The Twins were on the wrong side of history on Saturday, but it was a great day, overall, for baseball.
Albert Pujols hit his 600th career home run, and a grand slam at that. But it was the sixth of a record SEVEN grand slams hit on Saturday.
Edinson Volquez became the sixth Marlins pitcher to throw a no-hitter when he shut down Arizona. Florida has been around since 1993 and already have SIX. The Twins have thrown two during that period, Eric Milton and Francisco Liriano.
But there was a lot of cheering in ballparks around the league last night, and that's a good thing.
The Twins will try to beat former teammate Ricky Nolasco today to take three of the four games in this series. It's tough to win a three-game series, so to be able to do it on the road - after all that has happened with pitching over the last week - would be a nice accomplishment for the local nine.
It was the top of the ninth inning last Sunday when I was thinking, "this team is about to go eight games over .500." That didn't happen, of course, as the first of a few bullpen meltdowns occurred.
But if they win today, they will be back to five games above .500.
To do so, they will have to take better at bats than they did last night against Matt Shoemaker. Time and time again, Shoemaker would throw a split-fingered fastball that dropped out of the strike zone, and the Twins chased it over and over again. There's a term called, 'making him bring the ball up,' when a pitcher is getting away with pitches like Shoemaker. But the Twins never made the adjustments.
We have to remember that five-ninths of the batting order - two-thirds if you count Robbie Grossman - are still developing players. And the lightbulb will fail to turn on from time to time.
"We had a tough time with (the splitter), there's no question," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We know it's his best off-speed pitch, and we swung over the top of it and didn't keep it in the zone very well."
Ervin Santana did not look sharp at all on Saturday. Only 58 percent of his pitches were thrown for strikes, which is low. He wasn't sure what to do with Kole Calhoun, who is eight for his last 19, walking him on four pitches to load the bases for Pujols in the fourth.
In four innings, Santana gave up seven runs on seven hits and three walks - his worst outing of the year.
"I got beat," Santana said. "I got beat up. They took advantage. I was behind in the count most of the time."
Santana worst three outings: May 7, when he gave up six runs in six innings to Boston; May 18 when he gave up five runs over seven innings to Cleveland; and on Sunday. That's eighteen earned runs in 17 innings. Chris Gimenez has caught him all three of those games, but Santana said after the Saturday's game that they were on the same page.
"Ervin, I can't explain it," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It was not hit night. Even those zeroes he put up early were a little bit of a struggle."
Jose Berrios is on the mound today in the series finale. The Twins head for Seattle after the game, where they open a three-game series on Tuesday.
Will tack on lineups here when they become available.
Pujols is getting a day off after his milestone moment, and it really reveals the depth of the Angels lineup.
Jason Castro, who was pretty beat up a few days ago, is back in the Twins lineup after getting two games off.
Eddie Rosario in center shows that Molitor truly believes that he can use him or Max Kepler as a replacement for Byron Buxton.
Brian Dozier, 2B
Robbie Grossman, LF
Joe Mauer, DH
Miguel Sano, 1B
Max Kepler, RF
Eduardo Escobar, 3B
Eddie Rosario, CF
Ehire Adrianza, SS
Jason Castro, C
Jose Berrios, RHP
Andrelton Simmons, SS
Kole Calhoun, RF
Yunel Escobar, 3B
Luis Valbeuna, DH
Chris Cron, 1B
Ben Revere, LF
Cliff Pennington, 2B
Eric Young, Jr. CF
Juan Graterol, C