That was much more fun to watch.
There were some questionable moments in this one. Like when, on a hit-and-run, Drew Butera whiffed for the strikeout and then Nick Punto tripped in between first and second. That was awesome. But for the most part, today was all abotu Carl Pavano continuing to own the Detroit Tigers.
Pavano held a no-hitter until a single with one out in the fifth inning. And only in the sixth did the Tigers finally force Pavano to face more than three batters (with four). Even in the seventh, when they finally managed to touch Pavstache for a pair after the first three hitters reached, the mustachioed warrior worked himself out of trouble to limit the damage and keep the Twins in front.
Everything you could ask for out of your starter, we got today. Pavano was efficient, he worked ahead, he threw strikes and had fantastic command. He was particularly effective against left-handed hitters, but let's be honest: he was pretty much great in general.
A quick start in the first with back-to-back walks and a couple of big singles got the Twins on the board with two in the top of the first. A ground-rule double by Michael Cuddyer in the fifth and a solid drive by Danny Valencia in the eighth helped put the game on ice, running the score to 6-2 entering the bottom of the eighth.
Here is where the Tigers finally caught up to Pavano. A pair of fly outs sandwiched a double, and they all preceeded a run-scoring single, after which Gardy lifted the one good, consistent starter the Twins have had this year. Pavano finished with a very solid 7.2 innings, six strikeouts, six hits and a walk on 104 pitches. Matt Guerrier threw one pitch to get Minnesota out of the inning, and he was done.
Big Jon Rauch came out and put the hammer down for the 20th save, and that was it. The Twins snap a four-game losing streak, and get to head into a much-needed three-day break. Notes and awards after the jump.
- Delmon Young batted third today and played like he belonged there. He picked up a pair of hits, including his 25th double of the year. Yeah, let's not trade Delmon, okay?
- Michael Cuddyer has come on again recently, and was a big player in today's game with two hits (including his 20th double), a pair of walks and two more RBI.
- Did I mention that Nick Punto fell down on a failed hit-and-run?
- Jason Kubel managed a couple of hits today, too.
- Opponent's well-hit average against Pavano today: .000.
- Did that Brad Thomas dude look familiar to anybody? He should have. Between 2001 and 2004 he made 11 appearances for the Twins, five as a starter in '01 as a 23-year old. In the 23.2 Major League innings of his Minnesota career, his ERA was 9.89. He struck out just eight while walking 18, and you can pair that with 33 hits.
MVP: Carl Pavano
MVP in a losing effort: Johnny Damon
Best performance from a hitter: Delmon Young
Most Embarassed: Nick Punto
Best Facial Hair: Carl Pavano
I found the strike zone! I promise!: Brad Thomas