MINNESOTA 7, KANSAS CITY 3 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Tuesday, June 8.
Batting stars: Danny Valencia was 3-for-4 with two runs. Jason Kubel was 2-for-4 with a home run (his seventh) and a double. Michael Cuddyer was 2-for-4. Denard Span was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.
Pitching star: Kevin Slowey pitched seven shutout innings, giving up three hits and no walks and striking out three.
Opposition stars: Jose Guillen was 2-for-4 with a double. Mike Aviles was 2-for-4.
The game: The Twins jumped out for three runs in the first inning. With one out, Matt Tolbert walked and Joe Mauer singled. With two out, Cuddyer delivered an RBI single and Kubel hit a two-run double, putting the Twins up 3-0. They added two more in the fourth. Delmon Young and Valencia singled, they were bunted to second and third, and Span came through with a two-run single to make it 5-0.
It went to 6-0 in the fifth when Kubel homered. In the sixth Valencia singled, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a Tolbert single.
The Royals scored some late runs to make the final score look better. In the eighth singles by Mitch Maier and Yuniesky Betancourt and a sacrifice fly brought home their first run. In the ninth, Billy Butler reached on an error and scored on Guillen's double. Aviles singled him home to make the final score 7-3.
WP: Slowey (7-3). LP: Zack Greinke (1-8). S: Matt Guerrier (1),.
Notes: As we've discussed before, this was the year Justin Morneau had his season end just before the all-star break, which caused Cuddyer to go to first and Kubel to right field. At this point, though, Morneau was still at first, Cuddyer in right, and Kubel at DH. The main DH this season was Jim Thome.
Tolbert was at second base in place of Orlando Hudson, who was out due to injury. Nick Punto was at shortstop in place of J. J. Hardy, who was out due to injury.
Morneau was leading the team in batting at .362. He was batting .345 with an OPS of 1.055 when his season ended. Valencia was batting .333. He would finish the season at .311. We thought we really had something.
Mauer was batting .312. He would finish at .327.
Tolbert, who was in the number two spot in the order, was batting .160 with an OPS of .345. He would finish at .230, which was also his career batting average.
According to game scores, this was only the fourth-best game for Slowey in 2010. His best was July 31, when he pitched eight shutout innings against Seattle. His second best was seven no-hit innings against Oakland on August 15. He was also higher on April 20, when he gave up one run in eight innings and struck out nine against Cleveland.
This was the year after Zack Greinke's Cy Young year. He did not have a good year, but it was not as bad as I remembered it, and I think it's not as bad as it was claimed to be at the time. He went 10-14, 4.17, 1.25 WHIP. That's not great by any means--it's certainly not Cy Young caliber--but it's not awful, either. It's an average to slightly-above-average season.
Record: The Twins were 34-24, in first place in the American League Central, 3.5 games ahead of Detroit. They would finish 94-68, in first place, six games ahead of Chicago.
The Royals were 24-35, in fourth place in the American League Central, 10.5 games behind Minnesota. They would finish 67-95, in fifth (last) place, twenty-seven games behind Minnesota.