Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Morales Wins It

Jeff Manship made his first Major League start yesterday and had a very respectable performance. He allowed a solo home run to Alexei Ramirez, but that was the only run he would give up. He left after five innings having thrown only eighty pitches. I guess that was the plan before the game, but with Brian Duensing pitching this afternoon I would have preferred they try to get more out of Manship. But, hey, it worked.

After Ramirez's fifth-inning homer, Michael Cuddyer answered immediately with his own solo shot. After Orlando Cabrera broke the tie with a sacrifice fly later in the game, Cuddyer would extend the lead with his second home run, putting the Twins up 3-1. That put Jesse Crain in line for the win, after he pitched 2 perfect innings in relief.

It wouldn't last, though, as Jose Mijares walked the only batter he faced on four pitches and Matt Guerrier followed by surrendering a game-tying longball to Gordon Beckham. He finished the inning without further damage and, after a scoreless bottom half, was replaced by Jon Rauch in the ninth inning. Just a few days ago that easily could have been Bobby Keppel--I think I like this acquisition.

Rauch gave up a single but emerged unscathed, giving the Twins an opportunity to avoid extras. And they did just that, as Jason Kubel and Brendan Harris singled, putting runners on the corners with one out. Carlos Gomez struck out and then Gardenhire sent in Jose Morales to pinch-hit for Alexi Casilla. He hit a sharp "single" (it would have been at least a double in any other situation) to score the winning run, giving Rauch his second victory in as many appearances for the Twins and the White Sox their 11th loss in their last 12 games at the Metrodome.

And, speaking of Rauch, Kevin Mulvey was essentially sent to the Diamondbacks as the player to be named later. I'm not sure why it was done in this roundabout way, rather than making him explicitly the player-to-be-named, but he's gone regardless. With Rauch under contract for next year, I think I like this deal significantly more than the trade for Carl Pavano. Of course, Yohan Pino could flame out and Mulvey could end up being a reliable #4 starter, because you can't ever really tell with prospects.

One last thing: am I the only one who thought Jermaine Dye could have caught the ball standing up on Scott Podsednik's diving catch of Brendan Harris' fly ball in the second inning?

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