One day after an atrocious display of sloppy baseball, the Twins played (and won) an exceedingly crisp 2-1 game.
Francisco Liriano stuck out 11 and walked zero. Jon Rauch, who has been less-than-dominant while sticking up the saves, fanned the side in the ninth — 14 Ks for the Twins with no walks.
The lineup managed to bunch enough bleeders and bloops together in the seventh to scratch out their two runs. They got seven hits in the game against Tim Hudson; five of them came in the seventh.
A few random comments:
* Liriano got 15 swinging strikes. That's a lot. He struggled for a while after his 123-pitch outing on May 2, but in his last two games he's worked 15 innings, struck out 21, walked two and allowed two runs. I think he's recovered.
* The Twins could only play station-to-station on the base paths during their seventh inning rally. Nobody went second to home or first to third. Morneau's single was to left, and Mauer stopped at second. Cuddyer's was a swinging bunt. They didn't want to challenge Jason Heyward's arm on Kubel's single to right, and I don't think Cuddyer got a good read on Delmon Young's single to left.
But I was thinking yet again — beyond Denard Span and Nick Punto, this is not a lineup that's going to take a lot of extra bases. And we know how Span and Punto did on the bases Thursday.
* The interleague schedule appears unkind to the Twins. Atlanta is now 35-27; the Twins also play Colorado (31-30), the Mets (33-28), the Phillies (31-28) and Milwaukee (26-35). That's a combined 156-148.
The Tigers also have the Mets and the Braves, but the rest of their NL opponents are current opponent Pittsburgh (23-38), Washington (30-32) and Arizona (24-38), a combined 145-163.