The Twins' solid stretch of starting pitching has allowed everyone the luxury of not worrying about the worrisome bullpen. Tonight, after Brian Duensing labored through 6 innings, that was not going to be an option. Alex Burnett entered the game with a 6-2 lead, got the first two outs of the 7th, and if you got up for a smoke and a bathroom break, you likely came back right when Ryan Ludwick cranked a 3-run homer to make it 6-5.
Glen Perkins made a very welcome return in the 8th, and after surrendering a leadoff single, induced a weak grounder and notched two swinging strikeouts to hold the line.
With the Twins clinging to a 1-run lead, Matt Capps entered in the 9th to face the heart of the Padres order. Two hard outs to deep left-center and a comebacker later, and the Twins were your 6-5 winners and 8 games back of the Detroit Tigers.
The Twins got to Padres starter Clayton Richard early, tallying 5 runs in the first. New catcher Joe Mauer (apparently a local kid, here's hoping he can stick) opened the scoring with an RBI single, Michael Cuddyer's double added another run, and Danny Valencia hit a no-doubt 3-run home run to stake Duensing to a nice early lead. The lefty, who struggled mightily of late, didn't have an easy night by any means, and was well over 100 pitches by the time he exited. But still: 2 runs allowed. That'll do.
- Ben Revere. RBI single in the 5th, which turned out to be the difference, and an amazing catch in the 4th that blue mistakenly ruled a trap. He also broke his belt on the play. Like everyone else, I really dig Ben Revere, and if medical science can do ANYTHING about that throwing arm...
- Valencia. I like 3-run home runs.
- Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Made a very nice play to get Duensing out of a 2-out, 2-on jam in the 5th. Also made his 4th error in 8 games on a one-hop throw that Cuddyer was unable to scoop. As for his bat, um
- Matt Capps. Those first two outs were drilled. Yes, he got the save. No, I don't trust him at all.
- Burnett. Ludwick's home run could've killed a guy.