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Twins 4, Royals 2: Twins Snap Losing Streak as Baker Strikes Out Nine

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Winning is sooooo much better than losing...

We were all thinking the same thing in the second inning: here we go again. Kila Ka'aihue led off with a homer, and a Lucas May followed up a walk and a double to make it 2-0. The idea of two straight sweeps was enough to make you sick, but at that point it almost felt inevitable.

And then Scott Baker rediscovered himself. He struck out Jai Miller and Jarrod Dyson (who are these guys?) to end the inning, and went onto work around a double in the third and five more baserunners between the fourth and fifth. Just 57 of his 100 pitches went for strikes, but the "effectively wild" route might have worked. Sure, it was the Royals, but by the end of the game the first five batters had struck out 12 times combined. And plenty of those belonged to Baker, who managed nine strikeouts in just five innings.

While the slumping Jason Kubel and the still-slumping Denard Span went hitless, the Twins managed to put together enough offense to make their comeback. Michael Cuddyer and Danny Valencia singled, and Jason Repko walked, all with one out to load the bases. And Drew Butera, of all people, came through with a single to left. Alexi Casilla was too fast for a double play, and thanks to the bottom of the order the game was tied at two.

The MVP for the offense on the night, however, was Delmon Young. He yanked a Gil Meche changeup deep into left field...and it hit the seats about four inches fair of the pole. His line drive single up the middle scored Orlando Hudson in the ninth for an insurance run, and that's your final score.

Matt Guerrier struck out four in 1.2 innings of work, and combined with Brian Fuentes and Matt Capps to pitch four scoreless innings of relief.

Notes, studs and duds after the jump.

  • Delmon's two RBI give him 110 on the season.
  • His homer? Number 20. He's now batting .300/.336/.493. Not a bad season from Delmon, we'll take it.
  • Jason Kubel has regressed the hell out of this season. He's hitting .178/.200/.342 in September.
  • In his last ten starts, Baker is 5-0 with a 3.18 ERA. He's only pitched 56.2 innings in that span, but considering he'll be in the bullpen for the playoffs I think we'll take that.
  • Where Baker struggled: throwing first-pitch strikes to left-handed hitters. Just five of 12 first pitches to lefties were strikes.
  • Two of his first three pitches were strikes just 45% of the time.
  • The fastballs were okay (even if he was high in the zone) in terms of strikes, but the off-speed offerings were called for a strike just 51% of the time.
  • No doubt the Royals hit him hard, posting a .440 on-base average a .350 well-hit average of at bats.

Studs
Baker
Young
Guerrier-Fuentes-Capps

Duds
Span
Kubel
Games 1 & 2 of the series