Jason Bartlett hit a 1-out double in the first. Joe Mauer followed with a 4-pitch walk. Torii Hunter saw one pitch and grounded into a double play. I was nearly certain that it would set the tone for the rest of the game, but I couldn’t have been more off. 10 Twins had at least 1 at-bat and only 3 of them had batting averages less than .400 for the night. Mauer was 1-for-5 with a run scored and a walk, Rondell White was 1-for-4 with 2 RBI, and Nick Punto was 0-for-5. Everyone else had at least 2 hits, except pinch hitter Jason Tyner who singled and would later score. Torii ended up with 3 hits, 4 runs, and a stolen base. Bartlett was 3-for-6 with an RBI and a run (coming from his 4th homer of the year) but he also struck out 3 times. Alexi Casilla had 3 singles and 2 RBI in 6 at-bats, while Justin Morneau had 2 hits in 5 at-bats, including a 2-run single in the 7th (to bust the game open from 6-3 to 8-3). Michael Cuddyer had 2 hits, including his 20th double, and 2 runs scored, with an RBI and 2 walks. I don’t want to leave Mike Redmond off the list, who had 2 hits, 2 RBI, and a run scored. Both of his hits were patented singles.

 

Matt Garza continued to pitch very effectively, giving up 3 runs over 7+ innings pitched. He faced 3 batters in the 8th and they all reached. He was aided by just 2 strikeouts but 3 double plays. He allowed 9 hits and walked 2, and he did a great job of putting a leadoff triple by Jose Lopez to waste. In total Garza had 10 fly outs but 9 ground outs, a pretty good ratio.

 

Pat Neshek and Joe Nathan needed just 23 pitches to finish off the game with Pat collecting a strikeout and Joe getting 2 Ks in his first game since August 5th.

 

The important thing now is for the Twins to carry this to today’s game, an afternoon series-decider that starts at 3:30. Scott Baker looks to keep the team in it, after giving up 6 runs the last time he pitched.

 

Detroit won and Cleveland lost yesterday, but it’s because they played each other. The Twins are 7 back in the division, but if they win and the Indians win tomorrow it will be a 6-game deficit to both teams.

 

Jason Kubel‘s strained oblique muscle feels better and the team thinks they can keep him off the DL. He will take live batting practice on Friday and final decisions will be made after that. Third baseman Brian Buscher will start rehab from his infected leg with the Red Wings of Rochester. He can come off the DL on August 22nd.

 

Sources in the Boston area are reporting that outfielder Wily Mo Pena will be released or traded by this Friday. Wily can play all 3 positions in the OF and is only 25 years old. In 2004 he had 26 home runs in 110 games, followed up with 19 home runs in 2005 in 99 games played, and had 11 homers, 15 doubles, and 2 triples last season in 84 games played. He still probably isn’t finished developing as a player and if given significant playing time, he would definitely be an improvement over Rondell or anyone else we could put at the DH spot. He seems like a guy that Terry Ryan would want to go after; young, cheap, has power potential and is a better pinch-hit option than Luis Rodriguez or Jason Tyner. However, I’m doubtful Terry will try to do anything for the rest of the year, and there really isn’t anything he can do anymore to help propel the team to the playoffs. He feels the team can win with what they have. As far as I’m concerned, Carmen Cali could be sent down even before any roster move would be made, but that would be how I’d handle making room for Pena on the roster.

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