Another great game. Another Twins win. They're not synonymous, but I'm glad they're coinciding this week.
Neither Francisco Liriano nor Gavid Floyd had their best stuff on Wednesday night. They combined for 16 hits (including two homers and six doubles), 12 runs and eight walks in just 10.1 innings. Neither could hold a lead, and it turned into another game where you didn't really know who would be able to pull it out.
At least, until the bottom of the fifth. Entering the bottom half of the inning the Twins were trailing 5-3, and while Floyd hadn't been particularly sharp, Liriano's long fifth inning (two runs off just 24 pitches, thanks to A.J. Pierzynski getting picked off/caught stealing to end the top half) had momentarily taken the buzz out of the stadium.
And then Joe Mauer homered to left.
Mauer took the first pitch he saw from Floyd, predictably a fastball, and dropped it into the left field seats. Target Field went nuts. Not Jimmers-smashing-a-game-winning-two-run-homer-in-the-tenth-when-the-Twins-were-down-by-one nuts, but pretty crazy all the same. It was all the Twins would get in the fifth, entering the sixth still in a one-run deficit, but the fortunes of the game had seemed to shift.
Jeff Manship relieved Liriano, and fought through a 19-pitch, three-batter top of the sixth, and turned it back over to a re-energized offense. The Twins finally took Floyd out of the game.
Michael Cuddyer started quickly, picking up where Mauer left off by dropping a hit into left field. A fan there interfered, I'm assuming because they thought it was a foul ball, and Cuddles pulled up with a ground-rule double. Floyd was careful with Jim Thome and walked him. Delmon Young was next, and threw up the second double of the inning to tie the game. A Danny Valencia single and a J.J. Hardy sacrifice fly added two more runs, and when the dust cleared the Twins had chased Floyd and the Twins led 7-5.
Manship and Jesse Crain would combine for three scoreless innings before turning it over to Matt Capps, who allowed a one-out double and single to give the White Sox hope before shutting the door to preserve the win.
It wasn't as dramatic as Tuesday's walk-off, but it's a win and it seals another series victory. Your Minnesota Twins are now five games up, and at 70-50 are on the way to compiling one of the best Twins records in the last few years.
Notes, studs and duds after the jump.
- True to form, Floyd didn't throw a single changeup to a right-handed hitter last night.
- Of his 28 first pitches, 18 of them were fastballs (64%).
- 27 of his 58 pitches to left-handed hitters were breaking balls (47%), compared to just 14 of 38 to righties (37%).
- The Twins were 3-for-6 on balls in play off Floyd's infamous curveball.
- The White Sox were 1-for-8 on balls in play off Lirirano's infamous slider.
- Like Floyd, Liriano didn't throw a single changeup to same-sided hitters.
- Joe Mauer collected four hits last night, including his 39th (39th!) double in addition to his eighth home run. He's now batting .335/.407/.496.
- Denard Span continues to rock at home. In five games he's 7-for-19 with two walks, raising his home splits to .335/.407/.426 (or Joe Mauer without the power). On the road he's still struggling: .216/.276/.300.
- Cuddyer also picked up a multi-hit game, with two singles and a double. The power is still a bit low, but a .277 average and .344 on-base percentage are right around his career norms.
- Jesse Crain's line since June 10:
|2010 - Jesse Crain||0-0||29||0||0||0||1||0||27.0||11||1||1||0||10||25||0.33||0.78|
Almost everyone. Mauer, Cuddyer, Young, Span, Manship, Crain, Hardy, Valencia...
Capps, and I should probably give one to Liriano.