I made the trip out to the Dome to take in last night's Twins game, as fellow blogger and frequent commenter Corey Ettinger was kind enough to bring me along with his season tickets. Corey runs the promising new blog Minnesota's Sports Guys, which is dedicated to all Minnesota sports. They've got a great cast of writers over there and I'm really excited about the site's potential.
Anyway, the game was a lot of fun. The Twins clinched an opening series victory by beating the Orioles 3-2. It was a classic Twins victory, as they fell behind early but scraped together enough one-run innings to retake the lead, and the bullpen was lights-out as usual. Boof Bonser picked up right where he left off in '06, delivering six innings of two-run ball while striking out six and walking three. He struggled to throw strikes at times, as just 59 of his 100 pitches were in the zone, but in the end it was a quality start and he put the team in position to win. After Bonser came out, five relievers combined to deliver three scoreless innings, ending with Joe Nathan pitching a hitless ninth to record his second save.
Daniel Cabrera had a nice outing for the Orioles, allowing three runs on six hits over seven innings while striking out nine. His lack of control haunted him though, as he walked four batters and two of them came around to score.
The big story for the Twins last night was aggressiveness on the basepaths. With seven singles and four walks, the hitters weren't able to move themselves past first base, but the Twins took advantage of Baltimore catcher Alberto Castillo's arm by stealing five times, successful on each try. Torii Hunter drew a walk in the fifth inning, then stole second. He would later score from second on a Luis Castillo single. In the seventh inning, Rondell White drew a walk. Jason Tyner pinch-ran for him and stole second, then came around to score on a Jason Bartlett single.
Aggressiveness on the basepaths is something that I have been preaching for the Twins. They have a lot of singles hitters, but most of those guys have great speed and can move around the bases in many different ways. This is something the Twins should take advantage of. Being aggressive on the bases can hurt you, like it did on Monday night with Justin Morneau being thrown out twice trying to advance, but it can also be a huge help, and it was probably the biggest reason the Twins won last night's game.
The Twins are 2-0 and have looked very impressive in their first couple games. Of course, I've never been overly concerned with the team's ability to win games started by Bonser or Johan Santana. Tonight will be the team's first real test, as they look for a series sweep with Ramon Ortiz taking the hill.
Oh, one last thing. Michael Cuddyer was fanned twice last night, and has now struck out five times in eight at-bats. That puts him on pace for roughly 325 strikeouts on the season. Good ol' K-ddyer.