Instant Rationalization - Now That’s the Twins We Used to Know

Just when Sox fans were read to put the painful era of the seeing-eye singles, the broken-bat bloop hits and the wrath of the “Piranhas,”  the Twins singled the Sox to death in a 7-6 walk-off win for Minnesota.

Eleven out of the Twins’ twelve hits were singles, and in retro Twins fashion, took advantage of a White Sox error to win the game.  Brian Dozier laid down a sacrifice bunt with a runner on first and A.J. Pierzynski threw it wildly into right field, allowing the runners to advance to second and third base.  Jamey Carroll followed with the game-winning sacrifice fly to right field.

The game began as an offensive showcase, with each team scoring four times in the first inning.  Pierzynski, fresh off an oblique injury, capped the Sox four-run first with a towering home run to right center.  The Twins answered right back, with their first four players all getting hits and scoring off of White Sox starter Jose Quintana.

Hopefully tonight’s game won’t come back to haunt the Sox as they had a golden chance to gain a game on the Tigers (who lost to Boston) with a favorable pitching matchup.

Key Performers

A.J. Pierzynski – 1-5, 1 R, HR, 3 RBI – Pierzynski burned his former team with an emphatic bomb to right-center in the first inning to get the Sox off to a good start.

Alejandro de Aza – 4-5, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB – De Aza also came back from injury with a vengeance, collecting four hits, including a clutch two-out RBI, which at the time tied the game at six.

Denard Span – 2-3, 1 R – Span set the tone for the Twins on offense and defense, robbing Alex Rios of at least an RBI double with a great leaping catch into the wall

Josh Willingham – 2-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB – The Sox probably hoped Willingham would have been traded before the game, as he got on base four times

Turning Point

This game had just about as obvious of a turning point as possible, as A.J.’s throwing error on Dozier’s sacrifice bunt in the ninth all but handed the Twins the game.  It was typical Twins, manufacturing the game-winning run on a single, error and then a sacrifice fly.

Pierzynski should have probably held on to the ball as Dozier probably would have beaten the throw anyways.  While it was a decent bunt, it was a little surprising to see how the Sox defense wasn’t expecting the bunt more.

Things Would Be Different If…

…Jose Quintana was the Jose Quintana Sox fans have come to love.  After being staked to a four-run lead in the first inning, Quintana promptly gave it right back, missing many spots out and over the plate.  The Twins took advantage of Quintana’s surprising lack of command with four straight hits to start the first inning.

Takeaway

This was a game, based on the pitching matchup, which the Sox should have won.  Minnesota starter Cole DeVries had an ERA around 4.00, while Quintana’s was in the mid-two’s.  The Tigers are playing a much tougher opponent (the Red Sox) than the Sox are right now, so it’s crucial for the Sox to leave Minnesota with a net gain on Detroit.

Newly acquired Francisco Liriano toes the rubber for the Sox tomorrow against his old team, while Nick Blackburn goes for the Twins.

Overall Record: 55-47, 1.5 games up on Detroit

Filed under: Game Wraps

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