Sleepwalking to a defeat

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 18, 2007 - 12:54 AM

Sluggish and sloppy from the beginning, the Twins fell behind early and couldn't catch up as the Tigers swept.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire benched rookie Alexi Casilla on Sunday for oversleeping.

The other players had no excuse.

Hoping to spoil Detroit's playoff hopes, they were sluggish and sloppy from the start, as the Tigers completed a three-game sweep with a 6-4 victory at the Metrodome.

Curtis Granderson opened the game with a home run against Scott Baker (9-8), and Detroit continued to pounce on every opening, sending the Twins to their fourth consecutive loss.

"We gave them a ballgame with mistakes early," Gardenhire said.

Casilla was supposed to bat leadoff and play second base, but he arrived shortly before 11 a.m., which was when he was expected in the batting cage.

Gardenhire scratched him from the lineup.

"My expectations are he should have been here by 10 o'clock to get himself prepared, grab some breakfast and be ready to hit down there in the cage," Gardenhire said.

Casilla told Gardenhire he overslept because he was relying on the alarm from a new cell phone, which didn't go off.

"If you're going to be late, we ask that you call, and he didn't call either," Gardenhire said. "It's going to happen. You make mistakes. With rookies, it should happen less than veterans, I know that."

Others were on time but still had sleepy moments.

It was 4-2 in the seventh when rookie Brian Buscher ran through a stop sign from third base coach Scott Ullger and got thrown out at the plate.

"He knows he made a mistake," said Gardenhire, who met with Buscher after the game.

After falling behind 4-0 in the third inning, Baker settled in and finished the seventh. His biggest mistake was a throwing error in the second inning.

With Timo Perez on first base, Ramon Santiago hit a bouncer off Baker's glove. Baker chased the ball behind the mound and made an ill-advised throw that went wide of first baseman Justin Morneau.

Perez scored from first, and Santiago reached third on the play. The Tigers quickly added salt to the wound when Brandon Inge followed with a perfect suicide-squeeze bunt.

"Second inning, you're not thinking about [the squeeze]," Baker said. "But if you can execute it, why not?"

With a weak offense and strong bullpen, the Twins are much better equipped playing with a lead. They are 44-19 when they score first and 27-59 when their opponents score first.

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