A lot of what we saw today was hauntingly familiar. The struggling offense managing to package together just a few runs, the starting pitcher keeping the opposition under wraps...and the bullpen set up to lock the game down. But this time the job was done.
Brian Duensing was superb. While he struggled through the third and the fourth, by keeping his head and with a little help from Jason Repko he was able to overcome his rough patch and finish strong. After leaving the mound at the end of the sixth and on the cusp of 100 pitches it was expected that he would be finished. But back out he came one more time, and with the exception of the first out against the right field wall he coasted through. Duensing finished the afternoon with seven great innings, allowing just two runs on seven hits and a pair of walks. He struck out five.
Both Repko, Kubel and Delmon Young played big parts in today's win. Repko's outfield assist and diving grab on the warning track were things of beauty. Kubel, meanwhile, wasn't fast enough to get to a ball in the fourth that allowed the Rays to temporarily take the lead back at 2-1, but he did make a couple of integral catches against the right field wall. Young, with Tampa trying to threaten in the eighth, snagged a ball off his shoe laces to keep a runner at first and record a pivotal first out. Alexi Casilla's smooth start to a double play ended Tampa's threat.
Offensively the Twins again struggled to score runs. Kubel muscled a ball over the fence in left to help the Twins draw even at one in the fourth, but the final three runs came from some unlikely places and a little assistance from the Rays. Michael Cuddyer's double started the fifth, and STEVE HOLM! singled hard up the middle to get the rally started. Repko's liner plated Cuddyer to knot the score.
With one out and STEVE HOLM! at third and Repko at first, Repko tried to steal second and on a good throw would have been out by seven years. Instead, Kelly Shoppach's throw sailed away, STEVE HOLM! scored, and Matt Tolbert's triple brough in Repko to give us the final score.
Today's lineup was B-Squad city. Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Joe Mauer are on the disabled list, Justin Morneau has the flu, and Denard Span had the day off. But thanks to STEVE HOLM! in the 8-hole and Repko hitting ninth, each of them collecting a pair of hits apiece, the Twins put together enough runs to get the job done.
You know what? The Twins won. That's all that matters today. Thanks to Glen Perkins and Matt Capps for being able to close the deal, and hopefully we can make it two in a row tomorrow.