Early on in tonight's contest, it didn't look like Kevin Correia was going to possess the magic that he'd had through his first two starts of the season. Peter Bourjos led off the game with a home run, and two innings later Brendan Harris broke a 1-1 tie with a homer of his own. And yes, you read that correctly: Brendan Harris. The very same.
The last time Harris went yard the date was April 8, 2010. Three years and one week ago. For the Minnesota Twins. Of course, that was the highlight of his season and he'd eventually be banished to the minor leagues in June. He wouldn't return to the Majors until this year with the Angels.
Minnesota was able to answer the Angels on both occasions. Ryan Doumit's two-out single in the first scored Joe Mauer following his double. In the third the Twins answered on a Justin Morneau double, scoring Darin Mastroianni after his single and stolen base. Trevor Plouffe led off the fourth with a homer, and Mauer followed that up by going yard to the opposite field to lead off the fifth. Mauer's single in the sixth put the Twins up 5-2, but he picked up another RBI single in the eighth followed by a two-run line drive from Pedro Florimon to bring us to our final score.
Oswaldo Arcia made his first start of the season and while we didn't get too many opportunities to see him play the field in left (dropped ball what?), he looked good (if aggressive) at the plate. He drilled a second-pitch cutter into right for a single in his first at-bat that saw him smartly move up to second when Josh Hamilton bobbled the ball. In the fourth he flew out to center. In the sixth he stepped in with runners on second and third and two outs, taking the first pitch he saw from Michael Roth and launching it deep into the left-center field gap. Unfortunately, Bourjos caught up to it. Arcia finished the day 1-for-3 and averaged two pitches per plate appearance.
Joe Blanton clearly didn't have his best arsenal on him today, and Halos Heaven believed that with anyone else on the hill they'd have been in charge of the game.
Anybody besides Blanton and the Angels are coasting in this one, instead, down 4-2 after 6.— Halos Heaven (@halosheaven) April 16, 2013
Personally, I think the Twins pretty well put that notion to bed with the way they knocked around Roth and Mark Lowe, but the bottom line is that the club finally put together a complete contest. The offense hit. The pitchers pitched. The defense defended. A philosophy Yogi Berra could get behind.
Kevin Correia, on the other hand, looked like he was enjoying the chilly weather. His breaking pitches continue to move pretty well, and he's had pretty good command of his fastball over his first three starts of the season. He moved his pitches around, and garnered at least two of his strikeouts by setting hitters up. We know he's been racking up ground ball outs, even if his ground ball rate isn't as high as it was in Pittsburgh last season, but one of the big reasons he hasn't hit a big inning yet is because he's kept the ball in the yard. If he can continue to never allow home runs, the Twins will have their chances to win.
Aaron Hicks didn't start tonight, but came in as a defensive replacement late in the contest. In his one plate appearance he ground out a walk before stealing second - the first of hopefully many stolen bases in his career. On an odd drop behind the plate he got a late jump but still slid head first into third base safely. That speed will be an enormous asset once his bat works itself out.
Florimon made a couple of nice plays tonight. He was aggressive and charged slow rollers, and he also went deep into the hole and made a strong throw to Morneau at first to retire Albert Pujols. Morneau had to come off the bag in this case and was forced to take Pujols, but we're giving credit for the out being made. Add in Florimon's speed when he bunted up the first base line in the middle of the game, as well as that big two-run double in the eighth, and it's easy to see how his flashes of brilliance parlayed into a full time job at short.
It was a good game to watch. Probably because the Twins won, which always helps. Minnesota improves to 5-7 on the season, and will try to start a winning streak tomorrow.