Jeff Manship gave the Twins five solid innings in his first major league start to keep the Twins in the game against John Danks and the White Sox. Manship left after throwing 80 pitches in five innings--more than he had thrown in almost a month. Manship's only glaring mistake was a belt-high fastball to Alexi Ramirez, who deposited into the left-field bleachers for a Sox one-run lead.
Michael Cuddyer had two homers to deep left in the game and nearly broke several hands in the dugout high fiving teammates after his dingers. The first homer opened up the scoring for the Twins, who were stymied through four innings by Danks. The Twins scored single runs in the fifh, sixth and seventh innings to open up a 2-1 lead. Besides Cuddyer's homers in the fifth and seventh, Denard Span contributed a triple and scored on a sac fly by Orlando Cabrera in the sixth.
Jesse Crain continued his resurgence in the Twins bullpen, throwing two uneventful innings to bridge the gap to the Twins primary set-up men. That's when the trouble started for the Twins. Jose Mijares came in to pitch the eighth with two lefties coming up in the inning. Mijares walked Scott Podsednik on four pitches, bringing Ron Gardenhire out of the dugout for a quick hook. Gardy called on Matt Guerrier, who gave up a two-run homer to Gordon Beckham on the first pitch he saw before retiring the Sox with the game tied. Jon Rauch pitched a solid ninth to set up the heroics in the bottom of the inning. Rauch has pitched two innings for the Twins and gotten two wins. Lucky him.
Jason Kubel led off the bottom of the ninth with a solid single to right center off of Matt Thronton. That makes three hits in his last two games off of left handers. Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen brought in Tony Pena to face three consecutive right-handed batters. Cuddyer just missed another homer, flying out to left. But Brendan Harris singled up the middle, sending pinch runner Nick Punto to third with one out. After Carlos Gomez struck out on a nasty slider down and away, Gardy pinch hit Morales for Alexi Casilla. Morales laced the second pitch he saw into right center for the game winner. And the whole team gathered in the middle of the diamond to maul the kid who got a walk-off hit in his first major league at bat since July.
It was an exciting finish that helped the Twins keep pace with the Tigers, who thrashed the Indians tonight. The Twins will go for another home sweep of the Sox tomorrow afternoon. It'll take the opportunity to play hookie with my son still out of school and watch Brian Duensing face Mark Buehrle for the finale. See you at the Dome!
Jeff Manship: Gave the team more than it could reasonably ask for. He got ahead with a good moving fastball down in the zone and used off speed pitches to get them out.
Michael Cuddyer: Another two-homer game. Easy on the Shotokai high fives Magic Man.
Jose Morales: All this kid has done is hit. I hope he gets a few more chances before the season is out.
Jesse Crain: On a night when the starter couldn't go more than five innings from lack of stamina, he threw two huge innings with nothing across.
Matt Guerrier: Seems to be in a slump. Hopefully he pulls out of it like Joe Nathan did.
A J Pierzynski: 0-4 with 3 LOB. What is this guy doing hitting third?