Denard Span started the game Friday night with a single. He promptly got picked off first base. Things only went downhill from there.
Francisco Liriano gave up seven runs in just an inning and two thirds. Along the way he walked two batters, hit two more, and gave up six hits. He was out of the game by 6:45. It wasn't a moment too soon: Minnesota was down 7-0, Magglio Ordonez had two singles and three RBI, and Carlos Guillen had just tripled in a pair of runs.
On the other side, Justin Verlander pitched pretty well for the Tigers, striking out seven and allowing just one run in his first five innings, on a Jason Kubel RBI single. In the sixth, though, he ran into some trouble, and had to be taken out of the game after just 5.1 innings.
Allow for me a moment to detail the Twins' sixth, which in its own way is a microcosm for the team's latest swoon. The inning began with five consecutive singles, which should be enough to score multiple runs, enough to get a team back in the game perhaps. Instead, Minnesota got one bare measly run. Orlando Hudson's single was erased when he got picked off first. Jim Thome hit the third single, and of course, two singles behind Thome can barely move the big guy all the way to third base. So bases loaded with one out for Delmon Young. If you have watched the Twins at all this season, you can guess what happened next. Rally over.
Minnesota did get another run in the ninth, and had runners on first and third with nobody out, but they went quietly thereafter - foul popup from Nick Punto, strikeout from Span, groundout from Hudson. Just your usual ho-hum Twins capitulation.
Some seem to believe that the All-Star Break will help this team, but I can't quite figure out how. Every night the starting pitcher puts the team in a giant hole, and if he doesn't, the bullpen falls apart, and if they don't, the hitters have managed to string together a mighty two runs. Every night it's something. The Twins can talk about all the trades they want, and they can look forward to Monday all they want, but if they keep playing this brand of poor, talentless baseball, nothing else will matter.Dud: Liriano, who redefines Dud, and might think about tattooing it on his forehead.
Stud: If pressed, I'll give you Jason Kubel, who drove in two of the three of the Twins runs.