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Royals 10, Twins 5: Royals Rough Up Pavano, Thwart Comeback Attempts

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Twins drop series finale, but still take the series.

It was an odd afternoon.  The Twins jumped out to an early lead before Carl Pavano was demolished in a six-run third inning for the Royals.  Watching what should be a pathetic Kansas City offense tear him apart, well, he wasn't the first guy to get scorched.

What was even more frustrating was watching the Twins throw away so many opportunities to not just get back into the game but to tie it up.  Trailing 7-3 in the bottom of the fourth with two out, the Twins managed to load the bases before Justin Morneau watched two borderline pitches get called strikes, just to strike out on a curveball in the dirt.  Jim Thome struck out to end a bases-loaded threat in the seventh after the Twins had already scored a pair in the inning to pull within two at 7-5.  Morneau fouled off a couple of chances to tie the game (again) in the bottom of the eighth before Joakim Soria made him look silly, striking Justin out on an offspeed pitch that would have been ball four.

It was the closest the Twins would get, in the end.  Jesse Crain watched Alberto Callaspo jack his second three-run homer of the game in te top of the ninth, and that sealed the deal.  The last bit of drama came in the bottom of the ninth inning, when Soria hit Michael Cuddyer.  In was, incorrectly, ruled strike three, as homeplate upmpire Chad Fairfield (and third base umpire Bill Miller) insisted Cuddles swung at the pitch.  He didn't.  But Gardy was nearly ejected as a result.

A frustrating game in the short-term picture, but the Royals earned this one.  They were in the right spot on a number of hard-hit balls by the Twins, were active (and successful) on the bases, strung together a bunch of singles in the third and topped it all off with a couple of big Callaspo bombs.  Soria and Josh Rupe combined for 2.2 innings of solid relief at the end of the game, saving Luke Hochevar a win he didn't earn.

In the long-term, the Twins have won another series.  It's not going to happen, but a little perspecitve on a 9-4 record:  winning 69% of your games means 112 wins.  Just sayin'.

Game Notes

  • Denard Span picked up two more hits today, meaning he's 7-for-17 (.412) over his last four games.
  • Joe Mauer had another three-hit day.  Where's the other .622, Joe?
  • Alex Burnett gave the Twins 2.2 innings of very solid relief.  His first batter was Jose Guillen, who doubled to put runners on second and third with one out.  Burnett got out of the inning without surrendering a run, and in the end allowed just two hits while striking out four.  I'm glad he's back.
  • Ron Mahay went two innings, striking out three and allowing just one hit.  He is now known as "Grizz".  As in, "Grizzly Old Veteran".

Studs
Burnett/Mahay:  4.2 innings, 7 strikeouts, 0 runs
Mauer:  3 hits, 1 walk
Cuddyer:  Just one hit, but also an RBI and a big assist by nailing Billy Butler at third base
Span:  Anothe multi-hit day, including the Twins' only extra-base hit on the day

Duds
Pavano:  MELTDOWN CITY!
Morneau:  Two big strikeouts at critical moments...sorry, Canada
Crain:  Two baserunners isn't dangerous, until the guy at the plate hits one over the fence

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