After sweeping the Nationals, the Twins completed a sweep of the Diamondbacks yesterday with a 5-3 win which was propelled by a 5-run fifth inning.
Livan Hernandez went seven fairly strong innings, by his standards anyway. He allowed nine hits but all of them were singles, and in total three runs scored but just one was earned. Alexi Casilla and Delmon Young both had fielding errors, their fourth and sixth on the year, respectively. Hernandez walked one and struck out a season-high five and needed 104 pitches to go seven innings.
Jesse Crain and Joe Nathan each pitched hitless innings, with Nathan picking up his 19th save on the year. While Crain needed 18 pitches to record three outs, Nathan needed just eight; he also got a strike out.
Casilla and Brian Buscher were the heroes, each with two-run singles. Justin Morneau drove in the last run with a sacrifice fly.
It really was a game of missed chances for the D-Backs and luck for the Twins. Arizona’s LF, who normally plays first base, lost a fly ball in the Dome ceiling and had it drop in front of him to turn the situation from one out and a runner on first into runners on first and second with nobody out (key Buscher’s single).
Joe Mauer also had an excellent defensive move that probably saved at least a run. The Arizona batter was supposed to bunt but ended up pulling the bat away and Mauer was able to notice the runner at second straying too far towards third in anticipation of the bunt. An accurate, strong throw got him for the out.
The team also benefited from a pickoff by Hernandez and two double plays.
On the flip side, Buscher was caught stealing, Mauer was thrown out at second, and Mauer also grounded into a double play. But they found a way to win which is obviously the key.
That series should really be a booster for the team. After beating future Hall-of-Famer Randy Johnson, winner of 5 Cy Young awards, on Friday night and Brandon Webb, first-time Cy Young winner two years ago, yesterday, they can’t not be confident right now.
The team is off today but travels to San Diego for a 3-game series in an NL park, meaning pitchers will hit. Kevin Slowey is slotted to start the first game and the unfortunate thing about playing in California is that the game doesn’t start until 9 PM Central time. The first game should be interesting as the Twins continue a trend, facing Jake Peavy who won last year’s NL Cy Young award.