In the game thread I said I'd be surprised if this offense scored more than three runs. Well...I'm surprised.
Even with the Indians team that was on the field today, I imagine that more often than not they would beat the squad that the Twins played this afternoon. But sometimes the stars align, and when you think back on this season about how well things have gone, in spite of all the injuries, it has to cross your mind sooner or later: there's something special about Minnesota Twins baseball in 2010.
Nick Blackburn pitched well this afternoon, surrendering a two-out run in the top of the first before locking it down. He retired the last 13 batters he faced, finishing with seven innings and allowing just five hits and a pair of walks. None of them later than with one out in the third inning.
Meanwhile, Carlos Carrasco was keeping what can only be described as the C-Squad lineup in check. After the celebration on Tuesday night, no doubt there were plenty of guys who were hanging...if not still a little drunk. Only Denard Span, Jason Kubel and Danny Valencia could quality as everyday players, and they hit first, third and fourth in the batting order.
They were 1-for-11.
It was the scrubs, the backups and the journeymen that did the heavy lifting. Alexi Casilla singled to lead off the bottom of the sixth, and two batters (and two outs) later Jose Morales and Matt Tolbert lashed back-to-back doubles to give the Twins their lead. Ben Revere added one more before the frame would end, and after the Indians had allowed just one hit through the first five innings (a Casilla triple in the first) they let it get away. The three-run inning was enough. Morales would come up with another two-out hit an inning later to score Casilla and Kubel, and the game was officially on ice.
In some ways, this game was a microcosm of the Twins season. In spite of having key players out of the lineup, a handful of unsuspecting heroes were able to put together enough offense to win the game. Morales and Casilla were the two big catalysts today, but Tolbert, Revere and even Jason Repko and Drew Butera played their parts
Beau was right this morning--this is the best collection of players we've seen in the Gardenhire era.