Thank you, That's Twins Baseball, for this magnificent screenshot of Nick Punto's spankin' new mustache. I had no idea he could even grow facial hair... I'm pretty impressed. At last, he is the Mario to Carl Pavano's Luigi.
Anyway, the Twins managed yet another one-run loss Thursday night in the first game of a rather important four-game series against the Chicago White Sox, by a score of 8-7. John Danks and Kevin Slowey both stunk up the joint, but only Danks managed to recover from his own disaster. Between the four wonderfully-executed hit-and-runs and the occasional bunting of runners over, the White Sox seemed to be playing "Twins Baseball" better than the Twins were.
Joe Mauer nailed a bases-clearing double in the second to give the Twins a 6-4 lead, but the Sox kept chipping away. Alex Burnett came in to clean up Slowey's mess, but surrendered three more runs of his own, including balking one home, for shame.
It looked as if the Twins had a chance in the eighth with the bases loaded and Orlando Hudson at the plate, but Bobby Jenks threw him a pretty nasty curveball to go down swinging after painfully fouling one off his foot. The Twins were handed another shot in the bottom of the ninth after Delmon Young drove Mauer in with two out and Jim Thome on deck to get within a run. Sadly, Jim Jam was called out on strikes to end the game, rather than mashing a tater.
Now the best the Twins can do is come back to win the series this weekend after finding themselves 4.5 games behind the first place Sox. Mercy.
Game 2 is set for 7:10pm Friday with Francisco Liriano (6-7, 3.86 ERA) facing right-hander Gavin Floyd (5-7, 4.20 ERA.)
Also, Justin Morneau has officially landed on the 15-day disabled list with a head injury, retroactive to July 8. He'll be eligible to return to the lineup next Friday, just in time for the second game of four against the Orioles in Baltimore. This sucks mostly because he's batting .345 (third-best in all of baseball) with 18 homers and 56 RBI. In the meantime, Jeff MANship will be recalled from the AAA Rochester Red Wings to take our Canadian Crusher's spot on the roster.