The Twins won tonight in decisive fashion for the third time in as many games. In their 8-1 clubbing of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the Twins not only assured themselves a series victory for the weekend, but also helped build confidence as their offense performed well and their bullpen was outstanding. Their run-scoring was similar to how it has been in several of their games this year... they were quiet through the first few innings but busted out with a big 5th and built on that for a blowout victory. Not too much else to say, so I'll go straight to the bullet-points:
*Kyle Lohse was solid, pitching five innings and allowing just one run. I wouldn't say he was dominant by any means, but he threw some good pitches and worked out of some tough jams.
*Scott Kazmir, the young lefty who started for the Rays, is going to be good. He had great stuff through the first four innings of this game, but fell apart in the 5th. The kid throws some good pitches though, and once he harnesses his skills he is going to baffle hitters for a number of years.
*The highly-touted pitching prospect Scott Baker made his first Major League appearance tonight, and pitched well enough. He threw one inning, allowing one hit, but made some nice pitches to pop out a couple of Tampa Bay hitters.
*Justin Morneau is on an absolute tear. Matt LeCroy started at first tonight against the left-handed Kazmir, but Morneau came in as a late-game defensive replacement. In his only at-bat of the night, Justin came up with two out and two on and jacked a monster three-run homer, off the left-handed Trever Miller no less. Morneau is now hitting .390 with five home runs and 17 RBI in just 58 at-bats.
*Mike Redmond did very well filling in for Joe Mauer, going 2/4 with an RBI single and a double to raise his average to .316. He's a huge improvement offensively over past backup catchers such as Henry Blanco and Tom Prince, and seems to be a pretty good receiver as well. Nice off-season pickup.
*Joe Nathan tossed a scoreless ninth, striking out one. He has now pitched 11.1 innings this season without allowing an earned run, with 13 strikeouts.
Tomorrow the Twins will look for a sweep as they start Joe Mays against Tampa Bay's Doug Waechter. First pitch at 1:15.