Twins At Giants: Lincecum Outduels Duensing In 2-1 Giants' Victory

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Twins Drop Second Straight With 2-1 Loss To Giants

In what turned out to be a pretty good pitcher's duel at AT&T Park, the Minnesota Twins dropped their second straight game to the San Francisco Giants by a final score of 2-1 on Thursday afternoon. The loss marks the first time since May 31 and June 1 that the Twins have lost consecutive games following an eight-game winning streak.

The Giants got out to an early lead in the bottom of the second inning, thanks to an RBI groundout by Giants' shortstop Miguel Tejada scored Pablo Sandoval to give San Francisco the early lead. The teams then traded zeroes until the bottom of the eighth inning, when the Giants got an insurance run on a Cody Ross single to score Aubrey Huff, making the score 2-0.

Things got interesting in the top of the ninth when Brian Wilson and his beard came in to try to pick up the save for the Giants. Wilson started the inning by walking Alexi Casilla, and Michael Cuddyer followed that up with a double that brought Casilla around to score, making the score 2-1 and giving the Twins a runner in scoring position with nobody out. Delmon Young then struck out swinging, and Danny Valencia lined out to left field for two quick outs. Luke Hughes then grounded one to Sandoval at third. Cuddyer was running on contact, and when he saw Sandoval going for the ball, he attempted to prolong things by turning around and heading back to second. Sandoval. . .sadly. . .was able to run Cuddyer down for the third out, and the game came to an end.

Cuddyer had three of Minnesota's four hits on the afternoon. Ben Revere had the other.

Tim Lincecum (6-6, 3.16 ERA) was dominant for the Giants, as he held the Twins scoreless on just three hits in seven innings of work. He also struck out a dozen Minnesota hitters, including striking out the side in the seventh inning before being lifted for Javier Lopez. Lopez pitched a perfect eighth before turning things over to Wilson, who got his twenty-first save of the year.

Brian Duensing (4-7, 4.54 ERA) took the loss in this one, allowing one run on six his in 6.2 innings of work while striking out five and walking two. Alex Burnett got one out to complete the seventh inning for the Twins, and Glen Perkins pitched the eighth, allowing a run on two hits.

The Twins fly back east to start a three-game interleague series against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night at Miller Park. First pitch for that one is scheduled for 7:10 PM Central time. The pitching match-up for that one will see Twins' right-hander Scott Baker (5-4, 3.24 ERA) going up against Milwaukee's Randy Wolf (5-4, 3.15 ERA).

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Twins At Giants: Lincecum Stands In The Way Of Another Twins' Series Win

The Twins may have faltered last night, but the phrase "winners of nine of their last ten" is music to any team's ears. Minnesota will try to earn that description in Thursday afternoon's series finale in San Francisco.

The defending World Champions, who broke their five-game losing skid with a 5-1 victory last night, will send their ace Tim Lincecum to the mound. While the shaggy-haired hurler is always a threat to shut a team down, he hasn't been sharp lately. Lincecum is 0-2 with a 7.80 ERA in his last three starts. His control has been the main concern--he walked five batters in his last outing against Oakland.

Minnesota will counter with Brian Duensing, who unlike Lincecum is building off some positive momentum. Duensing pitched six strong innings allowing only two runs to the Padres his last time out.

If the Twins want to leave their first trip to San Francisco in six years with a series win, they may have to even out the catcher battle a little more. One would think "Joe Mauer vs. Eli Whiteside" would be an easy victory for Minnesota, but the Giants have got the better side of the deal in this series. Whiteside hasn't exactly lit the world on fire since becoming the full-time catcher for the injured Buster Posey, but he has four hits, four RBI and a homer in the first two games of the series. Meanwhile, Mauer has struggled since his long stint on the DL, going 3 for 20 with two RBI.

The Twins won't have veterans Jim Thome or Joe Nathan back today, but look for them to be activated from the DL for tomorrow's game.

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Vogelsong Shuts Down Twins As Giants Win, 5-1

The Minnesota Twins' longest winning streak of 2011 came to an end on Wednesday night, as San Francisco Giants' right-hander Ryan Vogelsong shut down the Minnesota offense by allowing just one run on three hits in seven innings of work. The Giants got plenty of offense, and went on to win by a score of 5-1.

The bad luck for the Twins started with one out in the second inning. With Cody Ross on first base, Giants' shortstop Brandon Crawford grounded one to Tsuyoshi Nishioka at shortstop. Nishioka threw to second in an attempt to start the double play, but second baseman Alexi Casilla could not hold on to the ball, allowing Ross to slide safely into second and letting Crawford reach first. Eli Whiteside then made the Twins pay for not getting out of the inning by slicing a triple to center field that let both Ross and Crawford score, giving the Giants an early 2-0 advantage.

The Giants extended their lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the sixth when Whiteside contributed another RBI single. The Twins' lone run came in the top of the seventh inning when Michael Cuddyer and Delmon Young led off the inning with singles, putting runners on first and third. After Danny Valencia and Luke Hughes struck out, Tsuyoshi Nishioka beat out an infield single to score Cuddyer to temporarily cut the deficit to 3-1.

Aubrey Huff answered for the Giants in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI single to make the score 4-1 in favor of San Francisco, and the Giants capped the scoring in the bottom of the eighth when Emmanuel Burris reached on an error by Nishioka, allowing Andres Torres to come around and make the score 5-1.

Vogelsong (5-1, 1.86 ERA) didn't need much help, as he was perfect for the first four innings and allowed just the one run in his seven innings of work. Nick Blackburn (6-5, 3.15 ERA) lost for the first time since April 28, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits in six innings pitched.

The two teams will meet in the rubber game of the series on Thursday afternoon at AT&T Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 2:45 PM Central time. The Twins will give the ball to left-hander Brian Duensing (4-6, 4.82 ERA), while the Giants will counter with one of the game's best, two-time Cy Young Award-winning right-hander Tim Lincecum (5-6, 3.39 ERA).

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Eight Is Enough For Twins In Victory Over Giants

The Minnesota Twins got off on the right foot on Tuesday night at AT&T Park to open their series against the San Francisco Giants. The Twins scored eight runs in the first inning, as the first eight hitters of the evening all got hits and Minnesota pounded San Francisco by a score of 9-2 to pick up their eighth consecutive victory.

Giants starter Madison Bumgarner (3-9, 4.06 ERA) only managed to get one Twin out before he was lifted, and that was when he got Twins pitcher Carl Pavano (5-5, 4.05 ERA) on strikes to prevent the Twins from setting a Major League record with nine straight hits to start a ball game. The Twins had to settle for being the first American League team to start a game with eight consecutive hits since the New York Yankees did it on September 25, 1990 against the Baltimore Orioles.

Here's how the first inning went for Minnesota:

-Ben Revere singles to left-center
-Alexi Casilla doubles to left, Revere moves to third
-Joe Mauer reaches on infield single, Revere scores, Casilla to third (1-0, Twins)
-Michael Cuddyer doubles to left, Casilla scores, Mauer to third (2-0, Twins)
-Delmon Young singles to center, Mauer scores, Cuddyer to third (3-0, Twins)
-Danny Valencia double to left-center, Cuddyer scores, Young to third (4-0, Twins)
-Luke Hughes singles to left, Young and Valencia score (6-0, Twins)
-Tsuyoshi Nishioka doubles to deep center, Hughes to third
-Carl Pavano strikes out
-Revere doubles to left, Hughes and Nishioka score (8-0, Twins)
-Casilla reaches and moves to second on an error by Pablo Sandoval, Revere moves to third
-Mauer lines into double play with Casilla getting doubled off of second

That was all the Twins would need, as Pavano put together another outstanding start, going eight innings and only allowing two San Francisco runs while scattering nine hits. Jose Mijares came on and pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to finish the job for the Twins.

Minnesota added one final run on Casilla's solo home run in the top of the ninth inning, his second consecutive game with a home run.

The same two teams will go at it again on Wednesday night at AT&T Park, with the first pitch being scheduled for 9:15 PM Central time. The pitching match-up for that one will see right-hander Nick Blackburn (6-4, 3.16 ERA) take the hill for the Twins, while the Giants will counter with right-hander Ryan Vogelsong (4-1, 1.92 ERA).

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