Rangers 6, Twins 5 (10 innings)
Tough loss last night, though I'm not really that upset about it. The season is young, yet the Twins have already managed to lose every type of close game:
Great pitching, no offense (1-0 to the Angels). These really upset me.
Terrible pitching, tons of offense (11-9 to the Tigers). These upset me almost as much.
Decent pitching, decent offense (last night). Ho hum.
The Twins put together 2 early rallies, each started by bunt singles from Carlos Gomez. My goodness, he's a terror when he actually puts those in play. Joe Mauer drew walks in each case, and Justing Morneau finished them off with RBI hits. His first was a terrific 2-strike liner past the shortstop on a curveball down and away - great piece of hitting. The second was a first pitch laser shot over the right-field wall for a grand slam.
That was about it for the night. Brendan Harris was pitched extremely tough - his 3 K all came on filthy pitches. Jason Kubel had three well-hit shots to the outfield that were tracked down. Punto lined into a double play the one time in four ABs he hit the ball hard.
On the pitching side, Blackburn looked pretty good, once again. As fortunate as he was to have everything hit right at somebody for a DP in his last start, he was unlucky last night to have them find holes. The pitches to Hamilton and Blalock in the 3rd inning were up - everything else was just out of the reach of the fielders. Botts just went down and got the curveball he lined off the RF wall to start the DP. (Let that be a lesson to everyone - don't run on Cuddyer, even the day after he comes back from a finger injury.) A pitcher like Blackburn, who throws strikes and invites contact, is going to run into a bad inning like that every now and then. Nothing to be concerned about.
The bullpen did just fine, allowing 1 R in 3.2 innings. Rincon wasn't helped by the situation he was in in the 10th: the OF was playing a little shallower than they would have been to try and give themselves a better shot at getting the winning run at the plate.
The Rangers are a pretty good hitting team, and they'd been shut down the day before, so a breakout like they had wasn't unexpected. Tonight, they'll be sending our old friend Sidney Ponson out there. If the Twins lose to him, I think I will be upset.