Yesterday, for the first time all season, the Twins took an early lead and held it all game for a good solid victory. It was the type of performance that we'd hoped to see in each game against the last-place Royals, but better late than never. The Twins now leave Kansas City with a series victory. A sweep would have been nice, but we'll take what we can get.
The Twins jumped all over KC starter Mark Redman, who couldn't even get out of the second inning. Redman was tagged for 5 earned runs on 6 hits in just 1.2 innings. Luis Castillo, who had gone 0-for-8 in the first two games of the series, went 3-for-4 in the game, including a 2 RBIs and a walk. Michael Cuddyer and Shannon Stewart both had three hits apiece as well. The Twins' hitters showed patience at the plate, drawing a total of 7 walks after walking just twice in the first two games of the series.
Meanwhile, Rondell White and Torii Hunter both continued to look horrid in the middle of the lineup. Hitting fourth and fifth, the two combined to go 1-for-10 with 1 RBI, no walks, two strikeouts, and a total of 13 runners left on base. Hunter, who went hitless, now has one hit in his last 27 at-bats. White has a total of one extra-base hit in 80 at-bats on the season. The performance of these two veterans is becoming increasingly frustrating and unacceptable.
On a positive note, Johan Santana picked up his first win of the season with a very strong outing. After 7 innings, Santana's line was 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K. He got roughed up a bit in the 8th, allowing three hits and a couple runs in, but he got out of the inning with a strikeout to pick up his first 10-K game of the year.
The Twins did score 7 runs, but also left a lot of runners stranded. Overall, their offensive performance in this series was disappointing. However, on the bright side, the pitching does appear to be back on track, with each of the three starters picking up a quality start in the series. This is what we'd hoped for against the Royals' lousy lineup, now we'll just have to see if they can pitch similarly well against a much better Tiger lineup during their weekend series in Detroit.