After a somewhat disappointing loss to the White Sox to start the season, the Twins sent 2013 “Staff Ace” Kevin Correia to the mound in search of their first victory of the season. Behind 6 innings of solid work from Correia, including 5 strikeouts, and a strong day offensively from the hitters four through eight, the Twins came back from an early deficit against the Chicago White Sox but Glen Perkins blew his first save opportunity of the season and sent the game into extra innings. Sam Deduno couldn’t locate his curveball and the winning run scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 11th. Kubel, Plouffe, Suzuki and Hicks each and two or more hits today and Arcia reached twice on a pair of errors. Plouffe went 3-for-4 with three singles, two walks and three big RBI but it wasn’t enough as the Twins fell to the White Sox, 7-6.
The Twins took advantage of some control issues early by opposing pitcher, Falipe Paulino. In the 2nd Oswaldo Arcia reached on an error, and Suzuki singled him over to third before Arcia was forced home after back to back walks to Aaron Hicks and Pedro Florimon to take an early 1-0 lead. Unfortunately Dozier and Mauer were unable to plate any more runners before the half-inning was over.
Kevin Correia was unable to hold onto the lead as he surrendered four hits in a row followed by fielding error in the bottom half of the inning to put the White Sox back in the lead by the end of the inning, 3-1. In the third left fielder Jason Kubel notched his first hit of the season, a double, and Trevor Plouffe singled him home to narrow the gap to 3-2.
In the 6th Suzuki continued his hot start with a single, took second on a past ball. Hicks moved him over on a sharp grounder to the second basemen and the tying run sat just 90ft from home.
The Twins were able to push the pitch count up for Paulino who is coming off Tommy John surgery last season, and chased him after the 5.1 innings (109 pitches), but Paulino left the game with 6 strikeouts and the lead. Maikel Cleto was called upon in relief for the Sox and took care of Florimon and Dozier to keep Suzuki waiting at third and Paulino in line for the win.
The 38 year old lefthander, Scott Downs, entered the game in the 7th for Chicago to face the heart of the Twins lineup, but Mauer drew a leadoff walk and chased him from the game. Chicago countered with righty Nate Jones who throws a high-90s fastball, but walked Josh Willingham to put two men on for Kubel. Kubel had a great at bat that ended with a ground-rule double to deep right field scoring Joe Mauer and tying the game 3-3. “Super utility” man Jason Bartlett entered the game to pinch hit for Willingham with runners at 2nd and 3rd with nobody out with everybody’s favorite third basemen Trevor Plouffe. Plouffe was able to get around on a 97mph fastball and put it over the 2nd basemen’s head to score two more runs and give the Twins the lead 5-3.
The White Sox went to the bullpen again, bringing in righty Daniel Webb who was able to get Arcia to fly out to center fielder Adam Eaton. Eaton appeared to make the catch but then dropped the ball transferring it from his glove. Gardy w…a…l…k…e…d out to the crew chief and called for a review. Some decades later the call came back from New York and it was ruled a drop. Plouffe was sent to second and Arcia reached on an error for the 2nd time today. Aaron Hicks blooped a single into shallow left field and Plouffe was waved home by the third base coach but was thrown out easily. Florimon struck out to end the half-inning, 5-3 Twins.
Correia settled in after the shaky 2nd inning, retiring nine of the next ten batters he faced. He was replaced by Casey Fien to start the 7th inning and ended the day having surrendered 5 hits and 3 runs (2 earned) over his six innings of work to go along with 5 strikeouts (3 swinging). Fien walked the first batter he faced but settled in and struck out Tyler Flowers before getting the next two batters to ground out to end the inning with Correia in line for the win. Fien took the last ground ball of the inning off of his ankle before it took a lucky hop to Mauer at first. Hopefully Fien will be okay.
Webb remained in the game for the White Sox and made quick work of the Twins in the top half of the 8th keeping Dozier, Mauer and Bartlett from notching their first hits of the season. Jared Burton came into the game for the Twins for the home half of the 8th and surrendered a two-out solo home run to Adam Dunn to make it a one run ball game, 5-4 Twins.
The Twins were able to add an insurance run off of Webb in the 9th off when Suzuki laced a 2-out double down the right field line to score Trevor Plouffe. Minnesota native, Glen Perkins, came on to close the door on the White Sox but was unable to record the save. He surrendered three singles in the top half of the 9th bringing the White Sox to within a run (6-5) and a wild pitch put runners at 2nd and 3rd with just one out. Trevor Plouffe charged in on a soft grounder and made an errant throw to home that allowed the White Sox to tie the game, 6-6. Plouffe, somewhat inexplicably, was not charged with an error on the throw. Perkins recorded his second strikeout when he threw a fastball by Marcus Semien and then intentionally walked Jose Abreu to load the bases for Adam Dunn. Dunn grounded out on the first pitch and sent the game into extras.
Donny Veal came into the game for the White Sox in the 10th to face the top of the Twins lineup. Dozier quickly popped out to left field before Mauer drew a four pitch walk. Chris Colabello pinch-hit for Bartlett and hit a diamond cutter that just got under the glove of the White Sox shortstop to put runners at first and second for Jason Kubel. Kubel battled through an 8-pitch at bat (and saw 38 pitches during his six at bats today) but went down looking. The White Sox brought in righty Ronald Belisario who got Plouffe to ground out to end the inning.
Jason Kubel’s brother-in-law, Michael Tonkin, replaces Glen Perkins on the mound and works a scoreless 10th inning of relief. Belisario made quick work of the Twins in the 11th before Samuel Deduno came on in relief of Michael Tonkin for the Twins. Deduno gave up a bunt single to Garcia and then while pitching to Eaton balked the runner over to 2nd. Deduno battled and earned a pair of back-to-back strikeouts but threw a ball in the dirt that got away from Suzuki allowing the winning run to advance to third base. Abreu was intentionally walked for the 2nd time today to bring Adam Dunn to the plate with a chance to walk off for the 2nd time in the game. Dednuo threw another curveball that got away from Suzuki and Garcia scampered home to win the game for Chicago, 7-6. Belisario gets the win for Chicago and Deduno takes the loss.
The top three hitters in the Twins lineup, Dozier, Mauer and Willingham combined to go 1-for-13 with 4 strikeouts and three walks. The Twins, as a team, combined to go 12-for-46 with 7 walks and 12 strikeouts (ouch). They managed to notch only 5 hits with runners in scoring position out of 16 at bats and stranded 14 men on base in the process. Dozier, Mauer, Arcia and Florimon are all still searching for their first hit of the season.
The pitching staff combined to strike out 12 batters but also walked 5 (2 intentional) and gave up 11 hits.