Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Connect four!

Perhaps my heart was right? With four consecutive victories, and six wins in their last seven games, the Twins are just 1 game under .500 and 1 game behind the White Sox. And depending on the outcome of the Tigers-Angels game, they could be only 3.5 back of division front-runner Detroit. Sure, their starting rotation is still a shambles, but with Scott Baker and Carl Pavano pitching well and Nick Blackburn doing much better in his last start, perhaps guys like Brian Duensing and Armando Gabino can do just enough to make it work.

The win against the Orioles, their fourth in a row, ties their longest win streak of the season; they've done it twice before, once in mid-May and once at the end of July. They could really use a longer one to help make up some of the remaining ground in a hurry. And their schedule right now is only helping, as they'll play 8 more games at home before they must leave the Metrodome. In all, 15 of their remaining 37 games are against winning ballclubs; what's amazing, though, is that after this weekend's series against Texas, they won't play another winning team outside of the AL Central. And now that Minnesota seems to be playing better, maybe that will actually gave them the edge they need.

In yesterday's game, Scott Baker was excellent, allowing only one run in seven innings. The Orioles managed just four hits and one walk, while striking out five times vs. Baker. He finally got some run support in the sixth when Alexi Casilla tripled to lead off and scored on a wild pitch. Jason Kubel pushed the go-ahead run across with a sacrifice fly that plated Denard Span.

After that, Baker got of a dangerous seventh, and then turned it over to Jose Mijares and Joe Nathan. Mijares breezed through the eighth, and it was looking like more of the same as Nathan struck out the first two batters in the ninth. Two walks later, however, had the tying run at second and Matt Wieters at the plate. He worked the count full--the third straight such count--before Nathan got him swinging to strike out the side and finish the game.

It was the Twins' first win while scoring fewer than 5 runs since July 29th, and their first victory while scoring 2 runs or fewer since June 30th.

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