Twins starter gets knocked around early, putting the team in a deep hole? Check. After cruising through a 1-2-3 first inning, Anthony Swarzak began the second by hanging a breaking ball to Marlon Byrd. Texas up 1-0. Home runs in the third by Julio Borbon and Byrd's second of the game put the Twins in a 4-0 hole.
Missed opportunities with runners in scoring position? Check. In the top of the 6th, down 4-0, Denard Span and Orlando Cabrera started off the inning with back to back singles. Joe Mauer hit a screaming liner to third, which Michael Young snared. One out. Michael Cuddyer followed with a single to load the bases, chasing Texas starter Derek Holland. Enter flame throwing Neftali Feliz. After lining a 98 MPH fastball straight back, Joe Crede's bat shattered into a million pieces with a weak grounder right to third base. Double play, end of inning, end of threat.
Gardy leaves starter in an inning too long? Check. After gutting his way through a single and a walk in the 5th, Swarzak trotted out to start the bottom of the 6th after the Twins rally fell short. Nelson Cruz said "Thank you very much", driving a home run over the left field fence. 5-1 Rangers. Swarzak's body language said it all. He was cooked. After a walk to Taylor Teagarden (one of the great names in baseball), Gardy had finally seen enough.
Mediocre middle relief throws gasoline on the fire? Check. Enter Bobby Keppel. Elvis Andrus double, Borbon double, Young double. Texas up 8-1. Exit Bobby Keppel. Thanks for playing.
Twins play out the string, failing to mount a threat down 7 runs? Check. After the 6th, the Twins failed to get a runner to second base.
Notes, studs and duds follow the jump.
Notes from last night's game:
Delmon Young's hot streak continued with a solo home run to left field in the 5th inning. He was 2 for 4 in the game, and is now batting .267/.290/.857 with 5 HR and 13 RBI in August. His season OPS is approaching .700 (now at .687).
Justin Morneau sat out the last three games with an inner ear infection and dizziness. He flew back to Minnesota yesterday to see a specialist and see if additional medications will help.
- Neftali Feliz is really good. He looks like this year's version of 2002 K-Rod or 2008 David Price. While his long term future is in the Rangers rotation, Texas is doing the right thing to limit his innings and pitch him in high leverage late game situations. Nolan Ryan has really built a solid core of young pitchers, with Holland, Hunter, Feliz, and others.
- Joe Mauer was robbed of line drive hits a few times yesterday by a diving Josh Hamilton in center field, third baseman Michael Young, and Marlon Byrd in left field. He could easily have been 4 for 4. Let's hope he's not 3 hits short of batting .400 this year.
1. Marlon Byrd: 2 HR, 4 RBI, Byrd put Texas up for good in the third.
2. Neftali Feliz: Ended the Twins threat in the 6th, allowing only a Redmond single in 1.2 innings.
3. Julio Borbon: 3 for 5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. Showed some pop for a speedster.
1. Bobby Keppel. Three batters, three doubles.
2. Joe Crede. 0 for 3 with the key GIDP in the 6th.
3. Jeff Manship: 5 hits in 1.2 innings. Some of the hits were quite unlucky (grounder that Cabrera could have had, etc.), but he may have been lucky to give up only 2 runs.