FRIDAY: The Twins tee off on the M's beating them 11 - 0. Scott Baker goes 7 strong, striking out 5 and walking none. Jesse Crain and Joe Nathan each pitch one scoreless to complete the shutout. Not only did the the pitching come through in a big way, but the bats took off. Brian Buscher and Brendan Harris hit the Twins first 3 run homers of the year. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau also hit back to back home runs in the 5th inning.
SATURDAY: The Twins hot hitting comes through again as the M & M boys go back to back for the second game in a row to beat the Mariners 9 - 6. Michael Cuddyer hit the Twins' 3rd 3 run home run of the season the day after they hit their first 2. In a game that could have been billed as a great pitching match-up, we saw Felix Hernandez give up 5 runs in just 4 innings while Francisco Liriano pitched 3 innings of no hit ball before struggling to get through the 4th and 5th. Hopefully the Twins batters will continue to stay hot while the starting pitchers are struggling with big innings. Thankfully they have the talent to do so.Joe Mauer was hitting .500 at one point in this game.
SUNDAY: The Twins failed to put the M's away during the early innings and it came back to cost them the game. Erik Bedard seemed to be pitching out of a jam his whole time on the mound. He walked 5 and gave up 5 hits in 4 2/3 innings, but the Twins only managed to score 2 runs off him. The bullpen pitched well for the M's until Brandon Morrow made it interesting in the 9th. Nick Blackburn pitched 7 strong shut out innings for the Twins, holding onto a 2 run lead. In the 8th Jose Mijares got one out, walked Jose Lopez on 4 pitches (only Lopez's 4th walk of the season) and gave up the game tieing homerun to Ken Griffey Jr. Mijares was then pulled for Jesse Crain who gave up 2 more runs without recording an out. Craig Breslow gave up another ER in the top half of the 9th. Fresh off the DL, Brandon Morrow entered the 9th with a 3 run lead. Nick Punto hit a single and stole 2nd base. Morrow got the next 2 batters before giving up an RBI single to Joe Mauer. He then walked Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer on 8 consecutive pitches out of the zone before getting Brendan Harris to ground out with a full count to end the game 5 -3 Mariners.
The 3 game sweep of the slumping Mariners was well within the Twins' reach today; but Twins hitters continued to struggle to get big hits with men in scoring position, and were unable to avoid a big inning defensively. Although Blackburn pitched great, bouncing back from a bad outing in Detroit, the bullpen gave up its 4th loss of the season. The Twins have one of baseball's higher bullpen ERAs (which has been one of the team's strong points over the last few years). They will need to turn this trend around to make the post season.