September 10, 2006

Twins Gain More Ground

The Minnesota Twins lost the first game of this series and fell back to 5 games back in the division. However, with strong pitching and good offense, the Twins were able to win the final 3 games of the series and now stand only 2 games back in the division.

The Twins pitching was very good on Sunday, as usual. Johan Santana pitched yet another gem and now has 18 wins on the season. In the game, Santana went 6.1 innings, giving up 2 hits while getting 11 strikeouts and not giving up any runs. Santana still leads the league in wins, ERA, strikeouts, opponents AVG, and more. There is even some talk that Santana may win the MVP. For more on that, go here.

The offense was electric after scoring just three runs through five innings, the Twins scored nine runs in the 6th and 7th innings. The Twins had a total of three triples and also got two stolen bases. The Twins got hits from every starter except for Michael Cuddyer and many of them broke out of slumps. For more on the stat go below and read Twins Notes.

The bullpen didn't need to pitch very much, but they did get a few innings. Rincon went 1.2 innings after Santana left and gave up two hits and no runs. The Twins then brought in Willie Eyre for the first time in a while and he gave up one run in his innning of work.

Rotation Changes:
There will be some changes this week in the pitching rotation, Scott Baker has been taken out of the rotation and will be replaced by Matt Gurreier in the next series. The Twins are also expected to give Francisco Liriano the start on Thursday. If he gets the start, it will be the first time he will be active with the Twins since August 8th when he went on the DL.

Playoff Races:
With the great series, the Twins not only gained ground on the Tigers, they also moved further ahead in the Wild Card. The Twins now lead the Wild Card by 1.5 games and will face the A's while the White Sox face the Angels. In the Division, they are only two games back and the Tigers will have two days off this week.

Twins Notes:
- Joe Mauer went 2-3 and is now batting .350 -- 5 points ahead of Jeter.

- The Twins got RBI's from Jason Tyner (14), Mauer (78), Bartlett (25), Castillo (47), and Punto (39). They all had two RBI except for Punto who had three.

- Nick Punto picked up his 7th triple of the season, Castillo picked up his 6th, and Tyner his 2nd.

There will be more notes later this week.