So this is what it's like to watch a starting pitcher dominate.
We're seeing pitching that hasn't been in a Twins uniform since the days of Johan Santana, it seems. Phil Hughes went 7 innings without allowing any runs while striking out 9, and a barrage of extra base hits gave him enough run support this afternoon.
It first started in the first inning, with two outs when Josh Willingham hammered a slider from Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman into the second deck down the left field line to give the Twins a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the second, Jays catcher Erik Kratz lifted a shallow pop-up to center field. Both middle infielders Eduardo Nunez and Brian Dozier retreated on the ball, but it clanged off Nunez's glove as he and Dozier collided. Kratz ended up with a double, and two innings later Dozier was replaced by Eduardo Escobar, citing lower back stiffness.
The Twins added another run in the 6th thanks to the torrid start of Kendrys Morales. His leadoff double started the inning, and then after an Oswaldo Arcia single, he was brought home on a sacrifice fly by Trevor Plouffe.
Then in the 7th, the Twins finally broke the game open. They loaded the bases against former Twin Bobby Korecky, which brought up Morales once more. Despite making a great pitch on the low, outside corner, Korecky could only watch as Morales slapped it into left-center field for a bases-clearing double, giving the Twins a 6-0 lead.
Jared Burton came in during the 8th inning and didn't pitch well, allowing two runs before Casey Fien cleaned up the mess. We have to wonder if there's something wrong with Burton because he's certainly fallen off a cliff from the past two seasons.
WP: Phil Hughes (7-2)
LP: Marcus Stroman (3-1)
S: Casey Fien (1)
Joe Mauer (3 for 4, BB, 2B), Josh Willingham (2 for 5, HR, 3 RBI), Kendrys Morales (3 for 5, 2 2B, 3 RBI), Phil Hughes (7 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K)
Jared Burton (2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K), Eduardo Nunez (0 for 4, tackled Brian Dozier and knocked him out of the game)