A's 3, Twins 2
Twins 12, A's 4
As I began watching Saturday night's game, I thought to myself, "4 runs ought to do it." I think that the Twins' pitching ought to be able to hold a pitiful offense like that of the A's to 3 or few runs, particularly with Francisco Liriano on the mound. Denard Span's 4th HR brought them halfway to the threshold of runs which would have made me feel comfortable. But from there, the offense stopped, producing no hits from the 7th inning on. You probably gulped audibly, as I did, when Matt Guerrier was brought in to pitch the 8th. But this time he was his old self, retiring the side quietly in order. Phew! On to Joe Nathan, who couldn't possibly blow 2 saves in one week, right?
Wrong. Not only did Nathan blow it, he Blew it, falling behind Bobby Crosby 3-1 before giving up a leadoff single (tying run on first), hitting Emil Brown with a pitch (winning run on first, tying run on second), then throwing his force attempt at 3rd base on the ensuing sac bunt into the Coliseum's expansive foul territory, allowing the tying and winning runs to score. You can't lose a game much more single-handedly than that!
But where was the offense, which had pounded out 20 H and 12 R the night before? More specifically, where was Brendan Harris, who 3 times came up with Jason Kubel on 2nd and Delmon Young on first, and went force out (would have been a DP had the second-baseman not double-clutched), DP, K looking. The only hit the Twins received with RISP all night was Span's HR, which was also their lone XBH.
No such troubles on Sunday, when the Twins used 10 H (6 XBH) and 9 BB to once again put up 12 R on the A's. They had 4 H with RISP, plus 2 SF. Overall, the Twins outscored the A's 28-12, yet only managed to split the series. They are 5-6 on this looooooong road trip, despite outscoring their opponents 57-37. A lot of that has to do with getting 33 of those runs in just 3 games. The Twins have been held to 3 or fewer runs in 6 of the 11 games, and are 1-5 in those games. Couldn't they spread it around a little bit?