As noted earlier today, I took my youngest daughter to see Despicable Me (two thumbs up!) tonight, missing the first few innings of the game. It now appears I am obligated to do so again until the Twins lose. Given the current cost of going to a movie, can I borrow some money from you guys? It's for a good cause.
The Twins were in desperate need of a quality start from Francisco Liriano tonight, and he delivered it, going 7 and 2/3 innings, giving up only 2 runs, and striking out 8 as the Twins held on to win 7-4.
For a second consecutive night, the Twins offense, with help from four costly Chicago errors, gave their starter some decent run support. Minnesota broke through in the 4th, sending nine men to the plate and staking Franchise to a 4-0 lead. Key plays in the inning: Gordon Beckham error, Dayan Viciendo error, J.J. Hardy single, Orlando Hudson single. Hooray for taking advantage of lousy fielding!
Liriano exited the game with a 4-2 lead in the 8th, and after a not-disastrous appearance by Matt Guerrier (yay!), the Twins added three more runs in the bottom of the frame to put it out of reach, right? Right?
No. Jon Rauch struggled terribly in the 9th, recording just one out, walking three, surrendering 2 runs and leaving the game with the bases loaded and the tying run on first. Then, as usual in Bizarro Twins World, Jesse Crain came in and shut the door, getting Alex Rios to pop out and striking out Paul Konerko to end the game.
- Liriano. Huge. Just huge.
- J.J. Hardy. 3-for-4, 2B, RBI, nice fielding play in the 8th to end the inning. Good to have him back.
- Crain. I can't explain it, but right now I feel better when he's in the game than any other Twins reliever. I can't believe I just typed that.
- Bengie Molina. The portly Texas Ranger hit for the cycle. (UPDATE: here's video of his 8th-inning triple. This is in real time, but you'd be forgiven for being skeptical.) I can't believe I just typed that.
- Rauch. Bad game. Fortunate to have a 5-run cushion, couldn't find the strikezone to save his 6'11" behind by the time he was pulled.
- Chicago's defense. Both 4th-inning errors led to runs, and the 8th-inning throwing error set up Joe Mauer's 2-RBI single.