Capps, Nathan, Plouffe Combine To Blow Another, Twins Lose 8-7

The Twins entered the eighth inning with a three-run lead, but Matt Capps blew his second consecutive save opportunity after Joe Nathan could only get one out to open the eighth, sending Minnesota to its ninth straight home loss. Jim Thome homered twice on his return from the disabled list, but a pair of highly-paid closers and defensively inept shortstop Trevor Plouffe wasted Thome's 592nd and 593rd career blasts. Seattle scored twice in the eighth, once in the ninth, and once in the tenth to erase Minnesota's lead.

A few expanded thoughts, for those of you who can stomach a further read:

  • The Twins will now go at least a month without a home win. They last won at Target Field on April 24.
  • Thome's fourth-inning home run was estimated at 465 feet, a prodigious shot to right field that landed only twenty feet from the fence that marks the boundary between the ballpark and Target Plaza. The big slugger hit two-run homers in both the fourth and seventh innings.
  • Nathan began the eighth with a strikeout, but allowed a single to Brendan Ryan. Jack Wilson followed with a weak grounder right at Plouffe, but the shortstop failed to charge the ball and then double-clutched on the throw, thus making both a mental and a physical mistake on the same play. Nathan fell behind pinch-hitter Adam Kennedy 3-0, then allowed a full-count single to right and departed.
  • Capps came in to face Ichiro Suzuki with runners on first and third. Suzuki hit a soft line drive directly at the second-base bag, which Plouffe failed to charge again and allowed to drop, getting the force at second and allowing another run. In the ninth, a leadoff single by Justin Smoak and a stolen base by pinch runner Michael Saunders got Capps into trouble, and Carlos Peguero finished off the blown save with an RBI single to right-center.
  • Anthony Swarzak ended up with the loss, allowing back-to-back singles to lead off the tenth and the game-winning sacrifice fly to Luis Rodriguez.
  • Denard Span homered to lead off the game, and had a clutch RBI single with two out to tie the game in the fourth. The Twins trailed 4-1 early, but came back to take a 7-4 lead.
  • Carl Pavano struggled through three innings - he looked like he was throwing batting practice, tossing a lot of nice down-the-middle fastballs - but he worked through it. He actually retired the last eight men he faced, and completed seven innings, putting himself in position for what should have been his 100th career win.
  • Your stars, in order, are Thome, Span, and Delmon Young, who had a two-out RBI single of his own.
  • Your duds are Capps, Nathan, and Plouffe. Which the headline should have made clear.

So there you have it. The Twins spent all of their bullpen budget on a pair of closers, neither of who can get anybody out, and they didn't bother keeping their shortstop and now have one who can't field. The Twins are 15-31. They are by some distance the worst team in baseball. Nights like this, you can see why.

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