This is how the script was supposed to go last Wednesday in Detroit. The Twins take a big lead, then expand on that lead. Scott Baker and company got it right Monday night at Target Field.
The offense scored 10 runs on 12 hits, a nice follow up to the 20-hit performance from Sunday afternoon. Of those hits, five were for extra bases, including Michael Cuddyer’s three-run bomb in the first inning and Denard Span’s two-run triple to the right field corner in the second.
More importantly, perhaps, was the performance of Scott Baker. After Wednesday’s meltdown, it was important for him to pitch well with a lead. While it would be a stretch to say he was great on Monday, he was good enough to hold on for a win when his offense scored 10 runs. That just may be enough most of the time this year.
It also may be worth noting that Monday’s game illustrated a way the Twins can avoid the nasty problem of loading the bases only to leave three runners stranded. The Twins did not load the bases Monday.
WPA Stars of the Game
1. Michael Cuddyer
2. Jim Thome
3. Scott Baker
AL Central Standings (through Monday)
1. Min 17-9, 140-99, –
2. Det 16-11, 132-126, 1.5
3. Chi 11-15, 107-130, 6.0
4. Cle 10-15, 86-121, 6.5
5. KC 10-16, 104-137, 7.0
Next up the Twins have another shot at Dontrelle Willis, who just about completely stifled the bats last Thursday afternoon. Nick Blackburn returns as the Twins’ starting pitcher.