Some quick postgame thoughts after a late-night getaway game:
MORE WORK FOR THE PEN: The Royals chose to rest their best relief pitcher on Thursday, and it cost them. The Twins all but emptied their bullpen, and they're worried it may cost them this weekend. Wade Davis, who hasn't allowed a run since June 25, had pitched in the first two games of this series, and manager Ned Yost was not going to risk overusing him, especially with the Indians coming to town this weekend. So Bruce Chen was called upon to pitch the 10th inning, and the Twins jumped on the soft-tossing veteran, pounding him for six runs on five hits to claim the victory. Meanwhile, when Tommy Milone didn't get through the sixth inning, the Twins used six relief pitchers, including Casey Fien, who they had not intended to use. Manager Ron Gardenhire said he's got a weary bullpen as the team heads to Baltimore, though when I asked whether they planned a transaction to give them a breather -- they could easily option Tommy Milone to the minors, bring him back on Tuesday when minor-league seasons end, and add another arm for the weekend -- he said they were probably just going to try to manage with what they've got.
AN IMPORTANT WALK: Joe Mauer's line in the box score doesn't look like much -- no at-bats, just a pinch-hit walk in the 10th -- but it was a much more critical, and successful, plate appearance than it looks. Pinch-hitting for Chris Parmelee with one out and runners on first and third, Mauer took a pair of strikes from Chen and looked like a sure second out. But he fouled off three pitches, laid off some close ones, and ended up drawing a walk that loaded the bases. That set the stage for four hits from the next five hitters, breaking open the game.
RUNNING ALL THE WAY: Speaking of that 10th inning, Oswaldo Arcia got the rally going with a one-out triple, one that was made possible by the fact that he was running at top speed the entire time. His long fly ball bounced off the center field fence and got behind Jarrod Dyson, who took a couple of seconds to find it. By that time, Arcia had rounded the bag and easily beat the relay to third. "He was running hard out of the box," manager Ron Gardenhire said; the subtext, of course, is that he doesn't always do so. But the Twins have been encouraged by Arcia's energy and attitude during his August hot streak, and tonight was another example.
IS THAT A FASTBALL? Best line of the night belonged to Eduardo Nunez, who drove in the tie-breaking run off Chen in the 10th. Asked what pitch he hit from Chen, Nunez shook his head. "I don't know," he said. "He throws so soft. The first two pitches were 84 and 81 -- is that a fastball?"
I'll have more tomorrow from Baltimore.