Brett Cecil? Really?
Yes. The guy who's had a hard time keeping his ERA under 5.00 since June, and the guy who was lit up for 25 runs in 24 August innings, just shut the Twins down over six innings. Sure, Denard Span picked up his seventh homer to tie the game at one, and Orlando Cabrera finally helped the Twins plate one of their doubles on the team's fourth try, but no matter what the Twins did they had to fight and scratch for every inch. Everything they hit that wasn't a double (or Span's homer) found a glove.
It was pretty harsh.
Cecil wasn't that good. He only walked one, retired three on strikes, gave up seven hits (five of the extra-base variety), but he got the outs when he needed them. And so did Scott Baker, for the most part.
Baker, like Cecil, allowed four doubles and a home run. Home plate umpire Joe West did a fabulous job of squeezing the strike zone on Baker, who picked up seven strikeouts but on a couple of occasions saw his batter take what looked like strike three for a ball. On one occasion, a close call that went for a ball instead of strike three set in motion a chain of events that eventually led to Toronto's third run of the afternoon.
I'm not about to blame the umpires. Cecil did his job, no matter how mediocre he made it look. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau combined to go 0-for-8, even though every other starter reached base at least once: Span's homer, O-Cab picked up a pair of hits, Jason Kubel-Michael Cuddyer-Delmon Young had a hit each, Brendan Harris walked twice and Nick Punto had one of the Twins' four doubles. The ultimate problem was that the Twins couldn't get the hit when they needed it. They had their chances.
Ron Mahay and Jesse Crain got two outs each, finishing off the game for Baker. This runs Crain's scoreless streak to seven appearances, while Mahay hasn't allowed an earned run (just one, unearned) in three appearances with the Twins.
Twinkie Town now turns it's lonely eyes to the Royals, who are over-matched and out-gunned against the Tigers, yet are holding onto a 3-2 lead in the fifth as they go for the sweep. Cheer for the Royals, everybody.
Studs x 3
#3: Denard Span (1-for-4, HR, RBI, R, -.009 WPA)
#2: Orlando Cabrera (2-for-4, 2B, RBI, .063 WPA)
#1: Scott Baker (6.1 IP, 5 H, 7 K, 4 BB, 3 R, -.042 WPA)
Duds x 2
Joe & Justin: Sorry, boys. When you each go 0-for-4 on a day when the team needs offense, the axe will usually fall on you. Unfair though it may be, the expectations for production are there for a reason.