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Rockies 3, Twins 2

Starting pitchers stymie offenses early in National League park.

Livan Hernandez, and his gravity-defying fastballs, denied hitter after hitter on Saturday night.  Through five innings no Colorado player reached base, and efficiency was the rule as hitters rarely saw more than four pitches in a plate appearance.  A steady dose of fastballs and changeups, with a few breaking balls to mix things up, was enough to keep Hernandez in control.

Rockies starter Greg Reynolds was equally as effective in keeping runs off the board.  Reynolds thew the kitchen sink at Twins hitters:  fastballs, sinkers, changups, curveballs, cutters, splitters, sliders.  The offense managed just three hits off the 22-year old, and was unable to take advantage of Livan's performance.  In the sixth inning the Rockies broke zero, doubling off Hernandez and, with a little help from Delmon Young, the Twins found themselves at a 1-0 deficit after six.

In the top of the seventh, the Twins momentarily took the lead.  Young took the first pitch he saw from reliever Matt Herges and looped a single into right field.  On the very next pitch, Adam Everett doubled to right.  Hernandez, handy with a bat in his hands in his own right, laid down a successful bunt to advance both runners and tie the game.  Brendan Harris then singled to score Everett, before being caught stealing.  The half inning officially ended with Mike Lamb grounding out.

Livan_edited_mediumHernandez came on in the bottom of the seventh and was tagged for two consecutive hits before recording an out on a sacrifice fly, which scored Matt Holliday.  A double play got him out of the inning, but yet again the Twins and Rockies were knotted.

Herges held the offense in check in the top of the eighth, but the Rockies would score for the third consecutive inning.  A double by Jeff Baker to lead things off led to an RBI single by Ryan Spilborghs.  After loading the bases, Brian Bass came on in relief, and managed to close out the inning without surrendering another run thanks to a force out at home and a ground out by Todd Helton.

Colorado closer Brian Fuentes came on in the ninth to shut the door.  Young led off the inning with a hit for the second time in the game, and advanced to second base on an Everett bunt.  Mike Redmond hit for Hernandez, and while he was able to life a fly ball to right field was unable to hit it deep enough to allow Young to move up to third base.  Young was still at second base with two away.

Brendan Harris fell behing 0-2, but in a fantastic demonstration of working a walk was able to foul off a number of pitches before earning a free pass on the ninth pitch of his at-bat.  Mike Lamb then put on another demostration of how to extend a plate appearance, with Young stealing third in the process.  But, with the tying run just 90 feet away, with two out and a full count Lamb swung through a fastball on the seventh pitch he saw from Fuentes, and the Rockies came away with a well-earned win.

The loss was the fourth in the last five games for the Twins.