Crain nearly bails out Twins.
I know it was Cleveland, but Jeff Manship proved me wrong in my pre-game assessment of him yesterday afternoon. His low-90's fastball (it wasn't 94, no matter what the radar gun said) looked pretty good, and he complemented it with what was, at times, an exceptionally big curveball. Manship got himself out of trouble on a few occasions, getting a big double play to eradicate a threat, and allowing just two runs over six innings. He struck out six and walked just one.
The Twins took an early lead out of the gate, as Justin Masterson didn't look too sharp in the first couple innings. Four singles in the first led to two runs, and Denard Span's first home run of the season made it 3-0 in the top of the seventh. After that Masterson settled in, cruising through seven innings before giving up another solo shot to Justin Morneau in the top of the eighth. The Indians had scored a pair of runs in the middle innings, but Justin's bash gave the Twins some much-needed insurance at 4-2.
Brian Duensing pitched a scoreless seventh and Matt Guerrier pitched a scoreless...two outs in the eighth. Three hits later, none of them home runs, Cleveland knotted the game at two. Guerrier just couldn't get the final out and his pitch count climbed. He became exceptionally careful after allowing the first run, but the Indians fought off his nibbler's approach for two runs.
Alex Burnett had an interesting night. After a walk and a sac bunt in the bottom of the tenth, Lou Marson tried to come home on a Grady Sizemore single up the middle. Span came up throwing, threw a strike to Drew Butera at the plate...and Marson ran him over like a truck. But Butera held onto the ball to maintain the 4-4 tie. It was an incredible play. Burnett later struck out Austin Kearns to end the inning and swing momentum back to the Twins.
Michael Cuddyer and Jim Thome walked and J.J. Hardy singled, all with one out in the eleventh. With the bases loaded, the hero of the bottom of the tenth stepped in. Butera quickly grounded into a double play.
In the bottom half of the frame, Burnett loaded the bases with nobody out. The Twins went to Jesse Crain, who actually looked pretty damn good for the second game in a row. A shallow flyout and a strikeout later, Asdrubal Cabrera took a 1-1 pitch and grounded into right field for the walkoff win.
Burnett was pretty on and off last night, and deserves the loss in this one. Crain threw strikes and looked like he was in control of the situation at all times, in spite of walking into bases loaded situation with nobody out. Sadly, asking anyone to get three outs without surrendering a run in that situation is nigh on impossible.
Notes, studs and duds after the jump.
- Nick Punto made a couple of nice stops at third base today. Sadly he went 0-for-4 at the dish.
- Ron Mahay did his job. Again.
- Joe Mauer is supposed to be day-to-day with his heel, and as a result Wilson Ramos is being called up from triple-A. Anybody else looking forward to seeing what he can do?
#3: Jim Thome (Two big RBI early in the contest)
#2: Denard Span (Three hits, including his first bomb of the season)
#1: Jeff Manship (Good, solid six innings)
#1: Matt Guerrier (Allowed the Indians to tie the game in a two-out rally)
#2: Alex Burnett (Set up the loss...twice)
A Little of Both
Drew Butera (Followed up the play of the game with a killer double play....bummer)
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