CHICAGO -- Well, so much for Walter Johnson.
As some alert commenters posted on this blog earlier today -- thank you, henrik and Flash_Gordon -- Brian Duensing is not the first Twin to ever win two games in one day, and is not the first pitcher to do so in the franchise's century-plus history since Johnson, the Hall of Famer known as The Big Train. Though he is the first to win both ends of a doubleheader.
The reason for the confusion: On June 20, 1969, Jim Perry won twice, too, pitching the final two innings of an 18-inning victory over the Seattle Pilots, a game that had been suspended by curfew after 16 innings the night before. Then Perry, who went 20-6 for the Twins that season, pitched a complete-game shutout in the regularly scheduled game.
(As an aside: that 18-inning game is well known to anyone who has ever read "Ball Four," because it was the only game knuckleballer/author Jim Bouton ever started for the Pilots, after weeks of trying to talk manager Joe Schultz into it.)
Anyway, I guess it's a technical point, which probably is why the Elias Sports Bureau didn't list Perry's feat; Duensing is the first Twin to win both ends of a doubleheader. And baseball-reference.com lists the first game as having taken place on July 19, with a notation about the game being suspended. But for the purposes of this piece of fairly meaningless trivia, winning twice on one day, it seems as though Perry got there first.
But for Duensing, it's still cool being mentioned in the same sentence as perhaps the greatest pitcher of all time. (And being connected to Jim Perry, a Twins Hall of Famer, is pretty good too.) He saved the lineup cards as souvenirs of his two-win day, even though he's the first to acknowledge the random nature of the stat. "They've been calling me 'Snake,' " Duensing said of his fellow relievers, their term for a pitcher who sneaks in and steals a win. "I'm OK with that."
With that, on to other business. The Twins are not taking batting practice today, and in fact won't in this entire series, which is unusual. The White Sox are on the field for BP at the moment. Not sure why they cancelled the on-field session -- hitters are still working in the batting cages -- but it might have something to do with the schedule, especially after playing (and winning) two games yesterday. There are 51 days remaining in the 2013 season, and the Twins have 49 game left, meaning they get only two days off during the next seven weeks. It's quite a stretch, and manager Ron Gardenhire may be trying to keep his players from getting too tired in the hot, humid weather.
Joe Mauer's 16-day-old daughters went home from the hospital on Friday, the Twins' catcher said, and he seemed thrilled by that news -- but disappointed, he said, that he wasn't there for it. Emily and Maren weighed 4 pounds, 15 ounces when they were born five weeks early on July 24, but each has gained more than half a pound since, and are otherwise perfectly healthy, Mauer said.
"Last night was [wife] Maddie's first night at home with them, so I would have liked to been there for that," Mauer said. "I can't wait to get home."
Until then, he's in the lineup for the "other" Twins, batting second today against Chicago rookie Andre Rienzo, a Brazilian making his third big-league start. The game is being televised by FOX, with veteran announcer Dick Stockton working with Bert Blyleven.
Outfielder Dayan Viciedo was in the White Sox's original lineup today, but was scratched with a sore left thumb.
Here are today's lineups for the 3:05 p.m. start: