The Twins were aggressive on the base paths today, and it hurt more than it helped. In the first, Brian Dozier was caught between second and third when he tried to advance on ground ball hit in front of him. In the second, Kurt Suzuki led off with a double but was then thrown out at home on an Eduardo Escobar single when Adam Eaton came up with a fantastic relay to the plate. You can't blame Suzuki for that, I know, but it was still an out on the base paths. Sam Fuld stole third early but was caught sleeping in the sixth and was out at third. Danny Santana was caught stealing second in the same inning. So let's talk about something else.
Phil Hughes faced the minimum in the first, second, and fourth, and faced just one extra batter in the fifth. But that third inning ruined his outing, although the Twins were leading 3-0 at the time. Hughes loaded the bases before striking out Eaton, but Gordon Beckham and Jose Abreu each connected on the first pitch they saw and in a matter of moments it was the Twins who were down, 4-3.
Now let's take a moment to talk about Ron Gardenhire getting ejected. Again. This time he was actually ejected withotu leaving the dugout, which is kind of dumb on its own, for arguing balls and strikes...which is dumb, too. Basically, it was like both Gardy and home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn were taking out frustrations on each other. Rayburn for his part, wasn't getting all of his calls right. He'd missed a few. But it's also really hard to see that from the dugout. The maneuver didn't do much good anyway, as the White Sox added one ore run before the inning was out for a 5-3 lead.
But the Twins weren't done. Four Minnesota hitter reached in a row with one out in the fourth. Dozier flared one into the outfield off the end of his bat. Mauer hit his second RBI single of the afternoon up the middle, although it wasn't as ninja-style as the first. And Willingham picked up his second sac fly to top off a three-run frame, giving the Twins a 6-5 lead and letting Hughes off the hook.
After that, the Minnesota bullpen locked it down. Anthony Swarzak, Casey Fien, and Jared Burton combined for three perfect innings: no hits, no walks - just zeroes. They held the one-run lead in a game where the starter had to be done early, and they helped lead the Twins to a fourth consecutive win and - more importantly - a sweep of the Chicago White Sox.
- The win puts the Twins at 36-38, now two games in front of Chicago.
- Joe Mauer was seeing the ball well today, as he has all series. He was 6-for-16 in these our games, with six runs batted in.
- Kurt Suzuki didn't produce the runs, driving in two, but he did score twice after going 8-for-15 in the series.
- Eduardo Escobar is starting to come back to earth, having hit .242 in his last ten games. But he had three hits and a walk this weekend, and had a nice night on Friday when he drove in two.
- Danny Santana had an okay series, going 4-for-16 with a walk. He scored five times, so the Twins did a nice job of driving him in when he was on, but he too is slowing down: Santana is hitting .220 in his last ten games, with just two walks. This is what we always had to watch out for with Danny. He's a good contact hitter, but when the hits down't fall he doesn't get on base.
- Brian Dozier had a great series, going 6-for-13 with three walks, three runs scored, and two runs driven in.
- Minnesota out-scored Chicago 19-14. Only three of those runs were charged to the bullpen, and all of those belonged to Glen Perkins. In total, the Twins bullpen allowed those three runs in 12.2 innings, striking out eight and walking three.
NO DUDS TWINS WIN TWINS SWEEP WHITE SOX