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Twins 4, Tigers 1: Baker Solid in Return as Bullpen, Offense Back Him Up

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Scene: Jesse is out. He checks his phone, sees the final score of the Twins game.

Jesse: YEAH! The Twins won!

British Person #1: Pardon?

Jesse: The Twins. My baseball team. They won.

British Person #2: Baseball, isn't that essentially rounders?

Jesse: [Punches British person #2 in mouth]

British Person #1: See, now that is why the rest of the world despises America.

Jesse: [Punches British person #1]

Part of this story may not have happened. Recap, and Jesse not having a loose tongue, after the jump.

I saw all of Baker's start tonight, before I went out. He was who I wanted to see. If the Twins are going to make a run at October, and let's be real for just one second real quick and acknowledge that said run is easier said than done, Baker is going to have to be a big part of it.

It's probably fair to say that nobody was really sure what we'd see from Baker today. He'd been outstanding all season, with that rising fastball (it doesn't actually rise, ask physics people), and in his return he certainly looked when he had to. Certainly not the most efficient performance we've seen (82 pitches through five innings), but Baker did strike out five tigers and put a big zero in his runs scored column. The Tigers managed just three singles and a walk, and two of those hits were in the first inning. Two of Baker's strikeouts came on fastballs (screw you, pitchfx, we know Baker doesn't throw a sinker), and three came off his slider. At times today, that pitch was filthy.

On the offensive side the Twins gave Baker just enough for the win. In the first, Michael Cuddyer picked up his one hit of the day and scored Ben Revere on a single. In the second, Danny Valencia took the hapless Brad Penny into the second deck in left field for a solo shot. Minnesota made it 4-0 in the fourth when Delmon Young doubled off the wall in right-center field, scoring Valencia and Jason Kubel (whose rehab program may have included all-you-can-eat-buffets and little else...did anyone else think he looked chubbier than usual?).

That was all the offense the Twins would get today, although they'd also threaten in the third and eighth innings. Anthony Swarzak let the Tigers get on the board by allowing a run off three hits in the sixth, but Phil Dumatrait, Glen Perkins and Joe Nathan strung together scoreless seventh, eighth and ninth innings to set the outcome in stone.

With the victory the Twins come back to six games behind the Tigers, and look to make it five with another three o'clock start tomorrow. See you then!

Studs

Revere, Mauer, Cuddyer, Kubel, Young, Valencia, Nishioka, Baker, Dumatrait, Perkins, Nathan

Duds

Nobody today except Tesco, who close at midnight on a Saturday. Who does that?