In a quirk of Major League Baseball's rules, tonight's Twins victory counts exactly the same as the Twins' dominant, clutch-tastic performances on Tuesday and Thursday in Chicago. They, and we, will take it, but no one's going to brag about it in the morning.
The Twins were outhit 14-5. They fielded the ball, with a few notable exceptions, like it was coated in razors and smallpox. Leadoff men were automatically awarded first base because the umpires felt no reason to delay the inevitable. AND STILL: Minnesota 4, Oakland 3.
Minnesota got off to an early 2-0 lead thanks to the control problems of Gio Gonzalez, who allowed a bases-loaded walk to open the scoring. As Boof Bonser (!) warmed up in the bullpen, Gonzalez surrendered a single to Danny Valencia to plate the second run. Michael Cuddyer was about to score the third run, but Jason Kubel made an out on the bases before Cuddyer made it home, ending the inning. More importantly: no Boof.
Carl Pavano, who notched his 15th win, did not have his best stuff this evening, and his defense did him no favors. Oakland tied the score in the 4th on a Daric Barton triple and a Jack Cust "double," which was really just another Delmon Young Outfield Adventure (backpedal/stumble to the wall, ball bounces off glove, run scores).
The Twins took the lead back in the 4th when Valencia got his 2nd RBI, doubling in Young. Drew Butera executed a perfect suicide squeeze to knock Valencia in later in the inning.
Pavano pitched out of jam after jam until the seventh, when he exited with two on and one out. Ron Mahay LOOGY'ed Jack Cust, then Matt Guerrier entered, threw one pitch, and Alexi Casilla made a brilliant stab at short to end the rally.
As the top of the Twins lineup continued its game-long meh, the Twins bullpen continued to notch some tough outs. Guerrier and Jesse Crain somehow got out of a bases-loaded jam in the 8th unscathed, and turned the game over to Matt Capps. Capps left some fastballs right over the plate, Delmon Young had another Outfield Adventure (trapping a ball AND throwing to the wrong base), and Alexi Casilla flat missed a game-ending grounder. AND STILL: with runners on second and first, Capps got Rajai Davis to fly out to Denard Span to end the game.
No Studs, no Duds, just a win. Enjoy your weekend everybody. Let me know if that Scott Pilgrim movie is any good.