Twins top White Sox, but clutch hitting is missing

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 12, 2013 - 7:23 AM

Two more blasts produced a win, but clutch hitting remains a worry.


– It’s a little disconcerting, the way the Twins won three out of four games here this weekend. The home runs are great, the shutdown pitching is wonderful, and finishing a road trip with a winning record is divine.

But this doesn’t seem like a formula designed to win in Target Field, where not every fly ball becomes a keepsake for a youngster in the bleachers.

“Unfortunately, we’ve still got some work to do,” manager Ron Gardenhire said after the Twins rode Kevin Correia’s longest start since mid-May and home runs from Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer to a 5-2 victory over the White Sox. “We’ve got to start driving in runners. These games should be a little easier than that.”

Actually, the script the Twins followed here this weekend was remarkably simple — bash home run. And don’t do much else.

Minnesota, which still doesn’t have a player with more than 14 home runs on its roster, scored 19 runs during the four games in this Cape Canaveral of a ballpark — and every one of them trotted home after a rocket into the seats, 11 in all. The long-ball fireworks helped cover up a distressing habit that has held the offense back all year: the lack of clutch hitting.

The Twins were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position Sunday, the lone exception being Dozier’s fifth-inning blast into Chicago’s bullpen with runners on first and second. That brings their total in the series to 3-for-37, and all three were home runs, an appallingly bad .081 success rate with runners on second or third. And counting their three games in Kansas City, they come home with a .113 batting average in clutch situations, 7-for-62 on the road trip.

As remarkable as it was that the Twins kept limiting their scoring to home runs, Gardenhire couldn’t help fretting over the underlying problem. “You look at our runners in scoring position this series, I don’t think Major League Baseball thought you could do that, either,” he said. “We sure missed a lot of opportunities. ... If we’d get a few more hits in between, those add-on runs, you give your starter a chance to breathe.”

Fortunately, Correia was breathing just fine Sunday, having recovered from a bout with the flu a week ago that he said severely weakened him a couple of days before his disastrous, seven-runs-in-two-innings start at Kansas City. “I didn’t even get to play catch for a couple of days” last weekend, said Correia, the Twins’ first eight-game winner of the season. “I felt 100 times better. I knew I’d feel a lot better today, and I did. It was one of my better starts.”

One of his longest, too; he pitched seven shutout innings, the first time he’s lasted that long since May 14. Correia was brilliant, limiting the White Sox to three singles and a double, just one walk, and never allowing a baserunner to reach third. He struck out seven, tying his (and the Twins staff’s) season high.

“I talked to [plate umpire Dan Iassogna], he said Correia really located the ball, spot-on with his pitches,” Gardenhire said. “That’s why you see the big zero on the scoreboard.”

For Correia, the game changed when Dozier homered and Mauer, whose last home run came on June 22, connected in the fifth, giving him a 5-0 lead to work with. “If balls start going out, you have to maybe nibble a little more than you would like. But once we scored those five runs, my game plan was just to throw strikes.”

He could have pitched another inning, he said, but the final two outs in the seventh were sky-high shots that Clete Thomas caught just in front of the fence in center.

“I think I scared them off with those warning-track shots,” Correia said.

  • related content

  • BOXSCORE: Twins 5, Chicago White Sox 2

    Sunday August 11, 2013

  • Twins trade Carroll to Royals

    Monday August 12, 2013

    The infielder was sent to Kansas City for a player to be determined or possibly cash.

  • Video: Carroll discusses trade to KC

    Sunday August 11, 2013

    Twins infielder Jamey Carroll describes his surprise at news he's been traded to Kansas City for player to be...

  • Photo gallery: Twins 5, Chicago White Sox 2

    Sunday August 11, 2013

    Brian Dozier slugged a three-run homer and Joe Mauer hit a two-run homer. Kevin Correia struck out seven, walked...

  • Twins-Cleveland series preview

    Monday August 12, 2013

    Twins vs. Cleveland: Series previewThree-game series at Target FieldMonday, 7:10 p.m. • FSN, 96.3-FMRHP Danny Salazar (1-0, 3.29) vs. LHP...

  • Sunday's Twins-White Sox recap

    Sunday August 11, 2013

    Game recapImpact playerKevin Correia, TwinsIn his longest start in three months, he never allowed a White Sox runner to reach...

  • Carroll traded to Royals for player or cash

    Sunday August 11, 2013

    Twins wanted 39-year-old infielder to play for a team in a pennant race as season winds down

  • Minnesota's Brian Dozier (2) heads into the dugout after hitting a three-run home run against the Chicago White Sox during the fifth inning Sunday.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Atlanta - WP: S. Miller 5 FINAL
Toronto - LP: D. Norris 2
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Quintana 1 FINAL
Detroit - WP: S. Greene 9
Miami - LP: T. Koehler 6 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: M. Harvey 7
NY Yankees - WP: M. Pineda 5 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: M. Andriese 3
Philadelphia - LP: D. Buchanan 1 FINAL
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 4
Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez 8 FINAL
Boston - LP: R. Porcello 3
Milwaukee - LP: M. Garza 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: G. Cole 5
LA Angels - LP: G. Richards 3 FINAL
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 4
Cleveland - LP: T. House 2 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: T. May 7
Oakland - LP: E. O`Flaherty 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: F. Morales 4
San Diego - WP: A. Cashner 5 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Lester 2
Arizona 5 Bottom 7th Inning
San Francisco 1
Colorado 0 Top 7th Inning
Los Angeles 7
Texas 10 Bottom 6th Inning
Seattle 5
Cincinnati - M. Leake 7:05 PM
St. Louis - A. Wainwright
Boston 100 FINAL
Cleveland 113
Brooklyn 25 2nd Qtr 9:02
Atlanta 41
Portland 7:00 PM
San Antonio 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Washington 1 FINAL(OT)
NY Islanders 2
Nashville 2 FINAL
Chicago 4
Montreal 6:00 PM
Vancouver 9:00 PM
New England 0 2nd Half 40:00
Philadelphia 1
Portland 6:00 PM
New York City
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: What are your plans for the Twins' home opener?

Weekly Question