Quality outing goes for naught
One bad by Silva pitch sends Twins to third straight loss
MINNEAPOLIS -- Throughout his difficult 2006 season, Carlos Silva seemed to take each and every struggle on the mound very hard.All of the strife and beating himself up after every bad start wasn't due to his personal aspirations to be better. No, he felt like he was letting his team down. That's why despite all the doubts as to whether he could regain his '05 form and the public chants for pitching prospect Matt Garza to take his spot in the rotation, Silva vowed that he would once again be the type of pitcher that his teammates could count on and worked to make that statement come true. Silva's tireless effort to get back on track is why his teammates felt so disappointed that they haven't been able to reward him with the type of record they feel he deserves so far this season. And on a night when Silva delivered yet another solid outing against a pretty difficult Red Sox lineup, the big hits for the Twins just weren't there once again. Instead, it was one towering home run off Silva from one of the best hitters in the league, David Ortiz, that was the difference as the Twins extended their losing streak to three games with a 2-0 loss to the Red Sox at the Metrodome. "Chief deserved to win that game tonight," Twins backup catcher Mike Redmond said of Silva, who was given the nickname by the team. "I feel bad for him. He's worked really hard to get himself going this year and he did a tremendous job tonight. I just really feel bad for him that we couldn't get some runs for him." Even with the 423-foot blast by Ortiz to the upper-deck seats above right field, Silva still held Boston to just the one run on five hits over seven innings. It was the latest in what has been a string of good starts for the right-hander even though his record hasn't shown it. In six outings this season, Silva (2-2) has delivered four quality starts and every time he's given his team a chance to win as he's not allowed more than three runs in any start. This start however seemed to be the biggest of them all as it came against a club that is known for its power ability and its knack for scoring runs. Friday was only the third time this season that the Red Sox had been held to less than three runs. But the problem for Silva on this night was that the pitcher on the other side had just as good an outing. And he got the bonus of his team providing the big hits when they counted. Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield has proven to be a thorn in the Twins side for much of his career, as he holds a 12-4 record with a 4.01 ERA against the club. And it's perhaps been Wakefield's dominance inside the dome that has been the most impressive. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said before Friday's game that during his years under former skipper Tom Kelly, the team often pondered the idea of bringing in a knuckleball pitcher considering how well they performed in the building. And it seems like Wakefield would love getting that assignment as it's been nothing but success for him inside the Metrodome. Wakefield (3-3) came into the game with a 6-3 record in 10 career starts inside the building and his dominance continued as he held the Twins scoreless over seven innings, allowing just three hits while walking three and striking out two. "He always pitches good here," Redmond said. "He probably would win 20 games if he played here in the dome. Every time we've faced him here, he's been tough." And when Wakefield's knuckleball is on, like it was Friday night, the Twins know that the task of beating him becomes almost impossible. That's not to say that the Twins didn't have their chances. While those chances were few, the team had five runners get into scoring position during the contest. The best opportunity seemed to come in the second inning, when Jason Bartlett delivered a two-out double to put runners on second and third. Luis Castillo then hit a hard liner but right into the glove of shortstop Julio Lugo. After that, it was all Wakefield, until he was replaced in the eighth by former Twin J.C. Romero. With the Twins still trailing, 1-0, Joe Mauer tried to start a rally as he delivered a two-out double to left. But Torii Hunter then popped out to Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis in foul territory to end the threat and the inning. Once they missed the opportunity in the eighth, the Twins' chances seemed to disappear as the Red Sox added one more run in the ninth inning off reliever Juan Rincon. Still, giving up just two runs over nine innings is the type of game that the Twins feel pretty good about considering the normal results. "We gave up two runs, and that's good enough to win a ballgame most of the time," Gardenhire said. "Tonight, they just pitched a little better." With the loss Friday, the Twins record at home this season dropped to 7-8. Sitting below the .500 mark at home is a tad unusual for the club that was a Major League-best 54-27 at home last year. "Sure it's surprising," Redmond said. "But I think it goes in streaks some times. For whatever reason, we haven't been able to get our offense going here. All we can do is keep grinding it out." So far that grinding it out has meant more losses in the dome, including another one for Silva. But Silva wasn't concerned about the lack of a personal win on Friday as he knows that more pitching performances like this outing will do nothing but bring positives down the road. "I cannot do anything about wins and losses, the only thing you have to do is give the opportunity to win the game to your team," Silva said. "And every time you are able to do that you're going to be in a great spot, good spot."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.