Jim Thome hit the big home run, but the Phillies were just as thrilled with Joe Blanton on Thursday night. After posting a 9.91 ERA in his five previous starts, he tossed a seven-hit complete game, defeating the Twins 6-1.
“That was a very pleasant surprise,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Blanton became the fourth pitcher to toss a complete game against the Twins this year, joining Jerome Williams, Jered Weaver and Derek Lowe.
“It should be a real confidence builder for Joe,” Manuel said.
And it had to be deflating for the Twins, who scored 40 runs in the first five games of this homestand against the Cubs and Phillies.
Trevor Plouffe continued his remarkable June, hitting his fifth homer in six games and drilling another ball to the opposite field for a long out in the fourth inning. Ben Revere extended his hitting streak to seven games with a first-inning single and stole his 10th base.
Joe Mauer went 2-for-4 and lined out sharply to left field in the third inning. Alexi Casilla went 2-for-3 with a double and hit a hard grounder that Placido Polanco made a nice play on in the fifth inning. Justin Morneau went 1-for-4 and flied out to the base of the center-field wall in the sixth.
But all of that amounted to just one run.
“Blanton pretty much chewed us up,” Manager Ron Gardenhire said.
* Special thanks to Jim Souhan, who filed this column on Trevor Plouffe, then gathered postgame quotes for me in the Twins clubhouse, freeing me up to interview Thome.