|Michael Cuddyer hit his 16th homer of the season in the|
top of the eighth inning. The Twins scored four times
that inning off Michael Wuertz, who pitched
his high school ball for Austin.
Box score here.
The good news for the Twins in this game: Trevor Plouffe, making his first major league start at second base, looked good at the keystone. He started a pair of double plays to help Francisco Liriano work out of jams. And at the plate he rapped a couple of hits, scored three times, drove in two.
One game isn't proof of anything, but it gives Ron Gardenhire reason to give him more time at the position while Alexi Casilla recovers from his hamstring injury.
Matt Tolbert acquitted himself well at shortstop as well, and had a couple of hits and a stolen base.
The sour part was Jose Mijares, who came in to pitch the bottom of the eighth after the Twins had opened a 9-2 lead. It was another ineffective outing for Mijares— three runs on two hits and a walk, including a three-run homer — and the portly LOOGY now has a a 6.26 ERA.
And when Alex Burnett walked the first man he saw in the ninth, Glen Perkins wound up pitching. That was not what Gardenhire wanted, not with a seven-run lead with six outs to go.
Liriano threw first pitch strikes to only nine of the 27 men he faced and barely threw more strikes than balls, but Oakland couldn't dent the plate against him after he gave up a two-run homer to Josh Willingham in the first. (Willingham also had the homer against Mijares.)