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Tigers clean-up Blackburn, sloppy Twins

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Nick Blackburn's road record dropped to 4-12 as the right hander set the tone for the team's worst loss of the year 9-0.

The Minnesota Twins dropped game two of a two-game series against rookie Rick Procello and the Detroit Tigers. Porcello pitched seven strong innings of four-hit ball to pace the Tigers to an easy win at Comerica Park.

As good as Porcello was, the Twins gave the Tigers every opportunity and they capitilized on them.

Much of the damage was done with two out in the scond inning. Light-hitting catcher Gerald Laird walked on four pitches. Shortstop Ramon Santiago lined a ball over the head of Michael Cuddyer for a double. His throw to Alexi Casilla put Casilla in a position to throw out the slow-footed Laird at home, but Casilla inexplicably held onto the ball. Delmon Young made misplayed a single off the bat of Josh Anderson into a double, plating Santiago. Placido Polonco reached base on an error by Casilla, scoring Anderson. Michael Cuddyer played a single into a triple by Clete Thomas, scoring Polonco. The inning produced five runs by the Tigers, who could have easily been retired without scoring a run if Casilla had bothered to throw the ball home. Two errors and another misplay later and the Twins had dug themselves a hole they could never hope to get themselves out of.

After a quick inning, Blackburn gave up a couple of homers in the fourth for three additiaonal runs, sending him to the showers and bringing in flamethrower R.A. Dickey, who inexplicably got people out. But it was too little, too late, as the Twins had nothing against Porcello. Jason Kubel had three hits and the rest of the squad managed just one over his sevne innings of work. The feeble Twins bats couldn't even do anything against Juan Rincon.

Time for a team meeting, and perhaps a player move or two. Casilla, I'm talking to you.

Studs:

1. Jason Kubel: He didn't scald the ball, but he did pick up three hits on a night when the whole team managed just four.

2. R.A. Dickey: He stopped the bleeding when the Tigers were teeing off on Blackburn. Who knew?

3. Jesse Crain: Good to see a scoreless inning in his first opportunity since being activated from the DL.

Duds:

1. Nick Blackburn: He just had no command on this night. And he seemed to allow the fielding miscues behind him to rattle him. In a season of bad starts by our starters, this was the worst. The Tigers are not exactly hot right now.

2. Alexi Casilla: Two misplays led to five Tiger runs in the second inning. The non-throw on the relay that allowed the slow-footed catcher to score from first on a double was the kind of mental error that should be punishable by a benching (or worse). Oh, and he had two more feeble strikeouts when it might have meant something.

2. Delmon Young: Skates needs some sharpening. He got caught between trying for a slinding catch and pulling up to play the ball in front of him. The result was a ball that got by him, pouring gasoline on a smouldering fire.