That didn't go as expected. At all.
Three singles and three walks through five innings, and zero runs. That's how Bobby Cramer's afternoon started. A couple of base runners in the second, a couple in the third, but this afternoon it never really looked like the Twins were trying to press the issue. And until Michael Cuddyer and Jim Thome went deep off Cramer in the sixth, it looked like Minnesota was about to make one of the few mediocre Oakland pitchers look as great as the rest.
Francisco Liriano, as you may have already gathered, didn't do his job today. A 30-pitch, eight-batter, three-run first inning set the tone. He looked good enough the next three innings, and sat down eleven in a row at one point. But a Mark Ellis two-run homer in the fifth put an end to any thoughts entertaining a quality start after the terrible first, and in a 5-0 hole the Twins were looking at a game that, in every single way, was turning out to be the complete opposite of what most people probably thought it should have been.
Minnesota would get a pair back off of the two solo bombs, but wouldn't score again. Meanwhile, the bullpen burned through six relief pitchers, most of them doing a good job. Alex Burnett put up a zero in the sixth, Pat Neshek worked around three walks to do the same in the seventh, and even Randy Flores did his job in the eighth. Jeff Manship let in another run in the ninth though, thanks to a J.J. Hardy error (see how messed up this game was?) and a couple of singles. Jose Mijares and Jon Rauch managed to pick up three outs at the end without allowing the score to get any worse, so Manship can thank them for that.
Oakland was just 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position, but the Twins were 0-for-3. Liriano's performance, two Twins errors, Ben Revere picked up a pair of hits (the first two of his career) and Cuddyer homered for the first time since August 29th. Oh, and Danny Valencia was 0-for-3.
Today was bizarre.
Thome. Cuddyer. Revere? Repko for his catch? Who else...who....else....