There's something about Anthony Swarzak this year that's defying the critic in all of us. Despite not having overwhelming stuff, despite not being a master of control, despite not pitching in the Majors all of 2010 and essentially becoming a forgotten man, he's come out firing this season. And he did it again today.
As Jake Peavy and the White Sox snuffed out potential scoring rallies in the first and third innings, Swarzak and his defense went about their own business. They put their own zeroes on the board, giving the Twins offense a chance to get on the board and apply some of that familiar pressure to the South Siders. And so when, in the top of the fourth, the bottom of the Minnesota order put together a couple of runs he came out in the bottom half of the frame and struck out the side.
Yeah. Swarzak. Struck out the side. Ramirez. Konerko. Dunn. Done.
Three more in the top of the fifth put the Twins up 5-0 heading into the late innings. Paul Konerko singled in the sixth to put Chicago on the board, but with runners on first and second Swarzak struck out Carlos Quentin to stymie the threat.
Alex Burnett made it interesting in the seventh with a walk and a couple of doubles, but Glen Perkins came one with one away and picked up the two most critical outs of the contest. Stranding the runner at third kept the Twins in front, 5-3, and the Sox wouldn't manage another run.
Alexi Casilla would triple and score on a wild pitch in the ninth to give us the final score, and with that the Twins finish the first half on an extreme high note. Taking three of four in Chicago is a great way to hit the break. 6.5 games out of first place with 74 games to go?
Yeah. It's happening.
- Tsuyoshi Nishioka made a great play to end the game, taking Casilla's wide feed, managing to drag his foot across second, spinning and firing onto first to complete the double play. Solid.
- This game was full of unlikely heroes for the Twins. Jason Repko and his clutch RBI double. Rene Tosoni and his punchy half-swing that brought in a run. Drew Butera's liner up the middle for a run. The 6-7-8-9 batters all picked up an RBI today. The only other? Michael Cuddyer. Of course.
- It should probably be mentioned: Matt Capps pitched the ninth for the save.
Everyone. Even you, Burnett. Because I'm feeling generous and good about this team right now.