People say that over time, luck inevitably evens out. In other words, a team like the Twins with talented players can't keep losing to the hapless Washington Nationals and having things not go their way. Thus, yesterday, the Twins got a major call going their way and finally managed to salvage a victory against the Nationals and avoid what would have been a terribly embarrassing sweep at home.
That call, of course, was on Dmitri Young's two-run, first inning homer. After it was originally ruled a home run by first base umpire Ron Kulpa, Ron Gardenhire protested and Kulpa conferred with the rest of the umpires, overruling the original call and calling it a foul ball. Instead of being down 2-0 in the bottom of the first, the Twins did not have to come from behind and took advantage.
In the bottom of the first, the Twins scored three runs, with RBI singles from Jason Bartlett -- who was replacing Joe Mauer in the second spot -- and Torii Hunter, as well as an error-aided run scoring play off of a single by Mike Redmond. Despite scoring those runs, no one should jump to the conclusion that the Twins offense is back. As the first shows, the Twins scored runs, but mostly with singles.
Of the 15 hits the Twins had, only two were extra-base hits and those were both doubles. Therefore, it's no surprise that the Twins scored only six runs on all those hits, with two of them unearned with help of sloppy Nationals defense. The hitting stars for the Twins were one surprising one (Jason Bartlett) and one not-so-suprising (Torii Hunter). Bartlett and Hunter went a combined 6-for-9, with Bartlett picking up two RBI. That certainly counts as an important development, as before yesterday, he was hitting .125 in his last 24 at-bats.
Thankfully the Twins, despite a very uneven start from Boof Bonser, got great pitching from their bullpen to secure a victory. In no surprise, the bullpen gave the Twins four scoreless innings from the usual suspects Matt Guerrier, Pat Neshek, and Joe Nathan, a group that has quickly become perhaps the best 1-2-3 (or 7-8-9 depending on your perspective) bullpen tandem in the game.
What doesn't neccessarily bode well for the Twins is the series against the Atlanta Braves that starts Tuesday. It is very troubling that the Twins lost 2 of 3 to the Nationals and although the Braves haven't been quite the team their were in April, they are still a winning team that may pose a challenge to the Twins and their young pitchers. Last year, the Twins used their interleague series to help get them on track, as they went 16-2. Clearly, time is running out on the 2007 Twins to really start getting going and if yesterday's game was any evidence, things are changing fast enough.