Wasn't this the way it was supposed to be this year? Your light-hitting Twins scored runs on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly, but Scott Baker's seven strong innings (a run on four hits) and strong relief pitching slammed the door on Baltimore.
Minnesota shot itself in the foot early against Baltimore's Chris Tillman, bouncing into three double plays in the game's first five innings. In the sixth, though, Alexi Casilla tripled and went home on a wild pitch, and singles from Denard Span and Orlando Cabrera knocked the young Orioles starter out of the game. Jason Kubel eventually sacrificed Span home with a fly to left, giving Minnesota the lead it needed.
That old-school Twins defense made a comeback on Monday night, as well. Span ended the fifth by making a catch in the Twins bullpen while sitting on Jesse Crain's lap, and Casilla turned in an infield gem just moments before his triple. (Casilla, by the way, went 2-3 and is now hitting .202, proof that miracles do happen.)
Jose Mijares worked a perfect eighth, and Joe Nathan started out the ninth with a pair of strikeouts before being seized by the spirit of Eddie Guardado. Two full-count walks brought up highly-touted rookie catcher Matt Wieters, but he could only fan on a Nathan slider to end the game.
Once again, the Twins have won four straight, and are threatening to - be still, wildly beating heart - actually put together a five-game winning streak for the first time this year. Throughout the season, this has been the team's cue to crumple like a cheap bookcase; if they're serious about making a run, it'll have to be built on streaks like this one.The three stars of the night:
3. Denard Span
Two singles and two walks in four trips to the plate. We love Span very much, and for good reason - his OBP is nearing .400, second on the team only to you-know-who.
2. Joe Nathan
Never a dull moment with this guy, is there? He made it exciting, but three strikeouts is nothing to sneeze at.
1. Scott Baker
Now THAT'S what we were supposed to see, this year.
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