Silva, Twins keep foot on accelerator
- Article by: Joe Christensen
- Star Tribune
- July 15, 2007 - 5:21 PM
The Twins have been where the Oakland Athletics were Saturday, feeling snakebitten and depressed, their offense stuck in low gear with opponents speeding past them.
These teams were in the same boat leaving the All-Star break, each stuck in third place, hovering near .500, desperate to string some wins together.
Now, they look like two ships passing in the night.
Carlos Silva held the slumping A's to two hits for 6 2/3 innings, and the Twins got just enough from their lineup, bullpen and defense to win their third consecutive game, 4-3 before an announced crowd of 36,066 at the Metrodome.
The victory returned the Twins to their high-water mark, five games over .500, at 48-43. They have been here before at 11-6 and 42-37 only to fall back toward mediocrity.
"We were screaming in the dugout, 'We won a series!' " manager Ron Gardenhire said. "But now, we can take it a step further and get off to a super start here in the second half if we can win [today]."
The Twins get one more crack at an Oakland squad that has scored three runs or fewer in nine consecutive games.
The last time the A's had a streak of futility like that was 1978, when they went 10 games in a row without scoring four runs.
The Twins built a 4-1 lead by the fifth inning. Jason Tyner's two-out single in the second tied it 1-1 and served as the night's tone-setter.
"It definitely catapulted us," said Michael Cuddyer, who drove home two of the next three runs, with Joe Mauer bringing home the other.
The last time Silva squared off with A's righthander Joe Blanton, on June 2, Oakland won 1-0.
This time, Silva retired 15 consecutive batters before tiring in the seventh.
Jack Cust drew a leadoff walk, and then Eric Chavez lined a ball to deep center field. Back went Torii Hunter, who turned one way, and then twisted around blindly to make a running catch.
"Not many guys can do that, especially in this place," Gardenhire said. "When you turn and take your eyes off the ball in this place, it's almost impossible to find it. You'll have to ask Torii how he does those things because if I was out there the ball would have whacked me on the head.
"He's the best, and he's got the Gold Gloves to prove it."
It saved some damage. Dan Johnson followed with a double that pushed runners to second and third. After Silva struck out Mark Ellis, Gardenhire replaced him with Dennys Reyes.
Silva left to a standing ovation and doffed his cap before Mark Kotsay hushed the crowd with a two-run double that trimmed the lead to one. Coming in, Reyes had retired 18 of his 19 inherited runners on the season.
But the Twins escaped. Matt Guerrier got the final out of the seventh, Pat Neshek pitched a 1-2-3 eighth (surviving a scare when Nick Swisher flied to the left field wall for the third out), and Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth for his 18th save.
"We hit the ball hard," Kotsay said. "And we didn't have anything to show for it."
Joe Christensen firstname.lastname@example.org
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