Toronto's biggest highlight of today's game was a great play by Brett Lawrie at third base. With the Twins already leading 1-0, Drew Butera put down a good bunt with Trevor Plouffe bearing down on home from third. Butera's bunt was just a bit too hard though, and Lawrie's flip made it home in time for J.P. Arencibia to apply the tag.
The rest of the game belonged to Scott Diamond, who again managed to do what no other Minnesota starter has done all season long: throw seven shutout innings. Once again he induced an overwhelming number of ground balls (64% of balls in play) but he also did all of the things you need starters with mediocre stuff to do: not getting behind, but fighting back when it happens; throw strikes; get hitters to chase. With the exception of a few fastballs that the Blue Jays put some good wood into, including one that was run down by Denard Span at the wall in the right-center field gap, Diamond was on his game.
Minnesota's first run came off the bat of Brian Dozier, who pulled a Ricky Romero changeup into the left field seats. It didn't look like Dozier actually put that good of a swing on the ball. With two more hits today Dozier now has three multi-hit games already under his belt, and raised his line to .267/.290/.400. He also helped turn a nice double play, snagging a Ben Francisco liner and catching Edwin Encarnacion off second base. Considering that Encarnacion had led off that inning with a double, it was an important play: it increased Minnesota's odds of winning by 12.6%.
The Twins put up three more in the fifth, thanks to Josh Willingham taking a bases loaded walk and Ryan Doumit coming through with a two-run single.
Jared Burton had his first rough day in a while, loading the bases twice and allowing one run while recording just one out in the eighth. Glen Perkins allowed two of the runs to score, one on a wild pitch, but he managed to hang onto the lead for Matt Capps in the ninth...who, thankfully, looked pretty good.
With the win the Twins move to 10-24, picking up a game on the Indians while splitting the series with Toronto. Notes, studs, and duds after the jump.
- Joe Mauer added a double and three walks to his season resume, and has now walked 23 times on the season (11 in the last 10 games) compared to just 12 strikeouts. He's hitting a pedestrian (for Joe) .286 and slugging just .387, but he's getting on base at a .406 clip.
- For a guy who isn't actually having THAT good of a season, Doumit has come through with some big hits. He's driven in nine runs in his last eight games.
- Trevor Plouffe has been getting a chance to play everyday, but he hasn't been taking advantage of the opportunity. Last week he made six starts and was just 4-for-20. If Valencia does start hitting and earn his way back up, it'll be Plouffe's spot he takes.
- In his last five games, Erik Komatsu is 5-for-16 with three walks. At this point I'm not sure what that means, but thought it was worth noting.
- Jamey Carroll's slow start might be starting to turn around, just a little bit. In his last 10 games he's hit .265 with three walks and three stolen bases. Since Dozier's arrival on the 7th, he's 6-for-20 with two walks. Having a number nine/two hitter who could get his on-base percentage into the .330 to .340 range would be a good start to piecing together an offense.
- Perkins hasn't had the start to the season we anticipated, and he did allow two inherited runners to score today, but here's the silver lining: in his last 10 appearances he's struck out 11 and allowed just eight hits.