Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Justin Morneau homered twice and had a career-high 7 RBI, Jason Kubel went 3-for-3 with a home run and three walks (one intentional), and well, pretty much everyone in the lineup besides Punto and Casilla had a hit. Nick Blackburn wasn't particularly sharp, but when he left the game in the fifth he had a 13-7 lead. The bullpen obviously wasn't going to let that stand. They proceeded to surrender as many runs in one third of an inning as Blackburn did all night. Two walks, a few bleeders, a bloop double, and a grand slam later, Oakland suddenly had a 14-13 lead. The Twins then had a chance to tie the game in the ninth, when the ball got away from Kurt Suzuki and he couldn't find it, but Michael Cuddyer was called out at the plate EVEN THOUGH HE WAS CLEARLY SAFE. Not that it matters, if your bullpen can't hold a six-run lead you probably don't deserve to win anyway.
This isn't the first time the Twins have coughed up a ten-run lead. They nearly did it earlier this year against the same Oakland team. They were leading 10-0 going into the ninth inning, and Joe Nathan had to come in to get the save (too bad Gardy has some sort of rule about not letting him pitch more than one inning, the Twins might have escaped with a win). They also did it against the Indians in 1984, but I was only two then and I'm pretty sure I didn't care.
So, instead of gaining a half game on the idle Tigers and keeping pace with the White Sox, the Twins fall to 2.5 games back and only one game over .500. And never mind all that stuff I said earlier about the schedule being soft, it doesn't matter. The White Sox have been beating teams with winning records, the Twins just surrendered fourteen runs and twenty-two hits to the worst offense in the league.