After a brutal opening day loss marred by missed opportunities in bitter-cold conditions, the Twins rebounded to win the final two games of their series against the defending American League Champion Detroit Tigers. It was a big series win for the Twins, who have struggled mightily in April the last two seasons with a combined record of 15-33. It may be hard to believe, but with a record of 2-1, Minnesota is above the .500 mark for the first time since the close of the 2010 season.
Apr 3, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; (Editors note: Caption correction) Minnesota Twins third baseman Eduardo Escobar (5) gets picked up by left fielder Josh Willingham (16) and center fielder Aaron Hicks (32) after hitting a game winning double in the ninth inning at Target Field. The Twins won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY SportsThe offense wasn’t much to write home about on Wednesday, as the Twins were only able to record three hits before entering the bottom of the ninth trailing 2-1. The real fans (without kids) that stayed (including myself) were rewarded when a Trevor Plouffe lead-off walk and Brian Dozier single set the stage for Eduardo Escobar‘s 2-run walk-off double to the gap in left-center. It’s debatable as to whether or not it was misplayed by Andy Dirks and Austin Jackson, but no matter how you slice it, Escobar put a charge into the ball in the most clutch of situations. He and fellow newcomer, Wilkin Ramiriez (RBI double in sixth), are two exciting players that can provide some spark off the bench that has been lacking in recent years.
The temperature didn’t rise much for Thursday’s tilt, but the Twins’ bats caught fire to power them to an 8-2 victory and give Mike Pelfrey (5.1 IP, 0 ER) the victory in his first start since returning from Tommy John surgery last May. Minnesota trailed early for the third game in a row, but home runs by Josh Willingham and Trevor Plouffe would give the Twins a 3-2 lead, and they would never look back. Minnesota put the game away in the eighth, scoring five runs on base knocks by Chris Parmelee, Pedro Florimon, and Aaron Hicks, who registered his first career hit with a two-run single to put the game well out of reach.
Apr 3, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Kevin Correia (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY SportsThe key takeaway from this series has to be the performance of the three new additions to the starting rotation. Vance Worley, Kevin Correia, and Mike Pelfrey combined for 18.1 innings of solid pitching and a 2.49 ERA. Considered the Twins’ biggest question mark entering the season; if the starting pitching can continue to churn out quality starts like this, Minnesota could certainly make some noise in the Central as their revamped, rapid attack lineup truly rounds into form.
The Twins now travel to Baltimore (2-1) for a three-game series at Camden Yards, where they were swept to open the 2012 season. Liam Hendriks will take the mound for Minnesota against Jake Arrieta of the Orioles. First pitch is set for Friday at 3:05 EST.