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Twins topple Tribe

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Solid pitching, balanced attack help Twins to victory over division rivals.

For the first time this season, the Minnesota Twins never trailed in a game, beating the Cleveland Indians 5-1 at Progressive Field in Cleveland. The Twins combined solid pitching and timely hitting to control the game from start to finish.

Nick Blackburn pitched seven strong innings, besting fellow sinker baller Fausto Carmona, and beating the division rivals for the fourth time in four career starts against Cleveland. Jose Mijares shut down the Indians in the eighth and Joe Nathan closed the door in the ninth in what could be a precursor to future Twins victories late in the game.

Once again, Denard Span, Justin Morneau, and Jason Kubel contributed the biggest hits in an otherwise solid offense. Span went 2-5 with two runs scored; Morneau added a long solo homer to right field and two RIBIs, and Kubel hit a key two-out RBI double to lead the offense. Jose Morales added two hits and an RBI. Of Twins starters, only Delmon Young went hitless for the Twins on the night.

Observations:

  • Delmon's bat is dragging through the zone. His front shoulder is through the zone long before the bat, leading to a lot of lazy late swings. The only balls he had a chance on were change-ups, which he fouled off.
  • Blackburn looked sharp when the umpire gave him the sinker on the black. It wasn't always even: Carmona got a lot of calls early. But Blackburn stuck with it and pitched a solid game after the strike zone seemed to even out.
  • Justin Morneau hit that ball a ton. Wow. Another 10 feet and it would have been in the third deck in right..
  • Jose Morales had a great game. He called a great game, contributed two hits and hit another ball hard for an out. The only time he made an out, the umpire called two strikes in the opposite batters box. He leaned back on the second called strike and said something to Plate Umpire Bill Miller. Perhaps he was asking  if his pitcher would get the same calls. After that at bat, Morales consistently sat on the outside corner, Blackburn did get the outside strike and he wasn't touched the rest of the game.
  • Jose Mijares is nasty. He gave up a gift infield hit on an Alexi Casilla bobble. But otherwise, the Tribe's best hitters couldn't do anything against him. The K to Grady Sizemore was huge. Blackburn had trouble getting Sizemore out. But Mijares buzzed him on an inside fastball and he was way way tardy for strike three.