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The Twins fell again on Tuesday, losing 5-2 to the upstart Oakland Athletics. It was the sixth straight loss for the Twins, as they continue to freefall in the playoff race. To make things worse, the Cleveland Indians won again on Tuesday, beating the New York Yankees 6-5.
Joe Mays got the ball for Minnesota, and pitched pretty well. He threw six innings, leaving down 2-1 after six, and struck out four. He ended up with a no decision when the Twins scored a run in the seventh to tie the game at 2-2.
The Twins jumped out to an early lead, scoring a run in the bottom of the second inning. Slugger Jacque Jones led off the inning with a solo home run, his 16th of the season. Jones continues to be the hottest bat in the Twins lineup, although Justin Morneau is doing his best to upstage him.
The A’s would crawl back in the fifth, as they strung together a two-out rally. A Jason Kendall single scored Nick Swisher, and would come around to score with Mark Kotsay followed suit with a single of his own. The comeback was all too familiar for Twins fans, who have seen the team go into a funk these past couple of weeks.
The Twins would answer back in the seventh inning, as Michael Cuddyer blasted a solo home run of his own. It was his sixth home run of the year, capping a 1-4 day for the third baseman. However, that would be it for the Twins offense for the rest of the evening.
In the eighth inning, the wheels would fall off the bus for the Twins. J.C. Romero would relieve Matt Guerrier and would struggle from the outset. Kotsay led off the inning with a single, and Bobby Crosby followed him with a walk. Eric Chavez would score Kotsay with a single to right, and Crosby would score on a Dan Johnson single.
Juan Rincon would come in to relieve Romero, who failed to record an out in the inning. Rincon would get Jay Payton to ground out, but Scott Hatteberg would plate the final run of the game with an RBI ground out.
Athletics reliever Jay Witasick would work a perfect eighth, striking out the side. Rookie Huston Street would pick up his second save in as many days, allowing only a hit to Lew Ford in the ninth inning.
For the Twins, the loss kept them 15.5 games out of first place, but moved them six back in the Wild Card standings. With another series with Boston on the horizon, the Twins better get their act together, or their season could be done by August. Maybe it is time to bring up Scott Baker and see how he does every fifth day.
Center Ford: Lew Ford seems to have taken over Torii Hunter’s role as the everyday centerfielder. He has had his struggles in center, but Manager Gardenhire has put him out there for four straight games. He is however happy to be done with the month of July, where he batted .173.
Bartlett Watch: Bartlett started again at shortstop on Tuesday, but again failed to get a hit. While he is still getting his feet wet, he will need to find the stroke that led to a .332 batting average at Triple-A Rochester. Already demoted once this season, it seems as if the Twins will stick with the youngster for the time being.
More Awards For Liriano: Left-handed super prospect Francisco Liriano was named Twins’ Minor League Pitcher of the Week for the week ending July 29. The slinging southpaw went 2-0, and posted an eye-popping 0.60 ERA. In addition, he only let up one earned run on six hits in 15 innings of work.
Buchanan To Sign: The Twins will sign Brian Buchanan on Thursday, and will place him at Triple-A Rochester. Buchanan, who has Major League experience, was released by Colorado Springs on July 20. The outfielder was batting .297, with ten home runs and 41 RBI at the time of his release.
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