Strange game tonight. Cliff Lee looked like he might pitch a no-hitter for awhile. Kevin Correia was amazing, constantly working his way out of trouble. The Twins' defense was terrific, with Oswaldo Arcia ranging a long way into foul territory and making a sliding catch, and Ryan Doumit cutting down a Phillies run by throwing Michael Young out at the plate from right field.
But Ben Revere, the smallest player on the field, made the biggest plays, and reminded the Twins yet again -- they just can't escape all the reminders lately -- of what they traded away in order to beef up their future pitching staff.
Revere, who hit only .200 in the month of April, hasn't been great in Philadelphia, but he's starting to look like the sparkplug the Twins remember. And his speed made the difference in the Phillies' rally.
He already had two singles, a triple and a stolen base on the night, but that eighth inning was vintage Revere -- just awesome speed. When he squared around to sacrifice bunt before Jared Burton's windup, manager Charlie Manuel said he was disappointed, because he thought Revere had a chance, if he rolled the ball down the third-base line, to beat out the bunt. Instead, Revere plunked it right in front of the plate.
And beat it anyway.
"He squared around, and I said, 'Oh well.' And it end up [that it] doesn't matter because he's so fast," Manuel said. "Not a lot of guys can do that."
Michael Young followed with a single, and Revere rounded second and reached third base before Kevin Frandsen scored from third. Then he tore down the line on Jimmy Rollins' roller to Justin Morneau, scoring on a ball that didn't travel more than 80 feet.
That, after the Twins spent the weekend watching Denard Span "cover ground like the morning dew," as Nationals manager Davey Johnson put it. Meanwhile, Twins center fielder Clete Thomas, after his own four-hit game Wednesday, struck out all three times he batted Thursday.
The Twins don't regret their trades, make no mistake. But it's painful to be reminded about it in such a graphic way.
-- That game was apparently only the second time in franchise history that the Phillies collected 16 hits and managed to score only three runs or fewer. Leaving 16 runners on base made their manager a little giddy to have earned the win.
"We had them all the way. You kidding me?" Manuel joked afterward. "Absolutely no, I can't explain it. We just didn't knock nobody in."
-- Heck of an effort by Correia, who knew when he allowed a run in the first inning -- that's the third time in four days it's happened to the Twins, by the way -- that his chore was a huge one against Lee.
"He's one of the best and has been one of the best for a long time. You don't have the luxury of giving up many runs," Correia said. "One run in the first, [against] one of the most professional pitchers you're ever going to see. I had to hold them there."
He did, despite allowing runners to reach third base in the third, fourth and fifth innings. The ability to match Lee the zeroes Lee was putting on the scoreboard was impressive, but came with a cost: Correia's pitch count eclipsed 100 in the fifth inning, finishing his night early.
-- Lee, meanwhile, looked like the 2008 Cy Young winner reborn. He retired 18 of the first 19 hitters he faced, and even the Twins' so-called rally amounted to a walk (his only one), a ground out that umpire Gary Darling missed and called a hit, and a bloop that Revere allowed to get past him when his desperation dive came up short.
"I felt bad for him, pitching that way when we couldn't get him any runs to work with," said Frandsen. Lee's used to it, though: in the past two years, only three pitchers in the majors have received less run support than the left-hander.