The Twins just could not put the Royals away yesterday, but they were able to narrowly avoid a defeat. The pitching stiff allowed 14 hits, 3 walks, and 2 hit batters, and gave runs back every single time the offense scored. Somehow the Royals managed to come to the plate 19 times with runners in scoring positions, but got hits on just 3 of those occasions.
Brian Duensing made his second start of the season and picked up his first career win by going the minimum 5 innings and continuously working out of trouble. Bobby Keppel relieved him and continued his attempt to get demoted to AAA (he's convinced me!), before Jesse Crain got a strikeout to end the inning. Crain, however, did just as poorly as Keppel in the next inning, and was removed in favor of Jose Mijares. Thanks to a dropped pop up by Carlos Gomez, Mijares allowed 2 (instead of just 1) of the 3 inherited runners to score. Mijares was subsequently replaced in the middle of the eighth inning by Matt Guerrier. And with Joe Nathan unavailable because of his Twins-high pitch count yesterday, he got the ninth inning and the save, but not before giving up one final run. He now has one save in each of the last four years, and it was the first save by someone other than Nathan in 2009.
Michael Cuddyer homered for the first run of the game, and the Twins took a 3-0 lead on Jason Kubel's double, which tipped off centerfielder Mitch Maier's glove. Duensing gave two runs back, but the Twins responded with three RBI singles in the sixth inning. In the bottom of that inning, the Royals closed the gap to 6-4. Again the Twins responded with a run in the top of the seventh, but Kansas City hit back with two more in their half, making it 7-6 Twins. One more time, the Minnesota bats got a run back, with Cuddyer hitting the ultimate bloop double to right field--the ball was probably within 2 feet of the first baseman, the second baseman, the rightfielder, and the foul line.
Guerrier then, as mentioned, picked up the save after letting the Royals close to within 8-7. The Royals announcers had it right when they said the Twins won this one by the skin of their teeth.