Detroit fails to gain sweep: Twins 6, Tigers 3

Two base runners too late or a batter too early, either way Jim Leyland took the ball from Andy Oliver in the fifth inning.


Final - 7.11.2010 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota Twins 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 0 6 10 0
Detroit Tigers 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 3 6 0
WP: Carl Pavano (10 - 6)
SV: Jon Rauch (20)
LP: Andrew Oliver (0 - 3)

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I don't know about you, but about the time Andy Oliver walked the first two Twins to come to the plate I got that sinking feeling a sweep wasn't in the cards. Despite a rather mundane lineup, Minnesota was going to romp.

It didn't quite play out that way. Oliver flirted with disaster inning after inning but left the game two outs into the fifth after allowing just two runs. Jim Leyland may as well have just let him try to pull the Houdini act one last time, because Eddie Bonine did him no favors. 4-0. With Joe Mauer sitting and Justin Morneau not even in the ballpark. Ouch. 

Well Detroit fought back, Brad Thomas inevitably gave it back, and that was that. The Tigers lost the final games of a series for the third time in four tries. Of course they say one of the hardest things to do in baseball is to sweep a team, so maybe that's it.

More likely it was as simple as the pitching matchup: Tiger-killer Carl Pavano vs. a couple of Tigers who wouldn't be on my short list in a tight game.

There were few Tigers hits to speak of -- they were on the wrong end of a perfect game until Brennan Boesch broke it up in the fifth inning. Naturally Miguel Cabrera and Boesch deserve the credit for the game being as close as 4-2, too.

Oliver's final line: five hits, four walks, four runs, three strikeouts. He clearly needs to spend more time in the minors. But the Tigers need him during the pass through the rotation that sees them play six games in five days. After that I'd imagine Rick Porcello will stick around to show off his tweaks from Triple-A Toledo.

But I'm not going to dwell. It was a successful homestand (7 of 9!), a successful first half the season (despite the White Sox moving into first today) and you have to be pretty happy right now. Nitpick if you want -- there's certainly ammunition -- but I know I enjoyed the first half of the year overall. I'm quite pleased with this team.

Verlander an all-star

Thanks to the new rules about Sunday pitchers, the American League needed to name a couple of more all-stars today. Given that Felix Hernandez threw about a million pitches Saturday, our own Justin Verlander will be making his third appearance on the AL team.

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