Once again, I'd like to divert three of today's runs to Saturday afternoon's contest. Done? Good.
It's not like Brian Duensing was unhittable, or perfect in hitting his spots. But he did what other, more "talented", Twins starters haven't been able to do this year on a consistent basis, and that's get outs when he needed them. Oakland managed a number of base runners over Duensing's seven innings, landing eight hits and a trio of walks, but every time it seemed like Brian was getting into trouble he found a way to slither out and come away unscathed.
Rajai Davis has been a bright spot for the A's this season, filling in pretty well as a leadoff hitter and more or less finding his role. But he's been a bit of a frustration at times as well, and today he was picked off first base to lead off the game before getting caught stealing later in the afternoon. Going into 2010, Davis is definitely one of the players for A's fans to look forward to, given his ability to reach base while being a pretty good defender in center field.
While Davis excelled in the leadoff role today (three hits and a walk in five PA's), Denard Span matched him. Just without the outs on the bases. Span reached base four of his five times at the dish, scoring twice while shifting over to right field before the game.
Those lineups I posted for the game thread were taken from LEN III's pre-game blog over at the Strib, but apparently between the initial lineup card and the first pitch both Justin Morneau and Jason Kubel were scratched due to soreness. The result was a rather lopsided offense for the Twins, with Delmon Young moving all the way up to the five hole. Luckily, Span, Orlando Cabrera, Joe Mauer and Michael Cuddyer did most of the damage, combining to go 8-for-14 with three walks.
Yes my friends, that is outstanding work.
With those four guys pounding it out at the top of the order, the game was made pretty easy. Duensing got out of trouble, Bob Keppel and Joe Nathan finished the game off, and for whatever reason the A's couldn't just string together the hits necessary to scratch across a single run. As did the Twins on so many occasions this season, they had their opportunities and just couldn't get the job done.
It was great to see the Twins win again, and they're going to have to do a lot of it over these last three weeks. 19 games left, seven against the Tigers. Torii Hunter and the Angels took down the White Sox, moving the Twins back into second place in the AL Central, so can Minnesota still snag this division at the last possible second? Maybe. The battle continues tomorrow.
#5: Orlando Cabrera (1-for-3, BB, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, .052 WPA)
#4: Denard Span (2-for-3, 2 BB, 2 R, RBI, .059 WPA)
#3: Michael Cuddyer (3-for-4, 2 RBI, .124 WPA)
#2: Joe Mauer (3-for-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, .128 WPA)
#1: Brian Duensing (7 IP, 8 H, 6 K, 3 BB, 0 R, .189 WPA)