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Twins' Bullpen Falls Apart Again In Nightcap Against Indians

In 1965, Herman's Hermits did a version of the old British pub song, "I'm Henery The Eighth, I Am." In between verses, lead singer Peter Noone would shout out the phrase "second verse, same as the first."

There were probably a lot of Twins fans saying that same thing this afternoon, although I'm sure many of them were saying it in a much more colorful manner.

The Twins' pitching staff completely fell apart in the later innings again in the second game of Saturday's twin bill, making a 6-0 lead evaporate and, eventually, turn into a 7-6 Minnesota loss. This follows up a performance in the early game that saw the Twins' bullpen cough up six late runs to lose 8-2.

The Twins actually built up an early lead in this one, with Danny Valencia's sacrifice fly in the top of the first scoring Trevor Plouffe and giving the Twins' a 1-0 lead. They added to the lead in the top of the second, as Drew Butera brought home Brian Dinkelman with an RBI triple to make it 2-0, and Ben Revere followed with a single to score Butera and extend the lead to 3-0.

In the top of the sixth, the Twins tacked on even more runs. Butera ripped another single to center field to bring home Dinkelman and Matt Tolbert to make it 5-0, and Plouffe added a sacrifice fly to make the score 6-0. It looked like the Twins would escape Progressive Field on Saturday with a victory.

However, these are the 2011 Minnesota Twins.

Starter Scott Diamond got the first out in the bottom of the sixth, and then allowed a double to Carlos Santana before walking Jim Thome. Shelly Duncan then singled to bring home Santana and get the Indians on the board at 6-1, and Lonnie Chisenhall doubled to right to score Thome and make it 6-2. That ended Diamond's day, as he was lifted in favor of Alex Burnett. Lou Marson greeted Burnett with an RBI single to make it 6-3, and Cord Phelps' RBI groundout made it 6-4. Ezequiel Cabrera then singled to bring home another run, and what had been a 6-0 Minnesota lead had been cut to 6-5. Burnett was yanked for Jose Mijares, who retired Kosuke Fukudome to end the inning.

The Indians got the rest of what they needed in the bottom of the seventh, however. Jason Donald and Carlos Santana started the inning with consecutive singles off of Mijares. After Thome struck out, Mijares was lifted for Matt Capps. Capps continued to show a magic touch, as he gave up a double to Duncan to score both Donald and Santana and put the Indians ahead, 7-6.

That was all for the Twins, as they managed just one hit in the final two innings of play to allow the Indians to complete the doubleheader sweep. The Twins played four different doubleheaders this season, and were 0-8 in those games. Mijares was credited with the loss for Minnesota, giving him a record on the season of 0-2. Nick Hagadone got the victory for Cleveland, his first decision of any sort on the season.

With this loss, the Twins have not only clinched last place in the American League Central, but the worst record in the American League, and the second-worst record in Major League Baseball.

Minnesota will attempt to avoid getting swept by the Indians on Sunday afternoon, with first pitch from Progressive Field scheduled for 12:05 PM Central time. The starting pitchers will be Liam Hendriks (0-2, 6.23 ERA) for the Twins and Fausto Carmona (7-15, 5.23 ERA).

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.