Blackburn takes blame for loss

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 30, 2011 - 11:57 PM

The righthander wasn't sharp, giving up five runs over six innings.

Nick Blackburn

Photo: Duane Burleson, Associated Press - Ap

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DETROIT - The Twins were shaking their heads about an umpire's decision after Monday's 6-5 loss to the Tigers, but not Nick Blackburn.

The righthander was upset with himself for giving up five runs over six innings, including home runs by Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez.

"Our offense did everything they needed to; five runs should win that game," Blackburn said. "If I didn't hang that pitch to Victor, that whole situation with fan interference [on Alex Avila's go-ahead double in the eighth] could have been avoided."

The two-run homer by Martinez tied the score at 5-5 in the sixth inning.

Blackburn was 3-0 with a 1.72 ERA in five May starts before Monday.

"Obviously today was a battle," he said. "I wasn't really sharp like I had been recently. That's bound to happen. I can't just keep going out there and feeling great every time."

Slama time

To fill Francisco Liriano's roster spot, after placing the lefthander on the disabled list because of left shoulder inflammation, the Twins promoted righthander Anthony Slama from Class AAA Rochester.

Slama, 27, was 2-1 with a 3.70 ERA in 16 games for Rochester, with 24 strikeouts and 11 walks in 24 1/3 innings. He went 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA in five appearances for the Twins last year.

Last year, the Twins used 21 pitchers. This year, they've used 18 and Slama can make it 19.

Mauer update

Joe Mauer is on the disabled list because of bilateral leg weakness, but the reason he's been the DH thus far in extended spring training games instead of catching has more to do with his right shoulder than his legs.

"It's shoulder-related," Twins assistant trainer Dave Pruemer said. "I think his legs are feeling pretty good."

Mauer had an MRI exam on the shoulder before resuming his throwing program and is making progress again. He has played catch from 150 feet and practiced throws to second base. On Monday, he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and two groundouts.

Nishioka update

Tsuyoshi Nishioka played second base Monday in that extended spring training game and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. He played shortstop Saturday, and the fact he's playing defense means he could return before Mauer.

The Twins transferred Nishioka to the 60-day disabled list Sunday to clear a 40-man roster spot for reliever Chuck James, but Nishioka would be eligible to return June 7.

Thoughts for Carter

Manager Ron Gardenhire's thoughts have been with his former Mets teammate, Gary Carter, since the Hall of Famer was diagnosed with brain cancer.

Between news of Carter's illness and Harmon Killebrew's recent death, it's been an emotional month for Gardenhire, on top of all the losses for the Twins.

"Sure we're struggling; it drives you crazy at night, but you have to put it in perspective," Gardenhire said. "You go out and do as much as you can on the field, and there's so much more to life than what we're dealing with every day at the ballpark."

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