Corey Kluber and Phil Hughes are among the American League's best pitchers this season. Kluber is likely to get more attention from Cy Young award voters than Hughes, and rightfully so, but on any given day either pitcher could easily come out ahead. Kluber gave the Indians three runs in seven innings, but Hughes was the better pitcher today.
Over seven innings, Hughes allowed just one run off of five hits. He struck out eight and didn't issue a walk, but perhaps the best thing you could say about him today was that Cleveland didn't have a single plate appearance with a runner in scoring position. Not just during Hughes' stint, but in the entire game. If you want to win, I guess that's one really good way to go about it.
Kennys Vargas propelled the offense for the Twins, hitting his fourth homer of the season in the bottom of the fourth. He took a sinker that didn't sink enough and muscled it the other way, dropping it six or seven rows into left field.
Zach Walters answered right away for Cleveland, hitting his seventh homer of the year in the top of the fifth. But it was all that the Indians could do against Hughes, who retired seven of the next eight hitters he faced.
Minnesota took the lead for good in the sixth. Vargas went for extra bases again, notching his third double of the year by bouncing the ball over the fence in left-center. After Oswaldo Arcia walked on four pitches, Trevor Plouffe came through with a big double to left. Vargas and Arcia scored.
Vargas and Arcia would pair for another Twins run in the eighth, as Vargas singled to lead off the inning and his pinch runner (Eduardo Nunez) stole second and then scored on an Arcia double. Casey Fien and Glen Perkins put down scoreless eighth and ninth innings, and Perkins notched his 32nd save of the season.
Damn it's nice to win. And it's fun not just watching Hughes pitch like the ace he's become, but it's fun watching the Twins win because the talent of those young guys is coming through.
- Ron Gardenhire came out for a pair of visits in the first, but didn't get himself tossed. He did issue a pair of challenges, winning one (Arcia's strong throw to nail Carlos Santana after Jordan Schafer dropped a Michael Brantley line drive) and losing the second (Schafer was ruled out trying to steal second - his first caught stealing with the Twins).
- In spite of giving up three earned runs today, Kluber's ERA in his last ten starts in 1.55.
- With an 0-for-3 day, Kurt Suzuki's average is down to .300. Mini-slump, or starting the regression to the mean?
- Schafer didn't have a good game considering the dropped ball and getting caught trying to steal second, but he was 1-for-2 with a walk. It's not Sam Fuld territory, but he's certainly been a better offensive presence for the Twins than it was for the Braves.
- Yes, it's a small sample size, and he has decent minor league numbers, but wow has Kennys Vargas been fun to watch. It'll come back to earth eventually, but we're getting a glimpse of the power he can generate.