Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fresh Bake(r)d Victory

On a day when the Twins absolutely needed it, Scott Baker came through. Pitching five solid innings, Baker allowed the Twins bats enough time to amass a 9-3 lead and get him his seventh victory of the season. Too bad the team couldn't have gotten anything going in his two 1-0 defeats over the past couple of weeks.

And it can't be overstated that the bullpen did a pretty nice job in closing it out. Brian Bass and Craig Breslow pitched scoreless innings before giving way to Jessie Crain, who in typical Jessie Crain fashion, allowed the Indians to plate a runner. Of course, the score was 11-4 at that time, so the run didn't matter. Still, Crain has now given up runs in three of his past four outings. Thankfully, Matt Guerrier closed out the win with a scoreless ninth.

Aside from Baker's streak-busting performance and bullpen efficiency, Brian Buscher gave the Twins' brass pause in their search for a new 3B-man. Buscher went 3-for-5 with his third round-tripper of the season, and drove in a career-high five runs. While it wasn't spotlighted in any of the game summary articles, it has to be mentioned that Delmon Young also had a three-hit night with two RBI. Young's batting average is up to .297, good for fourth on the team. Going further, he's batting .342/.364/.479 in July and is becoming a rock-solid no. 6 bat for Minnesota.

Carlos Gomez worked out in a pool yesterday, and is feeling better, according to Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune.

In other Twins-related news, Francisco Liriano is pitching today vs. Scranton/Wllkes-Burre. Listen here at 5:05 CST today! Wilkes-Burre is a considerably more patient team than Toledo, Liriano's previous opponent, as they rank second in the International league in walks. The call-up could come any day now...

Minor League Notes:
  • Double-A third baseman Daniel Valencia ripped two more hits last night for his third multi-hit performance in a row. He's now 7-for-11 (.636) in his past three games.
  • Fellow Rock Cat Dustin Martin also banged out two hits to raise his average up to .292 on the season. In fact, Martin now has seven home runs and 18 stolen bases (T-5th in Eastern League) on the season.
  • Garrett Olsen hammered a homer last night for Single-A Fort Myers, snapping an ugly 1-for-18 skid. Since moving up to A+ ball in June, Olsen has struggled quite a bit, hitting just .172 in 32 games.
  • After his recent call-up from the Elizabethton Rookie League team where he allowed just one earned run in 19 innings while striking out 34 batters, 21-year-old Steven "Shooter" Hunt had an excellent debut for Beloit, striking out nine men in five innings of work. Hunt allowed a run and walked two batters, but all-in-all, the Tulane graduate is still golden. Certainly an arm to keep an eye on.
  • Last, Elizabethton first baseman Jonathan Waltenbury has pounded out four multi-hit games in a row, and has nine hits in his past 20 at bats (.450 BA). He's just 20 years old, and could soon be ready for a call-up to Beloit as he's batting .326/.388/.545 in 35 games this season.
Thanks for reading... have a great day!

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