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Braves 7, Twins 3: Delmon Young Homers Again, but Big First Inning Sinks Slowey, Twins

If you blinked during the first inning, by the time you opened your eyes it was 4-0.

I'm still not quite sure what happened during the blitzkrieg of the first inning.  Single, double, walk, single, double, and in the span of just 22 pitches an under-gunned Twins offense was in a deep hole.

Martin Prado had his second big game in a row, collecting three more hits (including a homer) to bring his average up to .332.  Stud rookie Jason Heyward snapped out of his funk just in time for the end of the series, picking up two of his own hits (including a double).  And of course, old nemesis Troy Glaus jacked two big home runs.  His first, where Slowey was squeezed on a couple of very close pitches, saw the second deck.  His second was off Jose Mijares.

Before we talk about Ron Gardenhire's lineup construction, let's talk about Kris Medlen.  He ate this offense up and spit them out, especially over the first six innings.  Nick Punto's walk to lead off the fourth and Jason Kubel's double in the fifth accounted for all of Medlen's base runners until the seventh inning.

In the seventh Delmon Young continued what's been a theme for him in 2010, and came up with the Twins only ghasp of life in the game.  Young followed Joe Mauer and Michael Cuddyer singles with his own blast into the second deck in left field, putting a crooked line onto Medlen's final line.  It was Delmon's eighth home run on the season, and now only trails Justin Morneau on the team.

For the record, Young is now on pace for more than 20 home runs and 100 RBI this season.

After the second home run by Glaus, Jesse Crain relieved Mijares.  Crain walked a hitter before finishing the frame, then began the eighth inning with back-to-back base runners.  He was removed and rescued by Brian Duensing, but I have to go back to what I said about him this morning.  How long is his leash?

Aside from Young's home run, this game belonged to Medlen and the Braves.  Of course, Gardenhire didn't give his team any help.  For those of you who missed it, here's the lineup from this afternoon:


Atlanta Braves @ Minnesota Twins

06/13/10 2:10 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves Minnesota Twins
Martin Prado - 2B Nick Punto - 2B
Brooks Conrad - 3B Trevor Plouffe - SS
Jason Heyward - RF Joe Mauer - DH
Brian McCann - C Justin Morneau - 1B
Troy Glaus - 1B Michael Cuddyer - CF
Eric Hinske - DH Jason Kubel - RF
Yunel Escobar - SS Delmon Young - LF
Melky Cabrera - LF Brendan Harris - 3B
Gregor Blanco - CF Drew Butera - C

Allow me to point out the top and bottom of this batting order, where Nick Punto's .297 OBP led off, followed by Trevor Plouffe's .150 OBP.  At the bottom of the order, Brendan Harris sported a .243 OBP, while Drew Butera's .171 brought up the rear.  That's about an easy stretch of four players that a pitcher can ask for.

Why?  Because with a day off tomorrow, Gardenhire wanted to give Denard Span two days off in a row.

That's a fair argument, because Span hasn't had a day off all season.  The guy's earned a breather.  But on a day like today, where you're DH-ing Mauer and keeping both Thome and Valencia on the bench, it's a poor decision.  I didn't understand it around noon when I saw the lineups, and it's not any clearer now.

If Gardy wanted to give Span two days off in a row, here's a crackpot idea:  do it on Tuesday, when Hudson comes off the disabled list and the top of the lineup gives all of those fantastic bats in the middle of the order somebody to drive in.

The Braves
Delmon Young

Kevin Slowey
Gardenhire's lineup construction