When Scott Podsednik played Alexi Casilla like he had power with two out in the bottom of the sixth, it probably didn't seem much like a game-deciding decision to anybody. You could probably even justify it, saying that with Casilla's speed you didn't want anything getting over Podsednik's head. Alexi did have a big double earlier, after all. One dying quail later Joe Crede was hobbling home for a one-run lead, and that would be the ballgame.
Casilla was absolutely clutch. He picked up both of his hits in big situations where the team needed a hit, and if that double hadn't been of the ground-rule variety he could have had at least a triple instead of that two-bagger and at least one more run would have scored. With his speed and Podsednik's arm, he might have made it all the way around.
While the Twins picked up five walks on the night, a new band called Denard Span and the Bottom of the Orders provided the offense. The 7-8-9-1 hitters combined to go 5-for-12 with a double, all three runs batted in, two walks and a pair of stolen bases; the middle of the order collected one hit and a trio of walks.
The story of the night, though? Brian Duensing. He only lasted five innings, but it was enough. After being spotted a two-run lead in the second, Brian's only damage in his first major league start were the two solo home runs. Jayson Nix took a high, outside fastball and managed to pull it on a rocket into the left field seats, just over the outstretched glove of Span. Carlos Quentin and his geriatric legs carried him around the bases in the fifth when his shot to dead center field tied the game. Duesning threw just 64 pitches, 48 for strikes, mixing in everything he had. For whatever reason Chicago simply had no answer outside of those two well-connected hits, and would only manage one other hit and a harmless walk off the latest Twins rookie starter.
Jesse Crain threw a pair of scoreless innings while Matt Guerrier and Joe Nathan threw one each, giving Nathan his 29th save of the year.
Just like that the Twins have rattled off four wins and a huge sweep of the Chi-Sox to vault back into second place. It marks just the second time this year they've managed to win four consecutive (first time since May 21 - May 24), tying them for the longest winning streak of the season. Thursday is an off-day, but I'm hoping this momentum carries into the weekend.
While the team is riding this crest, I can't help but think this would be the ideal time to finalize a deal or two. Keep your fingers crossed.
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Stars of the Game
#3: Brian Duensing (5 IP, 3 H, 2 K, 1 BB, 2 R, .055 WPA)
#2: Jesse Crain (2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, .175 WPA)
#1: Alexi Casilla (2-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI, SB, .304 WPA)