Crain bitten again in encore inning

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 29, 2007 - 9:17 PM

DETROIT - Sunday marked the second time in a week that Twins reliever Jesse Crain entered a tie game, pitched a scoreless inning and then ran into big trouble the next inning.

DETROIT - Sunday marked the second time in a week that Twins reliever Jesse Crain entered a tie game, pitched a scoreless inning and then ran into big trouble the next inning.

Crain waded through the eighth inning with 11 pitches but gave up a leadoff home run to Brandon Inge in the ninth, as Detroit claimed a 4-3 victory.

Last Monday, Crain pitched a perfect 11th inning against Cleveland before giving up the go-ahead runs in an eventual 7-3, 12-inning loss.

"It might be one of those things I need to focus on a little more, going out there for the second inning -- I'm not sure," Crain said. "But I'm sure it'll turn around."

Crain had a 1.50 ERA before the Cleveland game, and it has since swelled to 6.30. The home run to Inge, which came on a 3-1 count, was the second Crain has allowed in 10 appearances.

Manager Ron Gardenhire used Pat Neshek to get through the seventh inning and said he didn't consider removing Crain after the eighth.

"He had a great eighth inning." Gardenhire said. "He only threw [11] pitches. That was a no-brainer running him back out there."

Roster move coming

The Twins likely will send infielder Alexi Casilla back to Class AAA Rochester on Tuesday to make room when Jeff Cirillo comes off the disabled list.

Cirillo, who had arthroscopic knee surgery April 11, planned to do a one-game rehab with Class A Fort Myers before being activated. Fort Myers plays in Clearwater tonight, a short drive from where the Twins are staying in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Assuming Cirillo checks out OK, Casilla will head back to Rochester after batting .233 and committing two errors in 14 games with the Twins. Casilla didn't start any of the games in Detroit, as Gardenhire stuck with Luis Rodriguez at second base, citing the need to minimize mistakes.

With Luis Castillo also expected to return to the lineup Tuesday after missing 10 games because of a strained quad, the Twins will get two infielders back, reducing the need for Casilla.

Gardenhire said the team continues to mull over the decision to keep Glen Perkins in the bullpen as the 12th pitcher. The team is concerned about Perkins not getting the innings he would if he were starting at Rochester, so he could eventually head back, allowing the team to recall third catcher Chris Heintz.

Ortiz mourns death

One Twin was particularly saddened by the death of St. Louis Cardinals reliever Josh Hancock. Ramon Ortiz was Hancock's teammate with the Cincinnati Reds in 2005.

"I talked to him every day," Ortiz said. "He was a great teammate -- a good guy, too. I felt sad when I saw [the news] on TV. It's hard. Wow, it's unbelievable."


Nick Punto still had considerable swelling in his right hand one day after jamming his right pinky. But he stayed in the lineup and went 2-for-5 with a triple.

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