Bass keeps Twins streaking
Righty stellar in relief of injured Baker, picks up first career win
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson admitted that he didn't even know who Brian Bass was a year ago.
"Last year, he really started catching and getting going, " Anderson said. "We brought his manager up, Stan Clyburn, and he said, 'This Bass is the real thing, you've got to take a look at him.' We didn't even know who he was last year. He's come a long way."
Bass certainly made his presence known Saturday night at the Metrodome in the Twins' 4-1 win over the Tigers. The long reliever came in to begin the fourth inning after starter Scott Baker re-aggravated a strained right groin.
Bass tied his career high with four innings pitched. He allowed just three hits and earned his first big league win.
"It's a Major League win. Nothing really compares to that," Bass said after the game. "It's pretty amazing to get that first one. It's overwhelming."
Bass' teammates awarded him the game ball, and acting manager Scott Ullger spoke highly of the composure Bass had on the mound.
"He worked professional, and he worked fast," Ullger said. "He threw strikes and kept the ball down. He's a sinker-ball pitcher, and that's what he's supposed to do. He looked very very poised."
The 26-year-old Bass had minimal notice that he was getting into the game, as Baker tweaked his groin on the last pitch of the top of the third inning. Justin Verlander retired the Twins on 15 pitches in the bottom of the third, and then it was Bass' turn to take the mound.
"They called down and just said, 'Hey, you're in the game.' So I got ready as fast as I could and got out there and got after them," Bass said.
Bass threw 28 of his 44 pitches for strikes. He threw a wild pitch, but did not walk a batter. Mostly a sinker-ball pitcher, Bass got seven of his 12 outs on ground balls.
"Brian did an excellent job," Baker said. "It's kind of funny, because you've almost come to expect our bullpen to do a job like that -- just on the sheer fact that they continue to do it. Brian did a heck of a job, and I'm very happy to see that."
Baker seemed to be cruising before re-aggravating the groin injury he suffered in his previous start against the Rangers. He threw three scoreless innings, and threw 30 of his 43 pitches for strikes. He allowed just one hit while striking out two.
The Twins' offense put up four runs, with a retooled lineup that featured Mike Lamb in the No. 2 spot. Lamb seemed to find his swing, going 2-for-4 and scoring twice.
The other two runs came courtesy of Craig Monroe, who hit a two-run homer in the seventh off former teammate Verlander.
After Bass exited, Pat Neshek came in and appeared to be cruising through the eighth. However, he gave up a two-out home run to Curtis Granderson and then appeared to hit a wall. He allowed a single and a walk to the next two batters before Jesse Crain came in to get the last out of the inning.
Joe Nathan closed out the ninth inning for his 10th save in as many attempts this season.
Leslie Parker is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.