Technically, Joe Nathan allowed his first earned run of the season in the 11th inning of tonight's game against Texas, giving the Rangers a 7-6 lead. However, I don't know why on earth they counted the run as earned. With runners on first and second with one out, former Twin Chad Allen drove a liner to right field straight at Jacque Jones. Jones misjudged the ball, crouched down, and had it bounce at his feet and skip past him to the wall, allowing a run to score. A couple batters later, with runners on second and third, Nick Punto would dive and stab a hard grounder up the middle and fire it to first, but the throw would pull Justin Morneau off the bag. Two more runs would score. Had Jones made the play which I considered to be fairly routine, the inning would have ended with perhaps no runs being scored.
I don't know what the deal is with the Twins offense. They couldn't hit the ball at all in the Baltimore series, and embarrassed themselves once again tonight. After putting up six runs in the first few innings off Rangers starter Ryan Drese, the Twins failed to put up another run in over seven innings against the Rangers' subpar bullpen. A few bullet-points on this disappointing loss...
*While Joe Mays had a reasonably low pitch count going into the seventh inning, I was unhappy to see him trotting out to the mound. I felt Gardenhire had made the wrong decision, and it turned out I was right. Mays simply has not been effective beyond the sixth inning all year - his arm tires out, it's just not strong enough yet after his long hiatus. Jess Crain in the seventh, Juan Rincon in the eighth, and Joe Nathan in the ninth. Utilize your bullpen Gardy, that's what it's there for.
*Juan Rincon pitched tonight in his first game back from a 10-game suspension for steroids. The fans were generally receptive, which was nice, and Rincon's performance was... okay. He gave up a few hits and allowed an earned run that tied the game and sent it to extra innings, and posted no walks and no strikeouts.
*I don't if it's just coincidence or the way the pitchers were throwing or what, but I have NEVER in my life seen as many balls hit back up the middle as I did in this game. I don't have the stat on hand, but I'm pretty sure there were at least seven or eight 1-3 putouts (ground ball to the pitcher, thrown out at first). There were also countless seeing-eye singles and line drive base hits to center.
*JC Romero, after pitching miserably on Wednesday night to effectively lose the game for the Twins, pitched very well tonight. When he throws his curveball and changeup a lot, he seems to have success. I think the less he relies on his erratic fastball, the better.
The White Sox just keep on winning. They came back on the Orioles to take their second straight game against them, and extended their lead in the AL Central to 6 games. The Twins really could use a strong performance from Carlos Silva tonight, but will have to face Kenny Rogers who has been filthy this year with a 1.79 ERA. Man... what idiots the Twins were to let him go when they could've resigned him for cheap.