CLEVELAND -- Twins reliever Matt Capps threw one pitch in Friday night's 6-5 loss, and Carlos Santana sent it into the Cleveland night for a walk-off home run.

It was Santana’s 27th homer, and this time, he was leading off the ninth inning as a pinch-hitter for Lou Marson.

“Cappy comes in, he’s trying to get ahead of the guy first pitch, and the young man did what you like to see off the bench,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “You come ready to hit a fastball when you’re pinch hitting. And he threw a fastball, and got it over the plate, and the kid killed it.”

* The Twins have loaded the bases with no outs and still failed to score three times in the past four days. Each time, there was one critical at-bat: Tuesday, it was Michael Cuddyer’s strikeout. Wednesday, it was Trevor Plouffe’s double-play grounder. Tonight, Joe Benson grounded into the key double play.

It was similar to Plouffe’s at-bat, in that Benson was too aggressive. Cleveland starter Justin Masterson had walked the first two batters on eight pitches and hit Rene Tosoni to load the bases.

With a 1-0 count, Masterson threw a slider, low and away, well outside the strike zone. It would have been 2-0, but Benson chased it for strike one.

“You’ve got a tough pitcher out there, and if he gets a pitch 1-0, you’ve got a chance,” Gardenhire said. “If the ball’s up, you can get the ball to the outfield grass. If you’re chasing down, then you’re too aggressive.”

Benson fouled off a 2-1 pitch, right down the middle, and then Masterson left a sinker high in the strike zone. Instead of driving that pitch to the outfield, Benson grounded it back to Masterson, who started a 1-2-3 double play.

Not to keep harping on these moments, but these are the experiences these young players need to learn from moving forward.

* While Benson struggles, Chris Parmelee continues to impress. It was a real sign when Gardenhire gave him the green light with a 3-0 count in the first inning. Parmelee calmly singled up the middle.

“He’s swinging good, he’s got pretty good command of the strike zone; it shows I have a little trust in the kid,” Gardenhire said. “And, more importantly, he stayed on it. Rather than jerking the ball, trying to do too much, he shot the ball up the middle, which is very impressive.”

The veterans like what they’ve seen from Parmelee, too.

“I’m impressed with his maturity, his skills and his balance at the plate,” Carl Pavano said. “You can see that he has a really good approach, mentally and physically. He’s got a really good base to work with.

“He actually reminds me of Joe [Mauer], a lot -- the way he takes pitches, the way he stays really balanced. Whether it’s a breaking ball or fastball in, it just seems like he’s never surprised, and he’s still real young. I think he’s going to get stronger and more powerful and just better. I think he’s got a great foundation to do some really special things.”

Older Post

Span, Valencia shaken up in fender bender

Newer Post

Span, Valencia and Cuddyer return to lineup for Game 1