May 9, 2006

Now That's a Boxscore

Apparently the Twins' lineup is allowed one big game every two weeks. They dropped 13 runs on the Blue Jays in the second game of the year, scored 12 runs against the Angels on April 19, and then exploded for 15 runs against the Rangers last night.

After scoring six runs in the first inning and knocking starter Kevin Millwood out of the game in the second, I expected the Twins to get shut down by the Rangers' relievers as they so often are. Instead, they kept pounding out hits--19 in total--and scored at least one run off each of five Texas pitchers until they had put together the following gorgeous boxscore:

               1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9        R   H   E
Minnesota 6 3 1 0 0 0 1 2 2 15 19 2

Luis Rodriguez, 3B 5 2 2 0 1 0
Luis Castillo, 2B 6 1 1 0 0 1
Joe Mauer, C 5 2 3 1 1 1
Torii Hunter, CF 5 3 2 2 1 0
Michael Cuddyer, RF 5 3 3 2 1 1
Justin Morneau, 1B 5 3 2 6 1 0
Rondell White, DH 6 2 1 2 0 0
Lew Ford, LF 4 2 1 1 1 0
Juan Castro, SS 5 1 0 1 0 1

46 19 15 15 6 4

Luis Rodriguez went 2-for-5 with a walk replacing Shannon Stewart as the leadoff man and continues to give fans another reason to wonder why Tony Batista was signed in the first place. Lew Ford went 2-for-4 with a great catch subbing for Stewart in left field. Joe Mauer went 3-for-5 with a walk and scored three runs, smacking a double over the head of center fielder Gary Matthews Jr.. Torii Hunter went 3-for-5 and is amazingly now hitting .266 after being down as low as .194 just last week.

Michael Cuddyer continued his hot hitting with doubles in each of his first three at-bats, giving him a remarkable 10 doubles in 67 at-bats on the year to go along with a .343 batting average and 1.054 OPS. Justin Morneau homered once off a righty and once off a lefty, driving in a career-high six runs to take over the team lead from Hunter with 23 RBIs. Even Rondell White got into the action, collecting two bloop hits in a season full of line drives that have found gloves.

In one night the Twins' offense went from averaging 4.1 runs per game to 4.4 runs per game, moving from 13th in the league to 10th while the team batting average rose from .257 to .264. And unlike the lineup's mini-outburst last week, the damage lasted all game and most of it came against an actual major league-quality pitcher (pictured below wanting to kill himself).

It was the most runs the Twins have scored since crossing the plate 16 times on June 1, 2004. To put into context how long ago that was, Doug Mientkiewicz, Alex Prieto, Jose Offerman, Henry Blanco, and Cristian Guzman appeared in the game. Looking at those names, it's a wonder they scored any runs at all. The lucky pitcher that day was Carlos Silva, who also happened to be on the mound for the heavy dose of run support last night (and he needed it, giving up five runs on 11 hits in six innings).

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