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Perkins Is Strong but Cuddyer Is Stronger, and the Twins Win Another Series

Royals give the Twins a couple runs, but even if they hadn't this one was going to Minnesota.

While the first inning was quiet, the second inning started with a bang.  Michael Cuddyer took Gil Meche's first pitch of the inning and launched another line-drive home run into the left field seats of gorgeous Kauffman Stadium to give Minnesota their first run of the afternoon.  It was the 12th of the year for Cuddles, and it's safe to say that at this point he's having the season we've wanted him to have since he lit up in 2006.

Meche did everything he could for the Royals.  Six hits and five walks don't necessarily look good, but one of the three runs he allowed lays at the feet of Alberto Callaspo, whose Bill Buckner-like five-hole error allowed Joe Crede's routine grounder turn from a third out into a run.  But none of Meche's walks scored, although Matt Tolbert's two-out walk in the sixth allowed Joe Mauer to step in and give the Twins their third run.

While Meche wasn't really bad, Glen Perkins was positively solid.  He allowed ten hits but didn't walk a single batter, and the ultimate number is one.  One, as in the number of runs he allowed.  From the start he mixed up all of his pitches, only relying heavily on the fastball once his offense had spotted him a 2-0 lead.  Kansas City did start to catch up with him a bit over the sixth and seventh, when they tallied half of their offensive hits on the day, but every time the Royals threatened Perk came back.  The defense backed him up with a pair of double plays, and outside of Carlos Gomez over-running a fly-ball that had already bounced off the fence, there weren't any miscues made by the Twins.

The Royals?  A different story.

In addtion to Callaspo's error in the third, the Kansas City bullpen ensured that any comeback attempt made by their offense would be as difficult as possible.  After Robinson Tejeda struck out Gomez and Brendan Harris to kick off the top of the eighth, Denard Span singled and stole second base.  Matt Tolbert followed that up with a single to score Span, advancing to second on the throw.  With Justin Morneau having been removed the previous inning due to tightness in his groin, Tejeda did the smart thing and intentionally walked Mauer to set up the force at third.  And then John Bale proceeded to walk two more, including Cuddyer with the bases loaded.  By the time Roman Colon came on to get the final out, the Twins held a 5-1 lead with just six outs remaining for the Royals.

R.A. Dickey mopped up in the eighth and got two outs in the ninth, before a single and a walk brought up the man who could make it a two-run game with one swing of the bat.  Ron Gardnehire did the right thing and brought in Joe Nathan to lock down the win, even if it was for a cheap one-out save, and Nathan did his job.  David DeJesus slapped a hard grounder to Brian Buscher at first base, who took it himself to retire the Royals for the final time in the series.

Right now I haven't seen any updates on the guys who had to leave the game, but here's the run-down for how it looks as of right now.

  • Morneau left due to the sore groin.  With an off day tomorrow and on Monday, the Twins have the luxury of keeping him in the designated hitter role over the weekend if they want to take it slow with him, unless it's something worse in which case he'll likely miss this series before Minnesota puts him on the DL retroactive to today.  We should find out by tonight whether this is an issue or a non-issue.
  • Nick Punto left with more soreness in his back, and he was slow getting up after getting taken out while turning a double play at the end of the sixth.
  • Mike Redmond also was removed, taking a foul ball off his forearm.  X-Rays are negative, but he does have a bone bruise.  He'll be sore for a few days.

Stars of the Game
#3:  Joe Mauer  (3-for-3, R, RBI, 2 BB, .160 WPA)
#2:  Michael Cuddyer  (1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, R, 2 BB, .155 WPA)
#1:  Glen Perkins  (7 IP, 10 H, 1 K, 0 BB, 1 R, .358 WPA)