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Twins 6, Indians 4: Baker Dances Around Line Drives, Twins Win Fifth Straight

This baseball is about to get poleaxed.
This baseball is about to get poleaxed.

Scott Baker juked, faked, and sweated his way through seven innings, allowing nine hits on approximately forty-seven line drives. He struck out five and didn't walk anyone, but really, it only happened because the Indians kept smashing line drives directly at fielders. They lined out straight to Ben Revere in right a couple of times. The Twins defense turned a double play on a line drive to second in the first inning, this after the Indians had started the game double-homer-single and it looked like Baker would never get an out. The Indians smashed the ball all over, and given that the Twins collected an assortment of bunt singles and bloop doubles to score several of their runs, if I were an Indians fan, I'd be incredibly angry at fate.

The Twins got two in the second inning thanks to singles from Michael Cuddyer and Delmon Young, a Josh Tomlin wild pitch to move along the runners, and then a clutch two-out, two-run single from Matt Tolbert. Young also somehow managed to beat Shin-Soo Choo's throw home, shocking when you consider Choo's arm (good) and Delmon's speed (not good).

In the fifth, Luke Hughes led off with a double, and the Indians helped him around with some ugly bunt defense. First, Tomlin couldn't throw accurately to retire Tolbert on a bunt. Then, Drew Butera plated Hughes with a safety squeeze, and for good measure nobody really covered first base, putting Butera on. Ben Revere singled to load the bases, and Alexi Casilla grounded into the double play to score the fifth Twins run.

Young also doubled home Cuddyer in the sixth, though in this case "double" means "lazy pop fly behind second base that found a gap between three fielders."

Baker began the eighth by giving up a single to Asdrubal Cabrera and then foolishly plunking Grady Sizemore with two strikes, but Jose Mijares got Carlos Santana to hit into a double play. Mijares also got Choo to ground out to first base, but umpire Adrian Johnson blew the call and ruled Choo safe, allowing the run to score. Alex Burnett had to come on to strike out Matt LaPorta to end the inning.

A few other thoughts:

  • A quick between-innings clip showed the Twins bullpen acting out a bobsled run on their way to the bullpen. Apparently, this is part of a plan to do something silly every week, part of the relievers' new strategy of "laughing to keep from crying." I expected the bobsled to crash Jamaican-style on the warning track, but this did not happen, perhaps showing that the bullpen is a little less self-aware than maybe they should be.
  • Mijares made his first appearance since June 4. Naturally, he started by throwing three straight pitches out of the strike zone, though Santana helped out by swinging at one of them. Matt Capps later bested him by walking the leadoff hitter in the ninth on four pitches.
  • Tomlin threw his first two wild pitches of the season, both of which assisted the Twins in scoring runs. For the Twins, Burnett threw a wild pitch that could not have traveled more than fifty feet in the air.
  • Your studs are Tolbert, for his two RBIs; Mijares, for getting what should have been three outs in his return; and a tie between Cuddyer and Hughes, both of whom had a double and a single.
  • Your duds are Baker, for being more lucky than good; Butera, for once again failing to hit the ball more than a hundred feet from the catcher; and the 0-for-4 trio of Casilla, Denard Span, and Justin Morneau. Bench them all! (Kidding!)

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