Bullpen strong as winning streak reaches 4

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 3, 2012 - 12:27 AM

Despite a big early lead, Liam Hendriks fell short of earning his first major league victory.

view larger photos

  

DETROIT - Liam Hendriks' first major league victory can wait.

The Twins are too far behind in the standings to worry about a rookie pitcher's psyche.

So when the Tigers started biting into a five-run, fifth-inning lead Monday night, manager Ron Gardenhire wasted little time giving Hendriks the hook.

Gardenhire worries that his bullpen is getting dangerously overworked, but Anthony Swarzak, Alex Burnett and Glen Perkins combined to get the final 15 outs, as the Twins held on for a 6-4 victory at Comerica Park.

The Twins stretched their winning streak to four games, matching a season high, and gave Gardenhire his 900th career victory. Afterward, the manager hinted that Hendriks could be leaving the rotation.

The team's minor-league pitcher of the year last season, Hendriks has a 7.04 ERA this year and is 0-7 in 12 career starts. That's the longest career-opening winless streak in Twins history; Paul Abbott and Terry Felton each went winless in their first 10 starts for Minnesota.

"As we know, we're ever changing with our pitching staff, and we'll just see," Gardenhire said. "We' can't make a rash decision here. So we'll step back and see if there's alternatives where we can get this guy pitching a little bit better."

Until Monday, the Twins had given Hendriks minimal offensive support, scoring zero or one run in five of his starts. He hadn't held a lead since April 20, but the Twins led this one 6-1 after chasing Tigers starter Doug Fister (1-6) in the fifth inning.

"It's always a little bit difficult to kind of get loose after a long inning when we score a couple," Hendriks said.

His command deserted him. Needing three outs to qualify for a victory, the Australian faced four batters in the fifth and didn't get an out. Austin Jackson singled before Hendriks walked Quintin Berry -- an absolute no-no with Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder coming up next. Cabrera made it 6-3 with a two-run double, and when Fielder walked, Gardenhire had seen enough.

"This kid can throw the baseball," Gardenhire said of the 23-year-old Hendriks. "He'll get his wins eventually here, but tonight wasn't the night."

Gardenhire turned to the bullpen, knowing righthander Jared Burton wasn't available after pitching the previous two days. It was another pivotal spot for Swarzak, and he delivered. He has an 8.35 ERA in four starts this year and a 2.61 ERA in relief.

This time, Swarzak (2-4) recorded eight outs and was credited with the victory.

"I don't mind this role," Swarzak said. "I like coming in and getting outs."

Delmon Young lined a ball off Swarzak's foot in the seventh, putting two runners on base. With pinch hitter Brennan Boesch coming to the plate, Gardenhire turned to Burnett, who has a 1.77 ERA and hasn't allowed a run since May 23.

Burnett fanned Boesch to end that threat and made it through the eighth, extending his scoreless streak to 16 innings, spanning 14 appearances.

"I can't say enough for the job [Burnett's] done all year," catcher Ryan Doumit said after going 3-for-3 and reaching base five times to pace the offense.

The Tigers threatened again in the ninth against Perkins, putting runners at the corners. But the lefthander fanned Boesch with a 97-miles-per-hour fastball to end the game, notching his third save.

"Our bullpen did a super job," Gardenhire said. "Every one of them did what they had to."

  • TWINS 6, DETROIT 4 Up next: 6:05 p.m. today at Detroit • TV: FSN (1500-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Final123456789RHE
Minnesota «2011000329120
Colorado0000100023132
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:K.Correia(5-11) L:T.Matzek(1-4)
HR: MIN- E.Escobar (3) COL- None

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago WSox - WP: S. Carroll 6 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: Z. McAllister 2
Atlanta - WP: M. Minor 11 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 6
NY Yankees - WP: S. Greene 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: C. Tillman 0
Arizona - WP: W. Miley 2 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 0
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 10 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2
Miami - LP: M. Dunn 4 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: V. Black 5
Boston - LP: J. Peavy 2 FINAL
Houston - WP: J. Fields 3
Minnesota - WP: K. Correia 9 FINAL
Colorado - LP: T. Matzek 3
Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 10
Detroit - WP: R. Porcello 5 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 1
Washington - WP: R. Detwiler 5 FINAL
Philadelphia - LP: J. Diekman 3
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Wilson 6 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: J. Hoover 5
LA Angels - WP: J. Weaver 5 FINAL
Texas - LP: M. Mikolas 2
San Diego - LP: K. Quackenbush 0 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: K. Jansen 1
Oakland - LP: J. Chavez 2 FINAL
Seattle - WP: H. Iwakuma 6
Colorado 3 FINAL
Philadelphia 3
Houston 2 FINAL
Toronto FC 4
Columbus 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 4
Chicago 1 FINAL
New England 0
Sporting Kansas City 2 FINAL
Montreal 1
Chivas USA 3 FINAL
Vancouver FC 1
Real Salt Lake 0 FINAL
Los Angeles 1
Winnipeg 34 FINAL
Montreal 33
Ottawa 11 FINAL
Edmonton 27
Calgary 34 FINAL
Toronto 15
Brt Columbia 26 FINAL
Saskatchewan 13
Atlanta 93 FINAL
Indiana 74
Washington 91 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What are you most looking forward to during All-Star festivities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close