Twins 4, Royals 3: Just Enough Offense, Joe Nathan Closes It Out

There are just a few things I want to touch on tonight, because it's late, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 was amazing, and the Twins won. What more could a man want from his Saturday night? Wait. Don't answer that.

For the most part, both Jeff Francis and Carl Pavano looked good. Pavano struck out three, walked one and surrendered six hits in seven innings of work, allowing the Royals to put across three runs. Francis, meanwhile, was just as good. He recorded one out in the eighth before getting pulled, but his line included seven hits, two strikeouts and a walk. And when he left the hill he'd allowed just three runs as well, but his relief was Cuddyer'd.

Delmon Young's first inning double scored a pair, and a solo Drew Butera (yes!) home run in the fourth gave the Twins a 3-0 lead. Meanwhile Kansas City came back in the middle innings, with Alcides Escobar pulling a liner into the left field seats for a two-run homer. Pavano had been pitching him away the entire at-bat, before missing on the inner half of the plate. Escobar nailed it. The next inning, in the top of the sixth, an Eric Hosmer groundout scored Melky Cabrera to knot it up.

And there it stayed until the eighth. Francis had retired 10 straight Twins, all the way back to Butera's homer, so when Ben Revere tried to reach base on a bunt it wasn't a bad decision. But Francis made a superior play moving to his left, fielding the ball with his glove and flipping it onto Hosmer at first. You could see Hosmer mouth "WOW" after the play. Fortunately for the Twins that was the low point of the inning.

Alexi Casilla singled, and Joe Mauer stroked one through the hole to put runners at the corners with one away. Aaron Crow relieved Francis, and Michael Cuddyer punched a 1-2 curve into center to plate what would be the winning run.

The best part of the game, however, was Joe Nathan coming in for the save. He owned Billy Butler, who popped out. Hosmer snuck a grounder through the left side for a single, but Nathan sawed off Jeff Franceour for out number two, and Mike Moustakas flew out to shallow right field to end it.

And that, my friends, is how you close a game. If you're like me, you'd probably forgotten what that looked like.

I'll see you tomorrow.

Studs

Michael Cuddyer: 2 hits (including the game-winner) and a walk in four plate appearances.
Carl Pavano: 3 runs in 7 innings is solid work.
Joe Mauer, Delmon Young, Drew Butera: An RBI for each.
Glen Perkins: 2 strikeouts in a perfect 8th inning.
Joe Nathan: The Return of the Closer.

Duds

Nobody - the Twins are now 6 games out of first place in the AL Central

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