Twins 4, Astros 2

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Before I get to the game, I’d like you to all note the new graphic along my sidebar as I ponder the following question: Why isn’t Joe Mauer leading the All-Star ballot for catchers? Going into tonight’s game, his .377 BA leads the majors. He also leads all catchers in runs (37), hits (89), doubles (19), and stolen bases (7). By comparison, Varitek, who is leading the vote, is hitting a paltry .262. (I realize that the bulk of the people who read this who are so inclined to vote would never vote against Tek, but it’s worth trying.) So click on the button over to your right, get your 25 votes in (or more if you care to use multiple e-mail addresses), and vote Joe! (And if Joe Mauer himself should read this, call me.)
Onto to tonight’s game… the return of The Rocket (which means that it was broadcast on ESPN, so I had a chance to watch myself some Twins baseball). Clemens had a quirky start — first pitch strike followed by what looked like was about to be excellent fielding to stop a Luis Castillo single from making it up the middle… only he bobbled it and Castillo reached on an error. After such an odd beginning, the game turned into a solid pitcher’s duel between Roger Clemens and Francisco Liriano… that is until the 3rd inning.
After Liriano did his duty as a pitcher-at-bat and struck out, Luis Castillo came up to face Clemens for a second time, this time hitting a legitimate infield single followed by a stolen base to put him on second. Chairman Mauer grounded out (but it’s okay, he’s still my favorite), to bring up Jason Kubel, who hit a long double to deep left center to score Castillo. Kubel came around himself on a 3-2 single by Michael Cuddyer, bringing the Twins up 2-0.
Clemens lasted a few more innings, but was relieved in the fifth, trailing the Twins by two runs. The most the Rocket could hope for in his big comeback was a no-decision. But the Twins did their best to serve Clemens the loss. Justin Morneau was the first batter up after Roger hit the bench, and he jacked a homer to right-center field, putting the Twins up 3-0. In the eighth, my boy Joe finally demonstrated his sweetness by singling to left and later scoring on a Torii Hunter single to bring the Twins to 4 runs.
In the meantime, Liriano demonstrated what a pitcher in his prime can really do, taking a shutout into the eighth before giving up a short two run homer to Jason Lane. Rumor has it that the left field fence at Enron Field isn’t actually legal distance from the plate anyway. Joe Nathan, touted as one of the best closers in baseball, came in in the bottom of the ninth, striking out two on his way to retiring the side and earning the save.
Nice try there, Roger… wasn’t quite enough though.

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3 responses »

  1. Your point about Varitek and the Bostonian mania causing said folks to almost religiously vote for him is spot on. It is just another reason why Bosox fans are some of the worst in all of baseball. Given their incessant bent to violence and their litany of “Yankee bad, RedSox good” and “duh” to any other baseball question, it almost makes one wonder why they don’t follow NASCAR.

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