Twins 12, White Sox 5
Nothing but good news from Chicago tonight:
Apart from the HR, I'm not sure the Twins swung the bats a whole lot better tonight than they did yesterday. Where everything seemed to find a Mariner glove on Thursday, everything slipped through a hole tonight. This was especially true with RISP, where the Twins were able to amass 7 H, if I'm not mistaken, including 5 straight in a mad-cap, 7-run 7th that put the game away.
The Twins got the perfect outing from R.A. Dickey: good enough to keep the team in the game for 5 IP, but not so good that they can't justify sending him down to AAA on Wednesday. The excellent control he had exhibited all spring abandoned him in the adverse weather conditions on the South Side. I have my suspicions that that was what the Twins' brass had intended all along - if they really wanted to put Dickey in position to succeed they would have arranged things so that he could have started one of the 4 games vs. the Mariners in the controlled environment of the Dome.
The 7th inning blitz enabled the Twins to ride Brian Duensing for 3 innings, saving the better members of the bullpen for the rest of the series. Had Duensing not grazed Josh Fields with a breaking ball in front of Carlos Quentin's HR, he might have escaped his Major League debut with a nice ERA. As it was, the WHIP was fine, and he's left-handed, so I'm sure he'll stick around. Humber had another solid inning to close out the game. 9 IP from the three weakest pitchers on the staff, and it was ultimately a pretty comfortable win. Thank you, run support!
Every Twins starter reached base at least once. Jose Morales had a great night at the plate, 2 for 3 with 2 BB, and his out was a screaming liner to 2nd. Delmon Young finally got a hit, a 2-run single to break the game open in the 7th. Denard Span, Alexi Casilla and Nick Punto combined to go 8 for 16 with a BB, 4 R and 4 RBI - attack of the piranhas! Justin Morneau drove in a runner in 4 different PA, including his 2nd HR.
But perhaps the most satisfying event of the evening was Joe Crede's first AB. After receiving a nice pre-game video tribute and a standing ovation when he was announced, he homered to put the Twins up 2-0. Take that, Sox fans!
The only negative note came from the defense. The Twins had played their first 4 games without committing an error, but they made 2 tonight, both on dropped fly balls. I suppose it's fitting that the first E of the season belongs to Young, by far the shakiest fielder among the regulars. The other goes to Morales. Neither one of those guys is going to have too many innings in the field.
Minor League Notes
Kevin Mulvey pitched 4 good innings before losing it in the 5th with 2 BB, a HBP and single. Jose Mijares finished the game with 2 scoreless innings, allowing 1 H and 0 BB with 2 K. Most importantly, Scott Baker cruised through 7 IP for A+ Fort Myers, allowing 1 R on 5 H and 1 BB with 3 K. He should be ready to start for the Twins on Wednesday.