Johan Santana wasn’t on his best form, but let’s be honest: It isn’t after the All-Star Break yet, so our expectations should be low. He pitched 5 innings, extending his streak of consecutive 5-inning starts to 98 games, gave up 7 hits and 2 walks, but just the one run. The run came after he gave up a single and threw two consecutive wild pitches, then giving up a ground-rule double. He also struck out 5 and right now leads the Majors in strikeouts.
The bullpen did a great job last night, throwing 4 hitless innings to keep the lead for Johan. Even though they walked 4, they also struck out 4 and Joe Nathan got his 8th save of the season.
The Twins got lucky to win it, though. Boston’s pitcher struck out 7 and only allowed 4 hits through 6 innings. Jason Tyner grounded into a fielder’s choice to score our first run and Jason Bartlett hit the very next pitch to the third baseman, who wasn’t charged with an error but didn’t field it properly, to score the final run for the Twins.
Bad news all around for the team: Joe Mauer seems to have strained a muscle in Friday’s game and sat out last night and will also sit out today’s game (which starts at 1 PM on Fox). He said it’s been bothering him all season, but he’s never been sore until recently. To read more about it, check out Joe Christensen’s article about him.
Also, Michael Cuddyer will probably miss today as well; his back is still bruised from his tumble while running to third. The Twins have an off day on Monday, and then play 3 games at Chicago and 3 games at Detroit, so we really need these two back for those series. It seems like Matt LeCroy would be first in line to get called up to catch, but AAA catcher Jose Morales has been doing good this season so he might be the choice instead (because, let’s face it, none of us would feel comfortable with Luis Rodriguez behind the plate managing a pitcher like Sidney Ponson).
With Mauer and Cuddyer out, only two regulars in the lineup have hit homers this year: Justin Morneau and Torii Hunter. The big 4, plus Rodriguez, are the only Twins to hit dingers this year.