Friday, June 17, 2005

Another Extra-inningsThriller

Through his first week or so of being in the major leagues after 12 years of professional baseball, spending time in the Atlanta and Blue Jays systems before his move to Minnesota, Glenn Williams has had a large impact that couldn't have been easily forseen. Williams is 6 for 13 (a .462 average) since his call-up to replace Terry Tiffee. His game-winning single off of Dennys Reyes in the 11th tonight was his first major-league RBI and his biggest hit so far. After spending so much time on the backburner, Williams seems to have finally broken the streak against him. So has Luis Rodriguez (who after tonight's 2 for 5 perfomance is hitting a club-high .349), another long-time minor leager who has come up to the Twins club to make an impact at the perfect moment. Having such great replacements come out of nowhere is a testament to the Twins scouting, who seem toable to pick the right guys out of everyone else's minor league system.

But besides those surprises, it was a good win the Twins had to fight for. They went up 3-0 after a two-run first and a second inning Michael Cuddyer homer. They were down quickly, though, after Carlos Silva had an autrocious third inning in which he gave up four runs and plenty of hits; clearly an inning that could have been much worse. Other than that, it was the usual for Silva: 7 and 1/3 innings, 11 hits, four runs, four Ks, and a walk. (That makes five on the year for Carlos in 87 innings) He did settle down after the third, shouting down the Padres offense. (Silva now has reached the eight inning in all but one start this year. Having an inning-eater like that is incredibly valuable to the team)

After that, the Twins bullpen went to work, shutting down the Padres as well. Even the always-terrible Mulholland managed to have a inning without a run-scoring fest. Sadly, the win did not go to Jesse Crain this time, but to Juan Rincon, who pitched two good innings with three Ks before the Twins won it in the 11th. That, of course, wouldn't have been possible without Torii Hunter or Justin Morneau. Hunter, who didn't do too much during the game other than driving in the first run on a sacrifice, got a single off of reliever Akinori Otsuka in eight and once again, took over the basepaths to set himself in scoring position. If there is one great positive about Hunter's offense, its his aggressiveness on the bathpaths. By getting into scoring position, he set up Justin Morneau's run-scoring single that tied the game and gave the Twins the chance to pull the game out. However, Morneau would turn out to be the hero again in the 11th.

After a leadoff walk to Lew Ford, Morneau hit a double off of Reyes to put men on second and third with no out. After intentionally walking Cuddyer, who had hit the homer in the 2nd, Williams preceded to knock a single over the shortstop to win the game in extra. The only negative is that the White Sox wiped out the Dodgers in a 6-0 victory, so the Twins did not gain any ground with the win. However, hopefully it sets a pace after the Twins have lost several very close games in the recent weeks.