Tyler Duffy looked shaky in the 1st inning, walking two, giving up a single and uncorking a wild pitch (meh - didn't even get past Suzuki) to load the bases with one out. He then was able to coax a ground-ball double-play out of Victor Martinez to wiggle out of it. The rest, as they say, is history.
The Twins scored four runs the 1st off of Kyle Lobstein and Duffy followed that up by striking out the side in the 2nd. The offense kept up it's smoke & mirrors* assault on Lobstein, plating two more runs in in the home-half of the 2nd. Eduardo Escobar, doing everything in his power to lock himself into that SS position long-term, added a solo blast to the second deck in the 4th and was 2-4 with two RBI's and one Run in the game, upping his season numbers to .269/.310/.457. Of those currently playing every day for this club, only Sano (.956!!!) and Dozier (.774) are sporting a better OPS than EE (.767).
Turns out, the team would only need two of those first inning Runs as Duffy went 6 1/3 innings, allowing one Run on seven hits and a couple of BB's to go with seven K's. Casey Fien walked one and struck out three in 1 2/3 innings and Neal Cotts allowed one hit and struck out one to wrap up the 9th.
Oh yeah, that Mauer guy managed to go 3-5 (all well-hit balls) to get his average back above .270 (.271) on the year to lead the team** in BA. He's knocked in 60 Runs (4th on the team) and scored 60 Runs (3rd). He's currently 6th on the team with 1.5 WAR.***
Kansas City (84-59) has lost 2 in a row but still stands 9 games ahead of the Twins (75-68) in the AL Central. Houston (77-67) and Texas (76-67), currently squaring off for the AL West/WC2 spot, seem to be the more likely target(s) for Minnesota to bypass for the last playoff spot.****
*Of 13 hits, only three were of the extra-base variety: two doubles in the 1st (Mauer, Plouffe!) and Escobar's homer in the 4th, along with four BB's by the squad.
**Currently, only Dozier, Plouffe, Mauer & Hunter qualify for the batting title (3.1 PA's / team game). If he played every remaining game, Suzuki (429) needs ~3.85 PA's/game to qualify. Rosario (403) & Escobar (379) are "close," but would need to average about 5.22 & 6.48 PA's per remaining game to qualify.
***The lowest full-season WAR of his career. He had 1.5 WAR in 80 games in 2011 ... le sigh.
****The Yankees (79-64), winners of their past two (4-6 in their past 10), currently hold the first WC spot, four games ahead of the Twins.