Inside Pitch: Stewart Avoids The DL

Stewart's bat is key to the Minnesota offense.

In this edition of Twins' Inside Pitch, Joe Mays is finally bumped from the rotation, Scott Baker gets another shot at nailing down a starting job, Shannon Stewart avoids time on the disabled list, Gardenhire has a scare in the dugout, and much more.

On second thought, that suddenly awakening lineup has fallen back on hard -- and typical -- times since a week-long surge that helped carry the Twins to an 8-1 stretch this month.

Since then, the team has lost four of five, scoring just six runs in those four losses (through Sunday).

Going back to their 1-0 victory over the White Sox on Aug. 23 -- with their lone hit in that game producing the lone run -- the Twins are hitting just .218 with only 16 runs in six games (2.67 runs per game).

They've been shut out through the first six innings in all of those games. It took a shutout and a ninth-inning rally for a run to send a 2-2 game to extra innings to get their only two victories in that stretch -- despite a 2.77 staff earned run average in that span.

And the hitting numbers only look as good as they do over the past week because of a five-hit, five-run 11th inning at Texas on Saturday (in that game they scrapped for the ninth-inning run).

NOTES, QUOTES

  • RHP Joe Mays finally lost his spot in the rotation, replaced by RHP Scott Baker, who has pitched well in two spot starts for the Twins this year.

    Mays, who is just 1-6 with a 7.94 ERA since his last win on July 3, moves to the bullpen, probably for the rest of the season.

  • Manager Ron Gardenhire, who had an episode of elevated heart rate and dizziness during Thursday's game against the Chicago White Sox, is under strict orders from the team's medical staff to cut out coffee. Gardenhire said he drank three cups of coffee -- a lot for him, he said -- before Thursday's day game. He spent much of the second half of that game in the clubhouse lying down with ice on his head. He said Friday he felt much better and slept well Thursday night.

  • OF Mike Ryan has four three-hit games in his career, three of them this year. But two have came last week as the guy getting playing time in place of injured LF Shannon Stewart and absent-for-personal-reasons RF Jacque Jones. More amazing than that: He was hitting .175 before the two-game surge pushed him over .200.

  • With Friday's loss to the Rangers, the Twins have lost seven games by shutout this season, after losing four shutouts all of last year. They've won five games by shutout this year.

  • SS Juan Castro (knee) is ready to come off the DL, but manager Ron Gardenhire said he wouldn't be activated until rosters expand Thursday. Castro left the team Friday to return home to Arizona to be with his wife, Yadira, who was scheduled for minor surgery.

  • RF Jacque Jones was back in the lineup Friday after missing the previous two games to attend his uncle's funeral.

  • LF Shannon Stewart won't be placed on the disabled list despite a shoulder injury that kept him sidelined at least through the weekend. With rosters expanding in a week and possible reinforcements on the way, the Twins don't want to lose Stewart for two weeks, if he'll be ready to play within a week.

  • RHP Carlos Silva, who did not get a decision Thursday despite allowing just one run in seven innings, lowered his ERA since the All-Star break to 2.75. But he's just 1-3 in his eight starts since the break.

    Silva has not walked a batter in his past three starts, has walked only one in his past six (43 1/3 inning) and leads the majors in fewest walks per nine innings this season (0.4). In fact, of his eight walks this season, two are intentional.

  • The Twins on Thursday had a streak of eight games with at least one home run snapped by the White Sox.When the Twins signed their 11th-round draft pick last week, RHP Brian Kirwan from Sante Fe Christian School in Del Mar, Calif., it meant their top 16 selections (all their picks through 12 rounds) had signed.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 8 -- Walks this season issued by RHP Carlos Silva (leads majors with 0.4 allowed per nine innings). Two of the eight walks were intentional.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was scary. He really was hot. He was beet red. I didn't know if he was having a heart attack or not. That's the first thing you think." -- Twins bench coach Steve Liddle on manager Ron Gardenhire's apparent anxiety attack during Thursday's game

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