Twins 3, White Sox 1
Twins 4, White Sox 3
I had a feeling the White Sox would be a little easier to handle this time around. These were last year's White Sox, occasionally hitting solo homers, but otherwise anemic at the plate. After sweeping the 2-game series, the Twins finish April just 1.5 games out of first place.
Kudos to Boof Bonser, who had by far his best stuff of the season, allowing 1 R on 6 H and 1 BB in 7 IP with 8 K. The strikeouts were the best sign - double the amount he'd had in any single game so far this year. He managed 4 quality starts in 5 tries without missing many bats; I can't wait to see what he can do if he gets in the groove.
Nick Blackburn was hit around a bit, but as he did against Cleveland, he got big outs when he needed them. He was also able to complete 7 IP, allowing 3 ER on 8 H and 2 BB with 4 K. He'll certainly be sticking around the rotation for awhile.
Offensively, the lineup didn't do very much: only 7 R on 14 H and 7 BB (a week's worth for this team). But the hitting was very timely. The guys who hit last night (Mauer, Kubel, Young) didn't do much today, and vice versa with Gomez and Morneau.
Gardy, Gomez led off the 7th inning with a bunt single, then Brendan Harris sacrificed him to second on the first pitch. Harris has been one of the Twins' best hitters this month. Gomez is one of the best base-stealers in the league. Pierzynski is one of the worst catchers at throwing out base-stealers in the league. I bet the Sox could pitch-out and Gomez would still steal on AJ. Why pay Harris' AB to get a runner to second when you can get him there for free? Give him a couple pitches to run on. Harris can sacrifice him to 3rd if you want to play it that way.
Span vs. Gomez
Speaking of Gomez, I'm going to keep harping on this as long as their respective play merits it.
In the bottom of the 4th, with the Twins leading 3-2, Gomez was on 2nd with Mauer batting and spot-starter Nick Masset still on the mound. Masset is a reliever, and at 65 pitches was likely tiring. Mauer, the Twins' best hitter, was ahead in the count 3-1 against the right-hander. Gomez, perhaps the fastest guy in the league, could effortlessly score on any base hit to the outfield with 2 outs. Yet he chose that moment to steal 3rd base. He succeeded, the ball got away, and he was thrown out at the plate trying to score. How exciting!
Replays may have shown that he should have been called safe, but Gardy was so shocked that Gomez would attempt such a foolish play, even he couldn't find the strength to put up much of an argument. Gomez claimed that he saw a steal sign from the dugout. I would be astounded if any such sign was given by anyone with authority to give signs. Mauer started the 5th facing LHP Matt Thornton - he grounded out.
Meanwhile, in 7 games at AAA Rochester, Denard Span has 8 singles and 7 walks, for an OBP of .429. Yaaaawwwwnnnn. He also has 5 SBs, though he's managed to get himself picked off twice. I know, not as exciting as Gomez, but it's something...