Johan Santana did, as Ron Gardenhire said, “exactly what we thought he would”. Unfortunately, the Twins’ hitters looked like the 9 blind mice up there at the plate.

Don’t get me wrong, Barry Zito is a pretty good pitcher (former Cy Young winner). But, his stuff was not amazing today. He threw 92 pitches, 52 for strikes. At one point he had thrown 72 total pitches with only 39 of those being strikes. The Twins’ batters chased pitches out of the zone, and they did it often. The Twins were so impatient it was ridiculous. Here are the “stats” if you will of when a player swung and made contact with the first or second (or third, in one case) pitch: Justin Morneau – 2nd pitch, out. Torii Hunter – 1st pitch, out. Phil Nevin – 2nd pitch, out. Michael Cuddyer – 3rd pitch after 2 balls (one in the dirt), out. Morneau – 2nd pitch, out. Rondell White – 2nd pitch, double. Jason Bartlett – 1st pitch, out. Nick Punto – 1st pitch, out. Cuddyer – 2nd pitch, out. Morneau – 2nd pitch, out. Hunter – 2nd pitch, out. White – 1st pitch, homerun. Punto – 2nd pitch, out. Joe Mauer – 1st pitch, out. Cuddyer – 2nd pitch, triple. Morneau – 1st pitch, out. Hunter – 2nd pitch, groundout RBI. White – 2nd pitch, out. The most pitches in an at-bat for the Twins was 6, and that was in the first. Castillo had 4 at-bats, and saw a total of 18 pitches, including 3 at-bats with 5 pitches thrown. That’s the kind of stuff we need to see, because Castillo was the second-most productive hitter in the lineup today.

Castillo was 1-for-2 with 2 walks today.

The other productive hitter was Rondell, who batted 2-for-4 with a double and a solo homer. His double broke up Zito’s no hitter in the 5th and his homerun broke up Zito’s shutout in the 7th.

Mauer, Cuddyer, and Morneau went a combined 1-for-11 with Cuddyer’s Dome-triple being the only hit and Mauer’s walk as the only other time any of them got on base.

Johan threw 8 innings, 107 pitches, struck out 8 and gave up only 5 hits.

I still think we’re going to win the series, but it’s just a tough loss to take. Boof Bonser pitches for us tomorrow, once again at a noon starting time. The opposing pitcher is Esteban Loaiza, and Torii has great numbers against him. Nevin does not, so look for either Jason Tyner to be playing in left and Rondell DHing or maybe vice-versa.

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