Coming into Friday, the Twins had won 7 of 8, with the only loss being by a score of 1-0. They'd been winning despite a lineup that could charitably be called "depleted," thanks in no small part to quality starting pitching that allowed Minnesota to manufacture enough runs to win.
That run came to an end on Friday, as the Texas Rangers hammered Brian Duensing for 7 runs in the second inning and never trailed in a 9-3 victory.
The nightmare second wasn't entirely Duensing's fault, as Jason Repko and Alexi Casilla both committed errors behind him, it rained enough for a small pond to form in front of home plate, and it sure looked like Mike Napoli looked at a third strike that was called a ball. However, when you throw 50 pitches in one inning, most of the responsibility falls on you. Texas had his number. If Duensing wants to take anything away from the inning, he did strike out both Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz.
The Twins offense, without an ailing Justin Morneau, a freshly disabled Denard Span, and almost everyone else your mom knows on the team, cobbled together a few runs against C.J. Wilson, but never anything resembling a sustained rally.
The temptation is to say, "Well, it was a nice run, here we go again." Don't. The Twins started a glorified split squad tonight, because they had NO OTHER OPTIONS. Duensing had a bad start after a week-plus of good ones. It happens. Feel free to throw this back in my face next Friday when they're on a six-game losing streak, but I'm not going to lose sleep over this one. If they get a quality start tomorrow, they've shown they can somehow get enough runs to win that kind of game.
Stud: Anthony Swarzak. Taking over for Duensing in the top of the third, Swarzak pitched the next six innings and saved the bullpen for the weekend. His final line: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1K, 0 BB, 101 pitches.
Honorable Mention: Drew Butera. He had three hits! Drew Butera! Exclamation point! Michael Cuddyer also notched two more hits.
Enjoy your weekend, everybody.