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Mastroanni, Bullpen Shine, Twins Defeat Blue Jays 7-6


It wasn't pretty, but when a loss would put your winning percentage at .250 going into Mother's Day weekend, you will take what you can get. Thanks to some horrible pitching from the Blue Jays, timely hitting from a former Blue Jay and more (mostly) excellent work from the bullpen, the Twins emerged triumphant in the wee small hours of Saturday morning by a score of 7-6.

After a first-inning solo dong by Jose Bautista, the Twins rallied in the bottom of the frame thanks to some wildness from Toronto starter Kyle Drabek, who walked the bases full. Ryan Doumit lined a single to center to put the Twins ahead 2-1. Drabek continued to labor and put runners into scoring position, but Minnesota, as per their 2012 so far, was unable to push those runners across. How badly did he labor? He threw 50 to get the game's first four outs.

With the game tied 2-2, Denard Span drilled a double off the limestone in right to lead off the 5th, and after retiring Brian Dozier, the Jays finally removed Drabek from the game. Fortunately for the Twins, reliever Carlos Villanueva had an equally hard time with his control, and they finally capitalized. After a Joe Mauer walk, Josh Willingham blooped an opposite-field double to plate Span. Doumit was intentionally walked to load the bases, and with two outs, Villanueva walked Chris Parmelee to make the score 4-2. Rather than politely stop scoring, the Twins extended the inning thanks to a diamond cutter (baseball term) by former Blue Jay Darin Mastroianni to make the score 6-2.

Nick Blackburn, given some breathing room and on the verge of a quality start, proceeded to throw one right down the middle to Jose Bautista, who hit a line drive home run so hard that it probably killed a guy in the bleachers. After walking Edwin Encarnacion, he threw another gopher ball to Eric Thames, who hit it where the trees used to be. With the score 6-5, that would be it for Blackburn, who prior to the 6th was almost startlingly adequate, but five ER in five innings is still hot garbage.

After that, it was up to the bullpen and Mastroianni. Alex Burnett got them out of the 6th. Jared Burton and his beard pitched a 1-2-3 7th. Mastroianni lined a single to score his third RBI and make the score 7-5, which was good, since Glen Perkins came in and immediately gave up a home run to Encarnacion, then back-to-back singles. A nice double play initiated by Chris Parmelee and a diving catch by Willingham got them out of the 8th with a 1-run lead. Matt Capps, with a runner on third, got Bautista (!) to pop to third and end the game.

Studs: Mastroianni, Burton, Parmelee (that double play was huge), Doumit, Willingham

Duds: Blackburn, Drabek, Villanueva

Enjoy your weekend, everybody.