After suffering narrow losses at the hands of the Indians on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Twins got some vindication this afternoon by absolutely clobbering Cleveland 9-0 to avoid a sweep. Brad Radke's start was the best of his career, going the complete game and allowing only three hits while striking out eight. The Twins, after going 2 for 17 at the plate with runners in scoring position in the first two games of the series, went 5 for 11 today. They finally managed to bring some runs in with the bases loaded, although they didn't do it in the most impressive manner. In five at-bats in the game with the bases full, the Twins only got one hit (from Mike Redmond no less), but also worked two walks and hit into a fielder's choice, totalling four runs in bases-loaded situations.
With the Twins already up 6-0 in the bottom of the 7th, emotions started to run high. Indians reliever Jason Davis beaned Shannon Stewart on what appeared to be simply an accidental wild pitch. However, the umpires converged and decided to warn both benches. This infuriated Ron Gardenhire, who promptly came out to argue with home plate umpire Tim Barrett and was quickly ejected. At first I was a bit confused as to why Gardy would be upset at the warning after having his second player of the day hit by a pitch, but I soon realized that this meant that if Radke, who had allowed one hit through seven innings, so much as clipped the jersey of a Cleveland hitter, he would be ejected. Later, after Stewart would come around to score on a Lew Ford double, Shannon would get into a spat with the pitcher Davis who was backing up the play at home plate. Clearly, Stewart was upset about having been beaned. Some might remember Jason Davis as a guy who Torii Hunter has had a few spats with in the past.
Continuing with the theme of redemption, Hunter and Matt LeCroy both had good days to redeem themselves for the bad performances they both have had lately. Hunter went 3 for 5 to bring his average up to .250, and LeCroy went 2 for 4 with a home run. Still, the two are not completely out of the doghouse yet. It's nice that LeCroy can hit a solo shot with the Twins already up 5-0, and it's nice that Hunter can collect three hits with nobody in scoring position, but I'm still disappointed with the inability of these two to perform in pressure situations, and they did nothing to reverse that today. Still, with nine runs on the board, I can hardly complain about offensive incompetence.
All in all, the game was a very impressive one for the Twins. Hopefully they can carry some steam from this game into a series in Tampa Bay, against a Devil Rays team that has always played the Twins very tough and is coming off a series in which they beat up on the Yankees pretty bad. The Twins will need some success in that series because afterwards they will be heading into Baltimore for a three game series against one of the best teams in the Majors.