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Archive for the ‘Minnesota Twins’ Category

Twins clinch A.L. Central crown

Posted by Joshua Kummins on September 22, 2010

Twins clinch AL Central title

by Kelly Theiser, MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS — After two straight years of playing in Game 163, the Twins spent much of the 2010 season talking about how the American League Central race would likely go down to the final week once again.

There were even a few mentions by Twins players of how their success against the White Sox would bode well, and that they could potentially get home-field advantage if a one-game tiebreaker was needed for a third consecutive year.

So perhaps it only seems fitting that on Tuesday night, the Twins became the first team in baseball to clinch their spot in the postseason — their sixth AL Central title in the last nine seasons.

After securing a 6-4 comeback victory over the Indians, the team waited around patiently before a 7-2 loss by the White Sox officially brought Minnesota’s magic number to zero — securing what had seemed over the past week to be an inevitable title for the club.

And this year, there will be no fretting until the end for the Twins.

“Considering we’ve been to Game 163 the last couple years, I think this might work out a little bit better for us,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of clinching with 11 games left in the season.

“At least I know we’ll be rested for the first game, and that’s a nice thought that we can get some people healthy and kind of set things up a little bit easier than we have the last couple years.”

Clinching so early certainly seemed to be the last thing that the Twins were thinking about back in March when All-Star closer Joe Nathan went down with a season-ending elbow injury.

It was the first of what would be many obstacles the Twins would have to overcome over the year.

Justin Morneau, who was considered an AL MVP candidate in the first half, suffered a concussion on July 7 that has kept him off the field for more than two months. Opening Day starter Scott Baker has been sidelined twice by elbow tendinitis, and fellow starter Kevin Slowey also battled elbow issues. Nick Blackburn required a stint in the Minor Leagues to get himself back on track.

A slow start offensively by Joe Mauer over the first half of the season was concerning, as were the nagging injuries that seemed to be bothering the All-Star catcher. Nick Punto, J.J. Hardy and Orlando Hudson combined to have seven stints on the disabled list. And the Twins turned to rookie third baseman Danny Valencia, who had expected to be a temporary callup, when injuries depleted the club’s infield.

But the Twins found a way to overcome any roadblock in their way and deliver one of the best second-half records in team history. The Twins are 45-18 since the All-Star break, good for a .714 winning percentage. Only two teams since 2001 have had a second-half winning percentage that high, and both were Oakland A’s squads (2001 and 2002).

“It seemed like no matter how many injuries we had, somebody always stepped up and kept us in it,” said pitching coach Rick Anderson.

“We don’t give up,” said Michael Cuddyer, who has started at five different positions this season and shifted to first base full time when Morneau went down. “We don’t really ever give up. We continue to plug away and continue to play good baseball. When you worry about only that, you’ll have success in the second half.”

The Twins entered the 2010 season with high expectations, arriving at Spring Training with a record payroll for the franchise nearing $100 million and having added pieces like designated hitter Jim Thome, Hudson and Hardy to what they felt was already a strong core.

The moves by general manager Bill Smith continued during the season, as right before the July 31 Trade Deadline he acquired closer Matt Capps and then got left-hander Brian Fuentes in a waiver trade with the Angels in August.

“I think the goal going into the offseason was to address the depth,” Cuddyer said. “They obviously didn’t know we were going to lose those guys, and unfortunately we did. Then we addressed more depth and we continued to get deeper. You’ve got to give all the credit in the world to [Smith] and all those guys in the front office. They did a heck of a job bringing in the depth that we needed.”

The strong second half has allowed the Twins to do something on Tuesday night that they hadn’t done in any of their recent pennant races — secure the title well before the end of the season and hopefully give themselves the rest that they’d been missing in recent years.

In 2006, the Twins didn’t clinch the division title until the final day of the season, having not led at any point before that. The Twins lost to the White Sox in Game 163 in ’08 to miss out on the postseason, and then they rallied from seven games down in September in ’09 by beating the Tigers in the one-game tiebreaker at the Metrodome to clinch the AL Central title. But even the two times they made the postseason, they didn’t have much energy left after some exhausting races to the titles.

Now, the Twins seem ready to use the little over a week and a half remaining in the regular season to prepare themselves for what they hope will be a long postseason run.

“You make the playoffs — that’s a great achievement in itself,” said Mauer. “This team has other goals, too. We’re on the right track.”

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Posted in Minnesota Twins, MLB Postseason | Leave a Comment »

Sox Notes: Sox claim Fox from Minnesota

Posted by Joshua Kummins on September 9, 2010

Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is now reporting that the Red Sox claimed RHP Matt Fox off waivers from Minnesota. He was designated for assignment on Sunday when the Twins activated Ben Revere.

The 27-year-old Fox spent most of this season with Triple A Rochester before he was called up. Fox had a 3.71 ERA for Rochester and was selected in the 2004 supplemental round.

Posted in Minnesota Twins, Red Sox, Sox Notes | Leave a Comment »

Sox Summary: Red Sox sweep two-game set; take season series with Twins

Posted by Joshua Kummins on May 21, 2010

Jon Lester tossed his fifth career complete game on Thursday. (Bill Greene/Boston Globe)

Jon Lester allowed just six hits and an earned run en route to a complete game 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night at Fenway Park. The outing was the 100th in Jon Lester’s career and the first complete game by a Red Sox pitcher since Josh Beckett’s five-inning complete game against the Rays on June 6, 2009.

Boston has won 11 of their last 17 games since May 3, including 9 of 12 home games in that span. Since losing their first two series at Fenway Park this year, the club has won five of their last six sets at home. The Sox have won since straight games against the Twins at Fenway Park dating back July 7, 2008. The win marked the Boston’s first two-game series sweep of the Twins in Boston since a doubleheader on April 22, 2009.

In the bottom of the second, Adrian Beltre gave the Sox a 1-0 lead with a solo shot into the Red Sox bullpen (3).

Kevin Youkilis hit a towering three-run home run over the center field camera well in the third inning to give the Red Sox a 4-0 lead, which they would never give up.

Youkilis made it 5-0 with an RBI double down the left field line in the fifth inning, under the dive of third baseman Nick Punto.

With Bill Hall batting in the sixth, Adrian Beltre scored on a passed ball by catcher Joe Mauer to give Boston an even-more commanding 6-0 lead.

In the top of the eighth, the Twins finally mustered something against starter Jon Lester as Delmon Young hit a sacrifice fly and Joe Mauer hit into an infield groundout.

The Red Sox will open Interleague Play on Friday night as they travel to The City of Brotherly Love for a three-game set against the Philadelphia Phillies. John Lackey will face Cole Hamels in the series opener on Friday night.

NOTES

* Manager Terry Francona announced that Jacoby Ellsbury will join the team in Philadelphia this weekend and will “probably” be reactivated on Saturday. In three minor league rehab appearances, Ellsbury is 4-for-10 with two walks and a stolen base.

* Mike Cameron will make a rehab start with Portland on Friday as they open a three-game weekend series against the Trenton Thunder (NYY) at Hadlock Field. He has gone 4-for-10 with two walks and a stolen base in six rehab games so far. Following Friday’s game, he will be re-evaluated.

Posted in Minnesota Twins, Red Sox, Sox Summary | 3 Comments »

Red Sox Game Notes: Sox look for two-game swipe of Twins at Fenway to close season series

Posted by Joshua Kummins on May 20, 2010

After opening the two-game series and homestand with a victory, the Red Sox (21-20) will look for the sweep of the Minnesota Twins (24-16) on Thursday night at Fenway Park. Clay Buchholz was masterful on Wednesday night as he picked up his fifth triumph of the season in a 3-2 win. Jon Lester and Francisco Liriano will matchup in a battle of southpaws on the mound. Game time is set for 7:10 on NESN and WEEI.

RED SOX
54 Darnell McDonald CF
15 Dustin Pedroia 2B
41 Victor Martinez C
20 Kevin Youkilis 1B
25 Mike Lowell DH
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
7 J.D. Drew RF
22 Bill Hall LF
13 Angel Sanchez SS

31 Jon Lester LHP

TWINS
2 Denard Span CF
1 Orlando Hudson 2B
7 Joe Mauer C
33 Justin Morneau 1B
5 Michael Cuddyer RF
16 Jason Kubel DH
21 Delmon Young LF
23 Brendan Harris SS
8 Nick Punto 3B

47 Francisco Liriano LHP

Series Stuff: The Red Sox and Twins are even in the 2010 season series, 2-2, heading into the final game tonight. The two teams played in the opening series at the new Target Field during the first roadtrip of the season. The Sox have won 12 of the last 20 games against the Twins since the end of 2007, including 12 of the last 16 at Fenway.

Roster Move: Today, the Red Sox announced that they have recalled infielder Angel Sanchez from Triple-A Pawtucket to counter the team’s designation of left-handed reliever Scott Schoeneweis. Sanchez was hitting .313 with 17 RBI in 36 games for the PawSox as their regular shortstop. Sanchez was signed by the Sox in December 2009 as a minor league free agent. He will bat ninth and play shortstop tonight, wearing #13.

For the Record: The Sox are winners of two consecutive games, but have lost four of the last seven. Since May 3, the Sox have won 10 of 16. At 21-20, the Sox are over .500 for the first time since May 15.

Road Warriors: 18 of the next 27 games from May 14 to June 10 will be played on the road as the Sox have played just 17 road games so far this season, tied for second-fewest with Houston and San Francisco.

The Road is Rough: Each of the last three and the next four opponents have compilied a .500 record or better to start the season, while three of them lead their divisions (Minnesota in the A.L. Central, Philadelphia in the N.L. East, and Tampa Bay in the A.L. East). All of those teams combine for a 150-91 record (.622) and all rank among the top ten winning percentages in baseball.

Minor Happenings: Jacoby Ellsbury picked up three hits and one run, while Mike Cameron had a run, a hit, and an RBI in a rehab start for Double-A Portland this afternoon at Hadlock Field. The Sea Dogs were on the short end of a 6-2 decision against New Britian (MIN) in the finale of a three-game series. 

Pitching Matchup: Jon Lester vs. Francisco Liriano
Lester in 2010: 3-2, 3.91 ERA in 8 starts
Liriano in 2010: 4-2, 2.63 ERA in 7 starts
Lester’s last start: ND at DET on May 15 (7 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 10 SO)
Liriano’s last start: Loss at NYY on May 15 (6 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 7 SO)
Lester career/2010 vs. MIN: 0-2, 5.96 ERA in 5 appearances/First start (0-1 in 2009)
Liriano career/2010 vs. BOS: 1-2, 7.20 ERA in 3 starts/1-0, 0.00 ERA in 1 start

Posted in Minnesota Twins, Red Sox | 1 Comment »

Sox Summary: Buchholz shines in topping of Twins Wednesday night

Posted by Joshua Kummins on May 20, 2010

Clay Buchholz was masterful over eight innings en route to his fifth win this season. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

Clay Buchholz tossed eight innings, allowing nine hits and two runs, while walking one and striking out seven en route to his fifth win of the season in 3-2 Red Sox win over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night at Fenway Park. The Red Sox are now above .500 for the first time since May 15 and have currently won six straight games at Fenway against Minnesota.

Joe Mauer drove in the first run on an RBI double to right-center field in the fourth inning to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the inning, David Ortiz smashed a two-run home run to left-center field off the ledge on top of the Green Monster (8). The play was reviewed by the umpires and overturned from a triple for Ortiz to a home run.

Bill Hall’s RBI single to left field in the sixth inning gave the Red Sox a 3-1 lead.

An RBI groundout by Joe Mauer in the ninth scored Denard Span and made things interesting, but the Twins couldn’t muster anything else.

Clay Buchholz picked up the win, while Daniel Bard closed the game to notch his first save. Scott Baker took the loss as he allowed eight hits and three runs over six innings.

The Red Sox close the homestand and brief two-game series with the Twins on Thursday night as Jon Lester faces Francisco Liriano.

Posted in Minnesota Twins, Red Sox, Sox Summary | Leave a Comment »

Red Sox Game Notes: Sox stop at Fenway for quick two-game set with Twins

Posted by Joshua Kummins on May 19, 2010

After a two-game split against New York at Yankee Stadium, the Red Sox (20-20) welcome the Minnesota Twins (24-15) for the opener of a two-game series at Fenway Park tonight. The Sox will hit the road following this series as they embark on a six-game roadtrip to Philadelphia and Tampa Bay. Clay Buchholz will look to continue a string of strong starts against Scott Baker. Game time is 7:10 p.m. on NESN and WEEI.

RED SOX
7 J.D. Drew RF
15 Dustin Pedroia 2B
41 Victor Martinez C
2o Kevin Youkilis 1B
34 David Ortiz DH
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
32 Jeremy Hermida LF
22 Bill Hall SS
54 Darnell McDonald CF

11 Clay Buchholz RHP

TWINS
2 Denard Span RF
1 Orlando Hudson 2B
7 Joe Mauer C
33 Justin Morneau 1B
5 Michael Cuddyer RF
25 Jim Thome DH
16 Jason Kubel LF
23 Brendan Harris SS
8 Nick Punto 3B

30 Scott Baker RHP

Series Stuff: The Red Sox trail 2-1 in the season series against the Twins as they played in the opening series at the new Target Field during the first roadtrip of the season. This two-game set will mark the team’s final meeting of the 2010 regular season. The Sox have won 11 of the last 19 games against the Twins since the end of 2007, including 11 of the last 15 at Fenway.

Welcome to the Chicken Man: Right-handed reliever Joe Nelson was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket as Josh Beckett was sent to the disabled list with back pains. He missed his start two rotations ago with a sore back and left in the fifth inning with back issues last night. Nelson made 16 relief appearances for the PawSox this season, going 3-2 with a save and 2.49 ERA. As for the “Chicken Man,” PawSox radio announcer Dan Hoard has more details on his wonderful blog, “Heard it from Hoard.”

For the Record: The Sox snapped a three-game winning streak with a come-from-behind win at Yankee Stadium last night, but have lost four of the last six. Since May 3, the Sox have won nine of 15.

Road Warriors: 18 of the next 27 games from May 14 to June 10 will be played on the road as the Sox have played just 17 road games so far this season, tied for second-fewest with Houston and San Francisco.

The Road is Rough: Each of the last three and the next four opponents have compilied a .500 record or better to start the season, while three of them lead their divisions (Minnesota in the A.L. Central, Philadelphia in the N.L. East, and Tampa Bay in the A.L. East). All of those teams combine for a 147-88 record (.626) and all rank among the top ten winning percentages in baseball.

Minor Happenings: Jacoby Ellsbury went 0-for-3, with a walk and a run scored in a rehab start for Double-A Portland last night at Hadlock Field. The Sea Dogs were 2-1 winners in the opening game of a three-game series against New Britian (MIN). He will continue the rehab assignment for Double-A Portland, along with Mike Cameron on Thursday afternoon.

Pitching Matchup: Clay Buchholz vs. Scott Baker
Buchholz in 2010: 4-3, 3.46 ERA in 7 starts
Baker in 2010: 4-3, 4.93 ERA in 8 starts
Buchholz’s last start: Win at DET on May 14 (6.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 5 BB, 3 SO)
Baker’s last start: Loss vs. NYY on May 14 (6 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 9 SO)
Buchholz career/2010 vs. MIN: One career start, Road loss on May 12, 2008
Baker career/2010 vs. BOS: 0-1, 4.30 ERA in 3 appearances/First start (0-1 in 2009)

Posted in Minnesota Twins, Red Sox | 2 Comments »

Sox Summary: Twins take first series at Target Field with game three win over Wakefield; Red Sox

Posted by Joshua Kummins on April 15, 2010

Twins lefty Francisco Liriano tossed seven innings en route to the win. (Ann Heisenfelt/AP)

Both teams celebrated Jackie Robinson Day at Target Field on Thursday. (Ann Heisenfelt/AP)

The Red Sox were 8-0 losers on Thursday against the Minnesota Twins in the three-game series finale at Target Field. The teams split the first two games of the set, but the Twins had this one from the shoot. During today’s game, both teams celebrated Jackie Robinson Day by wearing #42 jerseys in his honor.

Minnesota cracked the game open with three runs in the fifth inning and two in the sixth and seventh to equal the 8-0 score. The Twins mustered 15 hits off Red Sox pitching, while Boston managed just a half dozen.

Nick Punto was 3-for-4, with two runs scored for the Twins, while Justin Morneau was 3-for-5, with a run scored and an RBI. Dustin Pedroia finished 3-for-4, which equaled half of the Red Sox team hit count.

Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield was roughed up for ten hits and five earned runs in 5.1 innings to take the loss and fall to 0-1. Lefty Francisco Liriano earned the win for Minnesota as he tossed seven innings of four-hit baseball. He improved his record to 1-0, recording his first decision of the young season.

The Red Sox will return to Fenway Park for the first of a four-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays, beginning on Friday night at 7:10 p.m. Josh Beckett and Wade Davis are the scheduled starters for Friday’s opener.

—-

Mike Cameron was a late scratch from the lineup on Thursday. (Kelly O'Connor)

Center fielder Mike Cameron was scratched roughly 90 minutes before game time with a lower abdominal strain today. This led to Bill Hall’s first start in center field since 2007, but replaced Cameron as the center fielder in a game for the Milwaukee Brewers last season.

Posted in Minnesota Twins, Red Sox, Sox Summary | Leave a Comment »

Red Sox Game Notes: Sox look to close roadtrip with series win over Twinkies

Posted by Joshua Kummins on April 15, 2010

After splitting the first two games against the Minnesota Twins (6-3) at Target Field, the Red Sox (4-4) will look to steal the first regular season series at the Twins’ new home as they meet for the rubber game on Thursday afternoon. Tim Wakefield will take the ball for Boston and will oppose Twins lefty Francisco Liriano.

RED SOX
16 Marco Scutaro SS
15 Dustin Pedroia 2B
41 Victor Martinez C
20 Kevin Youkilis 1B
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
25 Mike Lowell DH
7 JD Drew RF
23 Mike Cameron CF
22 Bill Hall LF

49 Tim Wakefield RHP

TWINS
2 Denard Span CF
1 Orlando Hudson 2B
7 Joe Mauer C
33 Justin Morneau 1B
5 Michael Cuddyer RF
25 Jim Thome DH
16 Jason Kubel LF
27 J.J. Hardy SS
8 Nick Punto 3B

47 Francisco Liriano LHP

Series Stuff: The Sox and Twins will meet for the final time this season when they hook up for a brief two-game series on May 19 and 20 at Fenway Park. The winner of today’s game will take a 2-1 series lead with two games to go.

Day Dreaming: This is Boston’s fourth straight day game, a streak that will come to an end today. Overall, six of the first 13 games will be played during daylight, including Marathon Monday’s 11:05 a.m. start against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Pitching Mathup: Tim Wakefield vs. Francisco Liriano
Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield will take the ball for the Red Sox on Thursday afternoon. In his lone start on Friday in Kansas City, Wake did not figure in Boston’s 4-3 loss despite allowing just two runs on six hits
and one walk, while fanning six over seven innings. He also became the oldest Red Sox pitcher to start a game, surpassing David Wells who was 43 years and 98 days old on August 26, 2006. Southpaw Francisco Liriano takes the ball for Minnesota in the series finale. He also did not factor into the decision in his inagural start of the season, a 4-3 win in ten innings against the White Sox last Friday. He pitched six innings, allowing four hits and three runs, while walking five and fanning three.

Posted in Minnesota Twins, Red Sox | 1 Comment »

Sox Summary: Red Sox come back to take game two at Target Field

Posted by Joshua Kummins on April 14, 2010

John Lackey picked up his first Red Sox win on Wednesday. (John Tlumacki/Boston Globe file)

The Red Sox came back to tie the opening series in Minnesota as Boston took the second game of the series against the Twins, 6-3, on Wednesday afternoon at Target Field.

This time the Local Nine were able to jump out to a fast start as they scored single runs in the first and second innings to take a quick 2-0 lead after a pair of innings, thanks to an RBI double by Dustin Pedroia and an RBI base hit by Marco Scutaro.

RBI singles by Orlando Hudson and Joe Mauer tied the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the third inning for the Twins.

Pedroia, who finished 2-for-5, hit a solo home run to give the Red Sox the lead in the fifth inning. Scutaro and Victor Martinez also had two hits in five at bats for the victorious Red Sox.

Jeremy Hermida broke the game open with a bases-clearing double in the eighth for the Red Sox. Michael Cuddyer’s home run in the bottom of the inning made things interesting, however.

John Lackey tossed 6.2 solid innings as he allowed seven hits and two runs, while walking four and fanning two. With that respectable outing, he was able to pick up his first win with Boston, while Jonathan Papelbon allowed two walks in the ninth inning on his way to his third save.

Delmon Young was 3-for-4, with a run scored for the Twins. Starter Kevin Slowey was charged with his first loss of the season as he allowed five hits and three runs, while walking four and fanning five.

Tim Wakefield takes the hill for the Red Sox in Thursday afternoon’s rubber game at Target Field, which begins at 1:10 p.m. Southpaw Francisco Liriano takes the ball for the Twins.

NOTES

* Left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury was left out of the lineup on Wednesday afternoon and it was announced that he will miss the remainder of the roadtrip, which concludes on Thursday at Target Field. The linked post also mentions that Boof Bonser will also return to Boston on Friday to have a shoulder examination.

Posted in Minnesota Twins, Red Sox, Sox Summary | Leave a Comment »

Red Sox Game Notes: After memorable Target Field opener, Sox and Twins get back to normal

Posted by Joshua Kummins on April 14, 2010

After dropping Monday’s opening game at Target Field, the Red Sox (3-4) will look to turn the tides in the middle game of the series against the Minnesota Twins (6-2) on Wednesday afternoon. John Lackey will oppose Kevin Slowey.

RED SOX
16 Marco Scutaro SS
15 Dustin Pedroia 2B
41 Victor Martinez C
20 Kevin Youkilis 1B
34 David Ortiz DH
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
7 J.D. Drew RF
23 Mike Cameron CF
32 Jeremy Hermida LF

40 John Lackey RHP

TWINS
2 Denard Span CF
1 Orlando Hudson 2B
7 Joe Mauer C
33 Justin Morneau 1B
5 Michael Cuddyer RF
16 Jason Kubel DH
21 Delmon Young LF
27 J.J. Hardy SS
8 Nick Punto 3B

59 Kevin Slowey RHP

Series Stuff: With Monday’s win, the Twins have a 1-0 lead in the five-game season series. Following this three-gamer in Minneapolis, the teams will play a brief two-game series on May 19-20.

Pitching Matchup: John Lackey vs. Kevin Slowey
Lackey was thrown into the Yankees rivalry as he tossed six scoreless frames on three hits and two walks. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became the first Red Sox pitcher to record an outing of at least 6.0 innings in his debut. During the spring, he was a team best 1-1 with a 1.35 ERA. Slowey was the winning pitcher in the Twins’ 10-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday. He has a 1-0 record and 1.69 ERA this season, while he posted a perfect 4-0 record and 1.95 ERA in seven appearances.

Posted in Minnesota Twins, Red Sox | Leave a Comment »