Pitching in front of a home crowd for the first time in his major-league career, Kevin Slowey picked up his second big-league win last night as the Twins coasted to a 7-3 victory on the strength of a solid six-inning performance from their rookie righthander. Slowey maintained great poise in front of the Metrodome crowd, as he limited the Braves to two earned runs on a pair of solo homers. A third run scored in the sixth due to a Jason Bartlett error. Slowey was highly efficient, issuing no walks and needing just 79 pitches to get through six frames. His performance wasn't entirely encouraging, as he did give up several deep line drives that forced his outfielders to retreat, but in the end he once again pitched well enough to win, providing a welcome change from the man he replaced in the rotation.
Meanwhile, the Twins' offense pieced together a very solid performance, forcing Braves starter Kyle Davies to throw a lot of pitches before chasing him with a five-run inning in the fourth. The Twins added a couple more runs against the Atlanta bullpen to seal the deal. The ability of the Twins hitters to work deep into counts was impressive; Braves pitchers threw 158 pitches over eight innings while Twins pitchers threw 126 pitches over nine innings. The key for the Twins' offense in this game was getting production from players outside of the middle of the lineup. Luis Castillo, Jason Bartlett and Nick Punto combined for seven hits, which helped pave the way for RBI hits from Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Torii Hunter.
The bullpen was once again effective, receiving three scoreless innings from the formidable G.N.N. combo (Guerrier/Neshek/Nathan, or as I like to call them, "Good Night Now"). After delivering a 1-2-3 eighth inning with a strikeout last night, Pat Neshek now holds a 1.16 ERA and is holding opposing hitters to a .118. He has racked up 37 strikeouts over 31 innings while allowing just 12 hits (!) and 11 walks. That's good for a 0.74 WHIP. Neshek has been just about as dominant as humanly possible, and if he continues to pitch like this I think there's a good chance he could receive All-Star consideration.
On another note, I attended an informal blogger luncheon at Joe Senser's Restaurant in Bloomington yesterday. Among those in attendance were John Bonnes (Twins Geek), Trevor Born (Twins Junkie), Joel Thingvall (of TwinsCards.com), Seth Stohs, Aaron Gleeman, Howard Sinker and Corey Ettinger. It was a good time and there was some talk of putting together another get-together for Twins fans on Saturday, June 30 for the Twins/Tigers game. Details are a bit hazy at this point, but one possible location would be Park Tavern in St. Louis Park. We'll post more info here as it becomes available. If you missed out on the last blogger/reader get-together, I would definitely recommend attending the next one because it's quite enjoyable to hang out with a bunch of nerdy Twins fans and watch the game.