It’s hard to know what a two-game win streak could do for the Twins’ confidence because it hasn’t happened since April 11-12. After Monday’s 5-4 loss, they knew they had to bury the disappointment quickly because they’ll be playing Cleveland again Tuesday at 12:10 p.m.
They barely had 10 minutes to appreciate Ryan Doumit’s two-run, game-tying blast in the eighth inning because Matt Capps gave up the game-winning run in the ninth. Still, it was impressive to see the switch-hitting Doumit deliver from the right side after Indians manager Manny Acta brought in lefthander Nick Hagadone.
It was Doumit’s 72nd career homer, and just the 12th from the right side. Like most switch hitters, he's had about three times more at-bats from the left side. He averages one home run every 25.6 at-bats from the left side, compared to one every 43.9 from the right side.
“It was a big moment,” Manager Ron Gardenhire said. “[Trevor] Plouffe had a great [10-pitch] walk after that, and like I said, excitement abounds. But unfortunately it was short-lived.”
* Carl Pavano, who’s been pitching with a sore right shoulder, had four good innings (the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 6th) and two bad ones (4th and 5th). His sinking fastball reached 89 miles per hour, and according to the Pitch/FX data on BrooksBaseball.net, it averaged 87.2 mph, which is up from his season average of 86.6 mph on FanGraphs.com.
“I think that’s encouraging, if that’s what we’re looking for -- strength and trying to get [the shoulder] stronger,” Pavano said. “I think a really good sign is if I’m consistently [89 mph], and it’s going to just take time, there’s no doubt about it.”
Looking at the bad swings Pavano generates with his change-up -- Kotchman's blast notwithstanding -- you can see what a good pitch that is, and it would be even more effective if he can regain the velocity on his sinker, creating more separation.
Pavano said his shoulder feels better than it did five or six weeks ago but acknowledged that it hasn't healed as quickly as he would have liked. If it doesn't improve by next Saturday's start in Milwaukee, he'll probably get a cortisone shot and hope for better with the added rest that comes with next Monday's day off.
Meantime, it's almost Radke-esque the way he's competed this year, tossing a team-high 49 innings. No one else on staff has more than 31.1 innings pitched.
* On Twitter, there was plenty of sentiment that Gardenhire should have turned to Glen Perkins, not Capps, in the ninth. But there’s no save situation for the home team once a tie game reaches the ninth inning. Gardenhire always goes to his closer in that spot.
“He’s been lights out. He’s our closer,” Gardenhire said. “In the ninth inning like that, that’s who goes out there. Always has around here and it always will be. He just didn’t get it done.”
Shin-Soo Choo delivered the two-out single to win it.
“The last pitch to Choo just ran back over the middle of the plate,” Capps said. “I made a nice pitch two pitches before that kind of froze him, and I was trying to throw that same pitch, and I leaked open a little bit, and it ran down over the middle of the plate.”