Finally. The Twins were riding a 6-game losing streak and hadn't won in their last 9 games away from the Metrodome before tonight's 20-1 slaughter of the White Sox. It's easy to get disillusioned when the Twins are playing like that, and even easier to lose interest in blogging (as Twin #2 did). Now they're heading back home on the heels of scoring the most runs since they ran up 20 on the White Sox in July of 2007 and achieving their second-largest margin of victory in franchise history. The 19-run loss also tied the White Sox's franchise record for their worst loss, and was the fourth time the White Sox have ever allowed 20 runs.
Joe Mauer continued his mind-boggling start, hitting 2 doubles and a grand slam to set a career high with 6 RBIs. Matt Tolbert mashed his first career home run among his three hits, and Michael Cuddyer added four hits, his sixth home run of the year, four runs, and three RBIs. Joe Crede teamed with Cuddyer to hit back-to-back jacks in the second inning. Jason Kubel had 3 hits and Justin Morneau got on base three times via the walk. Jose Morales reached base five out of six times (3 hits, 2 walks), but was still demoted to Rochester after the game to make room for Delmon Young.
Obviously, there were lots of good hitting performances in a 20-run outburst, but one player stuck out like a sore thumb: Nick Punto. Punto and Morneau (who walked 3 times) were the only starters without a hit, and Punto only reached base on an error made on his sacrifice bunt attempt. All in all, he was 0-5 in a game in which the Twins had 20 hits, and tallied 3 of the team's 5 strikeouts.
The Twins' pitching also stepped up in this game. Nick Blackburn threw 7 scoreless innings with just 82 pitches, surrendering only 7 baserunners, and Jose Mijares and Joe Nathan did not give up an earned run either. Matt Tolbert's error in the eighth kept the inning alive, eventually allowing the Sox's lone run to score on Mijares' watch.
A game like this is one where you can't seem to write enough about it, which is in stark contrast to the previous week of games. You can bet you'll see this game near the top of the rankings at the end of the year when I look back at the best games and moments of the season.