Notes: Castillo's streak comes to an end
Cali becomes lefty specialist; Twins getting outpitched
ANAHEIM -- Luis Castillo walked onto the field at Angel Stadium on Monday afternoon knowing that his last error had come at this ballpark over a year ago.And the second baseman made the goal to try and get out of the three-game series without seeing his record-breaking errorless streak come to an end. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to make that happen.. Castillo saw his streak finish at 143 games in the finale against the Angels on Wednesday afternoon. The second baseman recorded an error in the second inning when trying to make a catch on a fielder's choice throw by shortstop Jason Bartlett. It was his first error since May 29, 2006. "I don't feel too bad because we won this game and needed to win this game," Castillo said after the Twins' 8-5 victory. "And I knew one day it would happen." Knowing that one day he would indeed make an error is one thing. But the fact that the error came on a routine play was something that seemed to irk Castillo a bit. "If you throw me 200,000 balls like that, I make the play," Castillo said. "So for me, that's a surprise. I say, 'How can it happen? How can I miss that ball?' But for some reason, I missed it." Castillo's 143-game streak is a Major League record for consecutive errorless games by a second baseman. The previous record was set by Ryne Sandberg at 123 games during the 1989-90 seasons. The impressive nature of the streak was not lost on Castillo's teammates. The entire club waited on the top step of the dugout for him when he returned after making the error. Third baseman Nick Punto was one of those waiting to congratulate Castillo, and he sepnt some time talking to the always fiery second baseman. While it was hard for Castillo to see the streak end, Punto believes that starting another streak might be a good thing for the second baseman. "It's like a monkey off his back, because he doesn't have to think about it," Punto said. "It's hard not to think about it when people talk about it all the time. It's an amazing feat. I don't think that record will ever be broken." And while Castillo has already moved on from his error, he did say that he might make one change when he visits this ballpark again. "Next year when I come to this ballpark, maybe I don't play in those three games," Castillo said with a laugh. "Instead, I'll take a day off."
Cali becomes specialist: Since Dennys Reyes went on the disabled list nearly two weeks ago, the Twins have been without a true left-handed specialist in the bullpen.The Twins called up two lefties to fill in for the holes left by Reyes and Glen Perkins. Carmen Cali and Jason Miller were both expected to get looks at different roles in the 'pen with Twins manager Ron Gardenhire exploring who might fit the situational spot better. And so far, the emerging leader in that spot has been Cali. Gardenhire was asked about the left-hander earlier this week and said that of the two pitchers, it's been Cali who fits the mold of a situational lefty better. "He has a little more arm strength with a little slider he can drop down Laredo," Gardenhire said of Cali. "So far, he's done well. We might use him a little more now against lefties." The Twins skipper has already started to give Cali more action in the spot. He was brought in to face left-hander Garret Anderson in the eighth inning on Tuesday and got him to strike out swinging. He then pitched to one more batter and recorded an out. Cali hasn't exactly had a lot of experience in this type of role. His stints in the Minor Leagues have featured him as more of a late-inning option rather than just facing lefties. But it's no surprise to him that he's in this role now. "I expected that someday I would be doing this," Cali said. "But I've never been exclusively a guy to face left-handers, so this is all new for me." The results so far have been good for Cali, who is yet to give up a run in 4 1/3 innings of work. Situations like Tuesday's, when he came in to face a lefty only, can help that confidence. "The more I go out there, the more comfortable I will be," Cali said. "Obviously there is a little more pressure in these spots, but I welcome that." Surprising struggles: The Twins felt good about the state of their offense when they left Minnesota almost a week ago. So watching the offense go quiet on this road trip has been a bit of a surprise, to say the least. The Twins knew coming into the West Coast road trip that pitching likely would determine the series. But after seeing the offense hit just .199 on the trip and average fewer than two runs per game, Gardenhire said the opposing pitching has been even better than he thought it might be. "We've just gotten outpitched a bit," Gardenhire said. "We've had some pretty good pitching performances ourselves, but they pitched better. The night [Carlos] Silva gives up one run, they give up none. You could say our offense has been bad, or you can sit there and see who we're playing." Most affected by the woes has been the heart of the Twins order. The Twins' Nos. 3-5 hitters have combined to hit just .148 (8-for-54) in the first five games of the road trip. And they are a combined 2-for-14 (.143) with runners in scoring position. Three-hole hitter: Gardenhire's inclination to put Joe Mauer in the second spot in the lineup means Michael Cuddyer will remain in the three-hole longer than expected. That's something that Cuddyer seems to welcome. The right fielder has batted .316 in the No. 3 spot during Mauer's absence with five home runs, compared to hitting .270 with one homer in the cleanup spot. For Cuddyer, it's less about the position in the order and more about his at-bats. "My mentality and my focus is that nothing changes from hitting third or hitting fourth," Cuddyer said. "I think being everywhere throughout this lineup the past four years or so has kind of desensitized that feeling of being in a certain spot. I just try to go up there and have a good at-bat, whether that means I'm hitting eighth, seventh, or fourth. "You just can't get caught up in the mentality of, 'Oh, I'm a cleanup hitter, I have to hit the home runs,' or, 'Oh, I'm the three-hole hitter, I have to hit for high average.' You don't get caught up in any of that. You are who you are. It doesn't matter where you are hitting in the lineup, you are going to do what you are capable of doing." Twins tidbits: The Twins will not receive news on Mauer's rehab start for Class A Fort Myers until after they arrive back in Minnesota on Wednesday night. The Miracle are scheduled to play against the Vero Beach Devil Rays in a 6:05 p.m. CT start. ... Justin Morneau was given a day off from the field, but he was in the Twins' lineup as the DH. Jeff Cirillo got the start at first base. Gardenhire said he wanted to give the first baseman a break and also considered the spark he provided the last time he hit in the DH spot at Texas. ... Class A Beloit pitchers Jeff Manship, Rob Delaney, Alex Burnett, Cole Devries and infielder Danny Valencia were selected to play in the Midwest League All-Star Game on June 19 at Kane County. Down on the farm: Dave Gassner gave up four runs on seven hits over five innings in Triple-A Rochester's 4-3 loss at Indianapolis on Tuesday. Matt Tolbert hit his third home run of the season, just three games after returning to the Red Wings lineup after being sidelined by an injury. ... Felix Molina went 4-for-5 with an RBI, but Double-A New Britain picked up a 5-4 loss to Altoona. Left-hander Ryan Mullins gave up two runs over seven innings in the no-decision. ... Caleb Moore hit a two-out home run in the top of the 10th inning to give Fort Myers a 4-3 win at Jupiter. Erik Lis went 4-for-5 in the victory with one RBI.... Chris Parmelee drove in the Snappers' only run with a sacrifice fly in Beloit's 9-1 loss at Peoria. Coming up: The Twins head back to Minnesota for an off-day on Thursday before opening up Interleague Play with a three-game series vs. the Nationals. Game 1 of the series will feature right-hander Carlos Silva facing off against former Twins Minor League right-hander Jason Simontacchi in the 7:10 p.m. CT start.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.