Nick Blackburn didn't get torched. Alexi Casilla went 2-3 and scored the winning run. Joe Nathan blew a save, waved off Ron Gardenhire and threw 53 pitches. But other than that, you know, normal Twins game. Fortunately, lousy fielding and poor fundamentals are part of a normal Royals game, which contributed to a much-needed 5-4 Twins victory Friday night.
Things got off to an all-too-familiar start, with Blackburn (of course) getting the Twins into an early 3-0 hole (of course). HOWEVAH, Blackburn settled down and gave the Twins a 7-inning, quality start. Good to have you back, Nick. Been awhile.
Meanwhile, the Twins hitters finally broke through against Royals starter Luke Hochevar (pronounced "Luke") in the 6th, posting three runs with the help of a throwing error, a wild pitch and a galactically comical misplay of a Denard Span liner by Royals outfielder Josh Anderson, which allowed Span to circle the bases and tie the game. (Span was credited with a triple.)
After Span knocked in the go-ahead run in the 8th, all that was left was for Joe Nathan to close the door. He proceeded to retire the first two batters inf the 9th, and the visiting Twins fans in the crowd rose to their feet to cheer on Nathan as he...gave up a game-tying home run to something called Brayan Pena on a 1-2 pitch. He then almost lost the game completely, as the next batter, Yuniesky Betancourt, missed a home run by inches, settling for a double. Nathan was able to retire David Dejesus to send it to extras.
The Royals sent their own closer, Joakim Soria, out for the 10th inning. After giving up a 1-out hit to Alexi Casilla, Soria faced Orlando Cabrera, who shot one down the right-field line, where it was butchered by Josh Anderson's defensive replacement, Wille Bloomquist. Twins 5, Royals 4. Man, being a Royals fan just has to suck.
Nathan came back out for the bottom of the 10th, allowed two runners to reach, and was laboring mightily when Ron Gardenhire left the dugout to take him out of the game after the second out was recorded. Nathan waved him back into the dugout, much to the delight of the Twins' bench and anyone who remembers the name Jack Morris. On his 53rd pitch of the night, he coaxed Mark Teahen into lining out to Span to end the ballgame.
Weird things happen at Kauffman Stadium, is what I'm saying.