Minnesota's foot on the gas. Tolbert even knocked out a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth to put a lid on the night's scoring.
- Not many of the balls the Twins hit in the fourth were hard-hit. A lot of them were grounders with eyes.
- On the other hand, most of the balls the Twins hit in the fifth were smashed.
- Carl Pavano's mustache gets credit for three of his five strikeouts.
- Brian Duensing and Alex Burnett combined for two scoreless innings, striking out three.
- Orlando Hudson is "day-to-day". He hasn't been swinging from the left side of the plate, and Gardenhire is happy to let him get comfortable and completely healthy before re-activing him.
- Mauer and Morneau were 1-for-9 with a walk on the night. The rest of the offense hit .500 with five walks.
#1: Joe Mauer (2 GIDP)
#2: Justin Morneau (0-for-4, walk)