The Minnesota Twins knew they had their work cut out for them on Sunday afternoon against Phillies' ace Roy Halladay, and they responded in a manner befitting one of baseball's best teams.
Paced by the outstanding work of Carl Pavano, the Twins beat Halladay and the Phils 4-1 on Sunday afternoon to give them a series victory over Philadelphia in their interleague matchup. After watching rotation mates Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey struggle in earlier games in the series, Pavano did the charitable thing and decided to give the Twins' bullpen the day off, going the distance and nearly fashioning the shutout, with the lone blemish being a fifth-inning solo home run to Phillies shortstop Wilson Valdez.
The Twins took a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Orlando Hudson singled, stole second, and came around to score on a single by Joe Mauer. Span added to that lead in the top of the fifth, lifting a solo home run off of Halladay to make the score 2-0 in favor of the Twins. In the top of the sixth, Justin Morneau led things off with a single, and advanced to second on a throwing error by Ryan Howard. Morneau moved to third on a Michael Cuddyer groundout, and came in to score on a single by Jason Kubel. Morneau closed out the scoring in the top of the eighth with a one-out solo home run off of Halladay to make the score 4-1.
But this day belonged to Carl Pavano. After looking awful in his previous two road starts, the mustachioed one was truly on his game this afternoon. He only struck out two batters in his nine innings of work, but allowed only four hits along the way as he moved his record to 8-6 on the season. If this wasn't the best performance by a Minnesota starter this season, it's certainly on the short list.
With the win, the Twins maintained their 2.5 game lead in the American League Central over the Detroit Tigers, as the Tigers defeated the hapless Arizona Diamondbacks this afternoon by a score of 3-1.
The Twins will take Monday off to travel to Milwaukee, where they will start a three-game set with the Brew Crew on Tuesday night. Scott Baker (6-5, 4.41 ERA) will climb the hill for Minnesota, while Dave Bush (2-5, 4.67) gets the call for Milwaukee. First pitch is slated for 7:10 PM Tuesday night.