First things first: condolences to Jered Weaver, who pitched last night instead of Friday as a result of losing his grandfather. It's never easy to lose someone, and certainly it's preferrable to take more than a day to deal with it. Unfortunately, in professional sports that's not always a luxury afforded to its players, but no doubt the Weavers will move along in their own way.
Onto last night's game.
Weaver struggled but so did Brian Duensing, who allowed a first inning grand slam to put the Twins in a 4-0 hole. It was Mark Trumbo's 25th homer of the season; did you guys know a player was allowed to hit 25 homers in a season? Do the Twins know this? Danny Valencia helped Minnesota respond with his 15th of the season to lead off the top of the second, helping the Twins close the gap to 4-3.
But Duensing was pulled with one out in the bottom half of the inning with a right oblique strain, which adds him to a list that includes Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins, Francisco Liriano, Jose Mijares and Joe Nathan. (I'd include position players, but we're on a time schedule here...)
Lester Oliveros allowed a run over 2.2 innings, continuing what's been a mixed bag of results with the Twins. In four appearances he's been charged with five earned runs over 7.1 innings, along with 9 hits, 5 strikeouts and 2 walks. He's managed to avoid the walks that have haunted him and points in his career, but hopefully we see him string together a number of scoreless appearances at some point this month.
Down 6-3 with out in the fourth, Trevor Plouffe came up huge again with a bases-clearing double to knot it up. Plouffe is now 10-for-26 in his last six games with a homer, five RBI, five runs scored, three walks and five strikeouts.
The deciding factor was, no surprisingly, the pitching. Whereas the Angels' bullpen came in and didn't allow a run over four innings, the Minnesota 'pen wouldn't be quite so stingy. Phil Dumatrait, whose peripherals have threatened to catch up with his ERA all season (2.57 in July, 3.38 in August), allowed a solo shot to Vernon Wells in the fifth. It turned out to be the deciding run, although Peter Bourjos would add another off him in the sixth. Oh, and he'd allow two more runs later in the inning.
It has to be hard to be a member of the Minnesota front office this year. They're getting nightly reminders of just how poorly their last off-season was executed.
Trevor Plouffe (2-for-5, 2B, 4 RBI)
Tsuyoshi Nishioka (2-for-2, 2 BB)
Jose MIjares, Matt Capps (2.2 IP, 0 R)
Brian Duensing, Lester Oliveros, Phil Dumatrait (5.1 IP, 10 R)