Twins answer with five-spot of own
Minnesota wins fourth straight after Slowey recovers
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Indians have spent the last week restructuring the part of their club that has perhaps been its biggest disappointment in a rough 2008 campaign -- the bullpen.On Saturday night, the Twins saw exactly why it's been the club's trouble area. A five-run sixth inning off the Indians' bullpen helped propel Minnesota to a 9-6 victory over Cleveland at the Metrodome.
It gave the Twins their 17th win in their last 20 games and kept the club just a game behind the White Sox for the American League Central division lead.But like many of the other victories in this recent stretch, the Twins were forced to come up with the big inning after finding themselves with yet another deficit. This time it was early in the contest. Right-hander Kevin Slowey, having thrown 16 straight scoreless innings, entered his start against the Indians as one of the Twins' hottest starters. And he extended it to 17 after holding Grady Sizemore on third base following a leadoff triple in the first. The scoreless streak would stop there. In the second, Slowey was tagged for five runs by the Indians. He issued two walks and allowed three hits in the inning, including a three-run home by Sizemore that was the 100th homer of the center fielder's career. It negated what had been a 2-0 Twins lead after Craig Monroe nearly hit one out of the ballpark in the first off Indians starter Aaron Laffey. The Twins designated hitter tattooed a ball to right-center field that hit just a foot shy of the top of the baggie. Monroe's hit resulted in a two-run double as both Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau scored on the play. Despite the lead change, there was no panic inside the Twins' dugout. "I think right now we feel like we can win every game," Morneau said. "You get down and you don't feel like you are out of any game. We're scoring some runs right now and it's a good feeling. You give up five runs in an inning, and a lot of times that will deflate a team, but it's not happening right now." Instead, the Twins started to chip away at Laffey just as Slowey was fixing the problem that plagued him in the second. In the midst of Slowey's rough inning, pitching coach Rick Anderson and catcher Mauer noticed a mechanical flaw in Slowey's delivery. Anderson said that Slowey had been dropping his arm to the side rather than getting on top of the ball, flattening the ball's flight and negating any movement. Slowey (6-6) looked at video following the inning and made an adjustment that clearly worked. Following Sizemore's homer, Slowey retired 14 of the next 15 hitters he faced. That included a stretch of 13 straight outs before Slowey gave up a two-out single to Casey Blake in the sixth.
|"I think right now we feel like we can win every game. ... We're scoring some runs right now and it's a good feeling. You give up five runs in an inning, and a lot of times that will deflate a team, but it's not happening right now."|
|-- Justin Morneau|
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.