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Twins 11, Tigers 4: Span Triples Lead Twins Back Into First Place

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This is more like it. After falling into second place on Monday, the Twins beat the Tigers 11-4 Tuesday night at Target Field and moved back into first place, a half game ahead of Detroit. Offensively, Denard Span became the second player in Twins history (Ken Landreaux in 1980 being the other) to hit three triples in a single game. He ended the night 4-4 with 5 RBI and a walk for good measure. Jim Thome joined in the fun, going yard for his 572nd career home run.  On the mound, while Nick Blackburn's final line (7 IP, 7 H, 4 ER) may not look very good, it was a vast improvement over his other June starts, especially those away from Target Field. Blackburn finally had his sinker working again, as his pitches had noticeably more movement, producing 12 ground ball outs versus 5 fly outs. 

Studs, duds and notes follow after the jump.

Studs

  1. Denard Span: 4-4, 3 Triples, 5 RBI, BB. Contributed an astounding +6.42 runs offensively. We may not see that kind of production from a player again this season. He was a monster last night.
  2. Jim Thome: 1-3, 2 R, HR, RBI. Contributed +0.70 runs and added yet another home run to his impressive career.
  3. Nick Blackburn: 7 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO. Nick was hurt by a 3-run third inning, but he wasn't really hit hard, giving up a soft liner and a couple ground balls. Otherwise, the Tigers pounded the ball into the ground all night.

Duds

  1. Justin Morneau: 1-5, 3 SO. Contributed -1.12 runs. He's my only dud of the night.

Notes

  • The fans had a fun time with Span's triples. After hitting three in the first five innings, Span received a standing ovation when he came to the plate in the seventh. But after Enrique Rodriguez walked him on five pitches, the fans booed. Great stuff.
  • Michael Cuddyer again started at third base. While he'll never be a gold glover, he appears to be getting more comfortable at third. And if he can rate anywhere close to average defensively, it would be a major upgrade.
  • The Twins hit into only one double play, Orlando Hudson in the seventh inning.
  • Fu-Te Ni had a rough night. After relieving Armando Gallaraga in the fifth inning, Ni gave up four runs off two hits and four walks and only managed to get two outs.