Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Mauer Leads Twins, Bullpen Woes in Rochester

The Twins beat the Orioles 7-5 behind Joe Mauer's big day at the plate and Boof Bonser's strong first bullpen appearance. The Twins recovered from a couple early deficits after Glen Perkins was forced out after giving up 5 runs in only 4 innings. Bonser came in for Perkins and struck out 4 in 2.2 innings, while allowing only 1 hit and 1 walk. Joe Mauer, though, was the star of the game, as he went 2-3 with a run and 3 RBI. Two of those RBIs came on an extremely rare 2-run sac fly in the fifth inning, when Adam Jones fell down on the warning track after making the catch, which allowed the ever-hustling and blazing-fast Carlos Gomez to score from second. Mauer also hit his 2nd home run in three games, launching another solo shot off of a lefty.

The game in Rochester did not end as positively. Brian Duensing pitched 8 great innings, shutting down the Buffalo offense to the tune of 4 hits, no walks, and no runs. The Rochester offense, led by home runs from Garrett Jones, Jason Pridie, Randy Ruiz, and Darnell McDonald, staked the team to a 6-0 lead heading into the ninth. That's where the trouble started for the Red Wings, as Bobby Korecky came in to replace Duensing. By the end of the tenth inning, five relievers had combined to give up 8 runs, 9 hits, and 2 walks, throw 1 wild pitch, and blow 2 saves. Four of those five relievers (Korecky, Mariano Gomez, Casey Daigle, and Carmen Cali) combined to face 8 hitters and get zero of them out, while Tim Lahey struck out three batters but still gave up 3 hits and 2 runs. The worst part about the bullpen's performance is that even after giving up 6 runs in the ninth and sending the game to extra innings, they still had a chance to get the win after the Wings pushed across a run in the top of the 10th. Of course, the bullpen instead allowed 5 straight hitters to reach base and lost the game without getting an out in the 10th.

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