Near-perfect game finishes sweep of last-place Twins

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 6, 2011 - 12:50 PM

The Twins had only one baserunner in Game 2.

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The Twins fell to last place in the AL Central on Monday when they got swept in a day-night doubleheader by the White Sox at Target Field.

Yes, at this point, even the fourth-place Royals are better than the Twins.

In Game 1, former Twins pitcher Phil Humber tossed seven scoreless innings, outdueling Anthony Swarzak in a 2-1 Chicago victory. In Game 2, righthander Zach Stewart pitched seven perfect innings and settled for a one-hitter as the White Sox won 4-0.

"It's terrible; it's embarrassing, really," said Twins third baseman Danny Valencia, whose eighth-inning leadoff double was the only hit against Stewart. "We played like crap."

At 58-83, the Twins have ensured themselves of a losing season and are 25 games under .500 for the first time since they finished 63-97 in 1999.

The Twins had two members of their Opening Day lineup playing in Game 2 -- Joe Mauer and Valencia -- and Stewart nearly became the 21st pitcher in major league history to throw a perfect game. In each of his first seven career starts, Stewart gave up at least seven hits, and against the Twins last week he gave up seven hits and six runs in 4 2/3 innings. But he breezed this time through his first career complete game.

"We scored one run all day," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You're not going to win many games doing that."

Benson, Parmelee on way

The Twins promoted outfielder Joe Benson and first baseman Chris Parmelee from Class AA New Britain after the Rock Cats missed out on an Eastern League playoff spot Monday, finishing 72-70.

Benson hit .285 with 16 homers, 67 RBI and 13 stolen bases. Parmelee hit .287 with 13 homers and 82 RBI. Both 23-year-olds are expected to join the Twins in time for Tuesday's game.

Benson and Parmelee were both on the 40-man roster, but the Twins need to take someone else off to make room for pitcher Liam Hendriks on Tuesday. It sounded like the Twins planned to do this by releasing a player, such as lefthander Chuck James, rather than placing someone else on the 60-day DL, as they did with Nick Blackburn (strained forearm) on Sunday.

Francisco Liriano (strained left shoulder) was a 60-day DL candidate, but he felt good playing catch Monday and didn't rule out pitching again this season.

Denard Span (migraine symptoms) is the other Twins player on the 15-day DL, but he said he is determined to play as many games as possible by season's end. He plans to work out with the team Tuesday.

Etc.

• Justin Morneau (concussion) worked out at Target Field. Gardenhire re-iterated Morneau will be used strictly as a DH to finish the season, if and when he returns, to reduce the chances that he will have another setback.

• The Twins also recalled infielder Matt Tolbert from Class AAA Rochester, which finished 53-91 this year after a 49-95 record last year. It's the franchise's first back-to-back 90-loss seasons since 1903-04.

• Lefthander Glen Perkins (sore forearm) was unavailable to pitch Monday but felt good playing catch, Gardenhire said.

• Infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka (sore oblique muscle) did not start either game Monday.

• Each year, the Twins pick one minor league staff member to join the major league staff in September, and this year it will be Class A Beloit manager Nelson Prada.

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