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The Minnesota Twins continued their horrible start to the 2011 Major League Baseball season, getting swept by the Detroit Tigers with a 4-2 loss on Wednesday night at Comerica Park. The loss was the fourth in a row for the Twins, and their tenth in the last twelve games.
Detroit did all of their damage early against Twins' starter Scott Baker, who was coming off of a strong outing in his previous start. The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning on a single by Alex Avila that scored Victor Martinez. They then increased their lead in the bottom of the third, thanks to a three-run home run by Miguel Cabrera off of Baker, making the Detroit lead 4-0. That was all the scoring that the Tigers would get on the afternoon. . .but, as has too often been the case against the 2011 Minnesota Twins, four runs was far to much for the Twins to overcome.
The Twins remained scoreless until the seventh inning, until they got on the board courtesy of a two-run homer by Drew Butera. . .yes, that Drew Butera. The homer was just the second of Butera's big league career, and cut Detroit's lead to 4-2. The Twins then proceeded to load the bases in that same inning, but shortstop Trevor Plouffe struck out looking against Al Alburquerque to end the threat, and the Twins didn't seriously threaten again the rest of the way.
Baker wound up taking the loss for the Twins after allowing four runs and seven hits in six innings of work, dropping his record on the season to 2-4. Rick Porcello got the victory for Detroit, allowing two runs on six hits in six innings of work, and his record on the season is now 5-3. Jose Valverde retired the Twins in the ninth to earn his fourteenth save of the 2011 season.
No rest for the Twins after this one, as they'll move on to Kansas City to kick off a four-game series with the Royals on Thursday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:10 PM. The pitching match-up will see Anthony Swarzak (0-2, 3.60 ERA) attempt to follow his brilliant last start with a similar performance, while the Royals will counter with Sean O'Sullivan (2-4, 6.75 ERA), who was victorious over the Twins back on April 30 in a 11-2 Kansas City rout of the Twins.
As has been the case more times than we would like to discuss this season, the Minnesota Twins enter Wednesday night's game in Detroit needing a victory to avoid being swept out of another series.
The Twins have dropped the first two games of their three game set at Comerica Park against the Detroit Tigers, each by one run. They lost Monday afternoon's game by a score of 6-5 on a controversial call by one of the umpires, and they lost on Tuesday by a score of 8-7 as the bullpen, once again, could not hold a lead.
Tonight, the Twins will try to avoid the sweep by sending right-hander Scott Baker (2-3, 3.65 ERA) to the hill. We all remember what happened in Baker's last start, as he pitched seven brilliant, shutout innings against the Angels, only to see the bullpen implode once again in a 6-5 Minnesota loss. Hopefully he can pitch a similar game this evening and snap the Twins' latest slide.
Detroit will send right-hander Rick Porcello (4-3, 3.93 ERA) to the mound in this one. Porcello's last start was not a very good one, as the Boston Red Sox got to him for six earned runs in just three innings pitched in a 6-3 Tigers' loss back on Friday.
You can follow all of the in-game action by jumping into the Game Thread over at Twinkie Town, and we will have a recap of things for you once the action has finished in Detroit.
On Tuesday night, the Minnesota Twins scored more runs than we've been accustomed to seeing during this 2011 season. Unfortunately, they did give up a bunch of runs. . .which we have become accustomed to this season. . .and wound up dropping their third straight game with an 8-7 loss to the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.
The Twins once again got on the board first in this one, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on Delmon Young's single that brought Danny Valencia around to score. They added two more in the top of the third inning, with the first coming on Alexi Casilla's sacrifice fly that scored Matt Tolbert, and Justin Morneau followed that up with a solo home run to right field, just his second of this 2011 season, to make the score 3-0.
In the bottom of the fifth, however, things fell apart for Twins' starter Brian Duensing, as the Tigers exploded for six runs. Brandon Inge and Ryan Raburn led off the inning with consecutive singles for Detroit, and after a strikeout, Austin Jackson singled to right to score Inge and make the score 3-1. Casper Wells then smacked a ground rule double to left center, plating Raburn to make the score 3-2 and giving the Tigers runners on second and third with one out.
Then, Brandon Boesch grounded one to shortstop Matt Tolbert. Rather than taking the out at first, Tolbert inexplicably attempted to cut down Wells heading to third, and ended up throwing the ball away. Jackson and Wells both scored on the play, giving the Tigers a 4-3 lead. Duensing stayed in long enough to intentionally walk Miguel Cabrera, and was then lifted after 4.1 innings pitched.
Anthony Slama then entered the game for Minnesota, and he was greeted by Twins killer Victor Martinez lacing a double to left. Boesch came around to score to make it 5-3 in favor of Detroit, but left fielder Delmon Young gunned down Cabrera at the plate as he attempted to score from first for the second out. Jhonny Peralta then followed that up with another double to score Martinez and make the score 6-3.
To the Twins' credit, they didn't just roll over, getting a run back in the top of the sixth. Justin Morneau led off the inning with a walk, and advanced to third on a single by Michael Cuddyer. Jim Thome then lifted a fly ball deep enough to center field to score Morneau to cut the deficit to 6-4.
Minnesota then took the lead back in the top of the seventh off of Tigers' starter Max Scherzer. Rene Rivera led the inning off with a single, and after Tolbert struck out, Denard Span singled to put runners on first and second with one out. Alexi Casilla's groundout moved both Rivera and Span up 90 feet, and Rivera came home to score on Scherzer's wild pitch to make the score 6-5. Morneau then pounded a Scherzer offering over the right field wall for a home run, his second of the day, to give the Twins a 7-6 lead as Span scored ahead of them.
Jose Mijares made his return in the bottom of the seventh, and looked just like the Mijares of old. . .which means that, yes, the Tigers tied the ball game. Boesch led off the inning with a single, and after moving around the basepaths, scored on Peralta's sacrifice fly to make the score 7-7.
After the Twins did nothing in the top of the eighth, Phil Dumatrait came in for the bottom of the eighth, and the first two Tiger hitters reached base. After a sacrifice bunt by Wells, Boesch lifted a fly ball to right to score Danny Worth with what proved to be the winning run, giving the Tigers an 8-7 lead. The Twins mounted a minor threat in the top of the ninth, getting runners to first and second with one out, but Morneau struck out swinging against Tigers' reliever Joaquin Benoit, and Cuddyer grounded out to end the ball game.
Al Alburquerque got his second victory in two nights for the Tigers, lifting his record for the year to 3-1. Benoit got credit for the save, his second of the year. Dumatrait took the loss for the Twins, and it was his first decision of the 2011 season.
The Twins will attempt to avoid the sweep on Wednesday evening in Detroit, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:05 PM. The Twins will send Scott Baker (2-3, 3.65 ERA) to the mound, and the Tigers will go with righty Rick Porcello (4-3, 3.93 ERA).
The Twins lost on Monday due to a bad call by third base umpire Gary Darling in the bottom of the eighth inning that allowed Jhonny Peralta to score on what wound up being a ground rule double by Alex Avila that a fan had interfered with. Peralta should have been made to stop at third, but the umpires conferred and allowed Peralta to score what wound up being the winning run. The loss was the second in a row for the Twins, and again dropped them to the worst record in Major League Baseball.
Thanks to a slight delay in getting this posted, they are already underway at Comerica Park, with the Twins holding a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second thanks to an RBI single by Delmon Young. Be sure to follow all of the action in tonight's Game Thread over at Twinkie Town, and we'll have your recap back here for you when everything finishes up in Detroit.
Sometimes in sports, you have to take on the opposing team. . .and, as Minnesota sports fans know all too well, sometimes you have to take on the opposing team and the officials at the same time. That was the case at Comerica Park on Monday afternoon, as a terribly blown call by third base umpire Gary Darling allowed the Tigers to score the winning run and send the Twins to a 6-5 loss.
It looked, initially, like it was going to be a long day for the Twins, as they got two runs in the bottom of the first inning courtesy of a Brandon Boesch RBI groundout and a solo home run by Miguel Cabrera off of Twins' starter Nick Blackburn. The Tigers added another run in the third when Alex Dirks' double allowed Brandon Inge to come around to score, increasing the Detroit Lead to 3-0.
Minnesota started mounting a comeback in the top of the fourth, however, as Michael Cuddyer drove in Jason Kubel with a single to right, cutting the lead to 3-1. The Twins then exploded for four runs in the top of the fifth. Danny Valencia led off the inning with a double, and came home to score on a single by Rene Rivera, cutting the Tigers' lead to 3-2. After a walk to Denard Span, Alexi Casilla reached on a bunt single to load the bases for Minnesota, and Kubel's single to right brought home Rivera to tie the game at three, leaving the bases loaded.
Justin Morneau then lifted a fly ball to left field that was deep enough to score Span from third, and give the Twins their first lead of the afternoon at 4-3. Cuddyer then singled to center, bringing home Casilla and increasing the lead to 5-3, but that's all the Twins would get, as Jim Thome and Delmon Young were retired to end the inning.
Unfortunately, the Tigers got two more runs in the bottom of the sixth, when Victor Martinez took Blackburn out of Comerica Park to right field for a two-out, two-run home run to tie the score at 5. That's the way things remained until the bottom of the eighth, when the controversy happened.
Alex Burnett came in to pitch to start the bottom of the eighth, and quickly got the first two outs on a ground out by Cabrera and a strike out of Martinez. Jhonny Peralta then reached base on an infield single, giving the Tigers a runner on first with two outs. Up came Tigers' catcher Alex Avila, who laced one towards the shorter fence that Comerica Park has along the left field line. A fan. . .at least one fan, anyway. . .leaned over the railing and touched the live ball that was still in play, which should have resulted in a ground rule double for Avila and the Tigers having runners at second and third with two outs.
However, third base umpire Gary Darling inexplicably awarded Peralta home plate, basically declaring that he would have come around to score on the play, despite replay showing that Peralta was just barely around second base when the illegal touch happened. The umpires converged, decided as a group that they wanted to make the incorrect call, and allowed the run to stand, giving the Tigers a 6-5 lead.
Twins' manager Ron Gardenhire was, quite rightfully, furious with the call, came out to argue things with Darling, and was subsequently tossed. Burnett struck out Ryan Raburn to end the inning with no further damage being done. Unfortunately, the Twins could get nothing done off of Tigers' closer Jose Valverde in the top of the ninth, and were sent to their second straight defeat.
Burnett was saddled with the loss for the Twins, thanks to the run that never should have happened, and his record on the season drops to 1-4. Al "I Knew I Should Have Taken That Left Turn At" Alburquerque got the win for the Tigers after pitching a scoreless eighth inning, moving his record on the year to 2-1. Valverde's save was his thirteenth of the season.
The same two teams will get together tomorrow night at Comerica Park, with first pitch scheduled for 6:10 PM. As it stands now, the pitching match-up will feature lefty Brian Duensing (2-5, 4.83 ERA) taking the mound for the Twins, with the Tigers sending righty Max Scherzer (6-2, 3.86 ERA) to the hill.
Starting Monday afternoon, the Minnesota Twins will travel to Comerica Park for a three-game series with the Detroit Tigers, a team that they have yet to beat this season, in hopes of trying to get themselves back on the winning track.
The Twins and Tigers have played two games against each other this season, both of them at Target Field, and both of them resulting in losses for Minnesota. The Twins lost 10-2 to the Tigers on May 10, and 9-7 on May 11.
In the hopes of getting a victory today and potentially avoiding another losing streak, the Twins will send Nick Blackburn (4-4, 3.20 ERA) to the mound this afternoon. Blackburn has been the Twins' best starter as of late, having gone 3-0 with a 1.72 ERA in his five starts during the month of May. He was particularly brilliant in his last start on Tuesday, pitching a complete game as the Twins defeated the Seattle Mariners by a score of 4-2.
The Tigers will send veteran right-hander Brad Penny (4-4, 4.45 ERA) to the mound on Monday afternoon. Penny had posted an ERA of 0.83 in his first three May starts, but then got bombarded by the Pittsburgh Pirates, giving up five runs and six hits in 5.1 innings of work in a game the Tigers lost 10-1. In his last start, he pitched three scoreless innings against the Tampa Bay Rays before a rainout postponed the game.
First pitch for this one is scheduled for 12:05 PM Central time from Comerica Park. You can check out the Game Thread over at Twinkie Town for all of the in-game action, and come back here for your recap when everything has finished in Detroit.