Game 40 Recap: Twins 4, Pirates 3 (13 Innings)

Extra-inning home runs are cool.

Sounds like this was quite a ball game.  I just heard bits and pieces of it while going from one meeting to another, so if I have something wrong please feel free to correct me.

The Twins once again scored early and tried to make it hold up.  For a while, it looked like it might, as Mike Pelfrey pitched very well.  I've been slow to believe in Pelfrey, and I'm still not sure I do, but he's only had a couple of really bad games this season.  He gave up only one run last night and with better defense might not have given up any, as the one run he allowed came after a botched double-play attempts.

One wonders if he could've gone a seventh inning, but he had thrown ninety-two pitched through six, so it was not necessarily a bad move to pull him.  Unfortunately, Ryan Pressly struggled to throw strikes for the second consecutive game and his two walks led to a run, cutting the Twins lead to 3-2 through seven.  It looked like Boyer could pitch the eighth, Perkins the ninth, and the Twins would come away with a win.

It didn't work that way, of course, as Boyer gave up a home run to Andrew McCutchen.  Well, Boyer was bound to give up a run eventually.  And, of course, McCutchen is a very good batter.  He averages twenty-some homers a year, so it's not like it's a disgrace to give him one.  Still, the scoree was tied 3-3 and we had free baseball coming up.

In the extra innings the Twins, who had done nothing on offense since the first inning, continue to do nothing.  The Pirates, surprisingly, also did nothing, despite the fact that they were batting against J. R. Graham and Brian Duensing.  Let's give some props to Graham.  He's pretty much been in the groundskeeper role this year, and maybe that's appropriate, but he's really only had two bad outings out of ten, and one of the bad outings was made worse by poor defense.  In the other eight he's pitched thirteen innings and given up one earned run on six hits and three walks with seven strikeouts.  If not for his struggles a week ago in a blowout in Detroit, his numbers would look awesome.  They don't look bad anyway.  It may be time to think about giving him a larger role.  Duensing pitched a perfect inning for the first time all season, and we went to the thirteenth inning still tied 3-3.

And then Joe Mauer, a singles hitter who never comes through in the clutch, decided he'd had enough of this.  He hit a 405-foot home run to right field to put the Twins in front 4-3, Glen Perkins struggled a bit but got the side out in the bottom of the thirteenth, and the Twins came away with their fourth win out of five and a two-game road sweep.

So now the Twins get a well-deserved off day before traveling to Chicago for a three-game series.  Staff Ace Phil Hughes, who actually pitched like one last time, will go for the Twins against Chicago's Jeff Samardzija.  Samadzija has struggled some this year, too, although he's given the White Sox at least six innings every time but one, when he went five.  Sounds like the first game of a sweep to me!  We're six games over .500, and we're still on track for 145-17!