As expected, the Twins clubhouse after Sunday's incredible win at Baltimore was rocking and bustling. There wasn't a lot of banter or laughing. Players were in a hurry to get dressed and get out of town.
Like they wanted to play another game THAT NIGHT.
That's what happens when a team feels like its rolling. When the machine is purring, sometimes you don't want to turn off the key and prefer to cruise around the block one more time. Who can blame the Twins?
They were swept earlier in the week by the Yankees, and it looked like the beginning of the end. Some bitterness remains in the clubhouse about not being able to win just ONE of those games, but I digress.
They hit Baltimore in the mouth on Thursday with a 15-2 win then proceeded to out-battle the Orioles in the next three games. Three one-run wins. Baltimore was 51-1 when leading after seven innings, but the Twins made them 51-2 on Friday. Baltimore was 54-0 when leading after eight innings, but the Twins made them 54-1 on Sunday, Actually, Baltimore deserves some of the blame for the two errors in the 12th.
Anyway, the clubhouse was maze of moving bodies as players prepared to leave for the airport. Tommy Milone was on one side of the clubhouse, talking about his first career save as Casey Fien looked on.
Milone had his arm still iced up after pitching, and Fien couldn't resist.
``Do you normally wear two bags of ice?'' Fien said to Milone. ``Isn't that a little much for one inning of work?''
``That's the norm,'' Milone said while laughing.
The man with the biggest grin in the clubhouse was Torii Hunter. From talking with him during the Yankees series, I know how frustrated he was about where things were headed. Still, he remained positive when asked for comments.
Now he has seen his club respond once again.
``Party on the plane!'' Hunter screamed.
Here are a few more observations after a crazy week with this squad.
GOING WITH MILONE: With Fien unavailable on Sunday, that left Ryan O'Rourke as the only bullpen guy left. But then, Tommy Milone ran from the dugout to the bullpen late in the game. Sunday was Milone's day for his between-starts bullpen session. But with Monday being an off-day, he opted to push his bullpen back to Tuesday in St. Pete. ``I was thinking about (eventually needing) Tommy all the way back in the seventh inning,'' Twins manager Paul Molitor said. When the Twins took the lead in the 12th, they went with Milone, who gave up a deep fly to center before striking out the next two batters to end the game. It was a supersized bullpen session, but a big boost for the Twins.
ABOUT THE EJECTION: Molitor was tossed when first base umpire Gabe Morales ruled that Miguel Sano did not check his swing in time (which looked like a bad call). But Morales did the same thing earlier in the game to Brian Dozier, which Molitor also disagreed with. The Sano decision came in the ninth inning, which I'm sure factored into Molitor's decision there. ``It was time to make a stand,'' said Molitor, who was steamed when he barked at Morales and got ejected. I didn't think Molitor would get tossed from three games this season, but he has. The funny part was when Molitor got tossed by home plate umpire Chris Conroy after he walked onto the field. Conroy didn't see that Morales had already tossed him.
PLAYING THE PERKINS CARD: Molitor was asked when he know Perkins would have to be part of Sunday's game. ``After I was ejected...'' Molitor began as the room broke up in laughter. While back in his office, pitching coach Neil Allen ran up and explained scenarios to Molitor. That included using Glen Perkins, whom they wanted to wait until Tuesday to bring back after his recovery from a sore neck. Perkins ended up pitching the 11th, getting a big strikeout of Adam Jones with two men on base.
ON SANO: He struck out in the third on a borderline pitch, turned toward Conroy and engaged him in a brief chat. He thought a 3-1 pitch in the sixth was off the plate and began walking to first when Conroy called him back because he ruled the ball was a strike (he was wrong). Sano didn't have anything to do with the fiasco in the ninth other being in the batter's box when it happened. Sano seems to know what is and isn't a strike - maybe better than some of these umpires. But a rookie should not engage umpires about ball and strike calls. Let the bench do that.
DON'T BE SURPRISED: If the Twins make a roster move before Tuesday's game. Even with the off-day, the Twins might want to add another fresh arm. That very well could be Blaine Boyer, who is throwing a bullpen session in the Twin Cities today after recovering from a sore elbow. The Twins not going with O'Rourke late in the game Sunday was a signal to me that they want more experience, and Boyer does have that. And the Twins have four lefties in the bullpen, which is superfluous.