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Bullpen Blows Tight Lead

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Close contest blown open by grand slam.

Nick Blackburn made his second start of the season on Monday afternoon, and turned in another solid performance.  Over five innings he allowed two runs, while striking out five and scattering seven hits.  Leaving the game with a 3-2 lead, on most occasions the Twins bullpen would have locked it down.

Instead, the bottom of the seventh inning turned into a nightmare.  Matt Guerrier got Orlando Cabrera to fly out to lead off the inning, but Jim Thome walked and Paul Konerko singled to chase Guerrier from the game.  Neshek relieved him, and on a high-and-tight slider Jermaine Dye fisted a single up the middle.  Thome scored and the game was tied.

After retiring A.J. Pierzynski for the second out of the inning, Carlos Quentin singled to load the bases for Twin Killer Joe Crede.  Neshek delivered a sinking fastball that just missed outside before feeding him a fastball at the belt.  Crede turned on the pitch and launched it into the left field seats.  The five-run inning gave Chicago a 7-3 lead.

The Twins were able to manage another run in the eighth, but the damage had been done.  Matt Tolbert reached on a single in the ninth, but Carlos Gomez (who stole his fifth base of the season) ended the game on a 6-4-3 double play.  Minnesota falls to 3-5.

Between tomorrow and Wednesday I'm hoping to get up some research that I've done on pitch selection for the Twins so far this season.  I'll see you for the game tomorrow!