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Twins win ugly

Delmon Young singled home the game winner to lift the Minnesota Twins to a rare walk-off win 7-6 over the Baltimore Orioles Tuesday night at the Metrodome.

The win pulls the Twins into a tie for second place  in the American League Central Division with the Chicago White Sox, despite both teams playing .500 ball to this point.

The game was one of the sloppiest the Twins have played all year. The Twins started Armando Gabino, who had 12 professional starts in his nine-year minor league career. His inexperience showed as he was all over the place with his fastball, walking three and leaving with the bases loaded after giving up three runs in 2 2/3 innings.

His own defense didn't help his cause. With one out in the second dinning, a pick-off attempt ended up in the Orioles' bullpen, sending Cesar Izturis to third. In the same at bat, he scored on what would have been a double play ground out to short by Brian Roberts. With one out in the third inning, Gabino failed to cover first in time on a double play grounder to short. He later filled the bases with two outs and had an early exit.

The Orioles matched the Twins blunder for blunder through three innings, despite a terrific play by Felix Pie on a slicing gapper off the bat of Carlos Gomez. (OK, what's with he French pronunciation? The guy's name is Pie, as in Apple Pie. If he introduced himself to me for the first time as Pee-eh? I would have said, "You're shittin' me right? You're name is Pie and you'd rather go by a phrase a French Canadian uses when he's gotta go take a leak.") Anyway, great catch aside, the Twins took advantage of some poor pitching to string together three hits and score two runs. The big hit was a Denard Span triple to score Alexi Casilla and Young.

Philip Humber relieved "Garbino" (Bert's pronunciation) and had even less control, walking four--two with the bases loaded--in a full inning of work. Bumbler has a nice curve, but he doesn't know where his fastball is going half the time. He might just be the first of the pitchers acquired in the Johan Santana trade to get shown the door.

The Twins relief corps got steadily better after Bumbler left. Bobby Keppel was more like Dr. Keppel than Mr. Hyde on this night, holding the Orioles to one run over the next 2 1/3 innings. He was throwing strikes, which seemed to breath fresh life into the Twins, both in the field and at the plate. Jesse Crain relieved him and, amazingly, also threw quality strikes to breeze through 2 innings and give the Twins a chance to catch up.

Justin Morneau blasted a high fastball into the sky box and later started a rare double play. After a Pee-eh? double, Nolan Reimold popped up near the Orioles dugout. Both Joe Mauer and Morneau converged on the ball, with Morneau making the catch and Mauer stumbling into the dugout. Somehow Pee-eh? thought he could tag up on the play and was easily caught trying to go to third. This matched his bone-head play earlier in the game when Orlando Cabrera deeked him on a line drive single to right, getting him to run back toward first on a ball that easily could have sent him to third with his speed. The double play cost the Orioles at least a run, so Pee-eh? was even on the day, having saved them a run earlier with the great catch.

The heroes of the night--Young and Casilla--helped to tie the game in the (you guessed it) sixth inning. After Orioles starter Brian Matusz had retired six batters in a row,  the Orioles inexplicably brought in former Twins nemesis Brian Bass. In truth, B-Ass is only a Twins nemesis if he wears a Twins uniform. Right on cue, he allowed five base runners and three runs without retiring a batter before getting pulled. Despite a Mauer double play grounder and a Morneau ground out off of lefty Mark Hendrickson to to end the inning, the Twins took the field in the seventh with the game tied at 6.

Crain left the game in the ninth after giving up a lead-off double to Nolan Reimold. Jose Mijares came in and retired the three batters he faced to preserve the tie and give the Twins a chance to win the game in walk-off fashion.

The Orioles didn't just roll over, however. They had flame thrower Kam Mickolio pitch the last two innings and the Twins couldn't do anything off of him. At least until two were out in the ninth. After a Michael Cuddyer single and  Jason Kubel walk, Young got rewarded with a long, patient at bat to line a single to right. The 3-2 count allowed Cuddyer to be off with the pitch from second and score the winning run.

Studs and duds after the jump.

 

Studs:

1. Delmon Young: I think DHing suits him. On this night, he went 4-5 with 2 runs and the game-winning hit.

2. Alexi Casilla: OK, so he didn't get the bunt down. No worries, he got the job done by doubling off the baggie. 2-3 with a walk, 2 runs and an RBI

3. Jose Mijares: That was closer material. That change-up on a 3-2 count to strike out Matt Wieters and end the inning to strand the winning run on second was a thing of beauty.

Duds:

1. Felix Pie: I know it only cost them one run, but who tags up on a pop out near the dugout?

2. Philip Humber: My God man, throw the ball over the plate! You can get guys out with your stuff. Try it some time. It has to be better than nibbling and walking guys.

3. Armando Gabino: Hate to pick on the new guy, but he doesn't belong in this role. Talk about thrusting a guy into a pressure cooker with no experience. The results were predictable.