The Twins raised their 2010 AL Central Division Champions flag prior to today's game. Problem: the flag was upside-down. And for the first seven innings, it looked like that would serve as the metaphor on which your average ink/pixel-stained wretch could hang his/her lede graf on:
An upside-down flag is a distress signal on the high seas, and it served the same purpose at Target Field Friday, as the Twins offense continued their early-season struggles in a shutout loss to the punchless Oakland Athletics.
However, break out your delete buttons and liquid paper and whatever Sid uses to correct his daguerrotype machine's feeder belts, because the Twins patched together a rally in the 8th-inning, scoring two runs with two outs and beating the Athletics, 2-1.
Credit where it's due, however: Oakland starter Brett Anderson was fantastic through the first seven innings, holding the Twins to just four hits and about 78 groundball outs (estimated). The Twins finally got to him in the 8th, when a Danny Valencia infield set the table for two-out singles from pinch-hitter Jason Kubel (who forgot that he's supposed to be worth shit against LHP), Denard Span and Joe Mauer to score their only runs of the game. After a nice catch by Oakland's Ty Willingham on a Justin Morneau liner to end the 8th, Joe Nathan came on in the 9th, gave up a lone single that deflected off of Luke Hughes' glove, and got Twins nemesis Hideki Matsui to pop out to end the game.
Carl Pavano did more than enough to keep the Twins in the game, allowing just one run and four hits in 8 innings. The one run was entirely on him, however, as he managed a walk, a wild pitch and a throwing error in the first inning to stake Oakland to a 1-0 lead and looked to be on his way to a hard-luck loss. Instead, he evens his record to 1-1 and fulfills my prediction from the game thread. Thank you, Carl.
As for the offense: maybe they should put the trees back?
Studs, duds and notes after the jump:
Studs: Pavano, Anderson, Kubel, Span, Mauer, Nathan
Duds: both team's offenses, no disrespect to the starting pitchers.
- Tsuyoshi Nishioka won't need surgery or even a cast on his broken fibula, which has to be considered good news. No timetable for his return as of yet.
- Kevin Slowey had an MRI on his sore pitching arm today. No results as of yet, we'll let you know when we know.
- Manny Ramirez retired rather than face a 100-game suspension for taking god-knows-what (smart money is on in vitro fertilization). To say that he leaves a complicated legacy is an understatement.
Twins win! Enjoy your Friday evening, you scoundrels.