I suppose if tonight’s double header were strat-o-matic baseball, Syracuse would have won game one and the Red Wings should have won game two. But these games are actually played on the field where things don’t always go the way one expects. The Wings held on to win game one by the slimmest of margins, taking the game 1-0 behind a still shaky Boof Bonser, and an ever improving Bobby Korecky. Bonser was very fortunate on this night, as he got in and out of trouble during the course of the game.
In hot water in just about every inning, he slipped out of more jams than Houdini, as Syracuse stranded eight runners in the first three innings alone, and had numerous chances to score all throughout the game. Boof gave up three hits, walked five, and hit a batter in his five innings of work. But he picked up his fourth win of the season thanks to a two out double by Tommy Watkins, and a clutch RBI single by Andres Torres.
Korecky came on in the sixth inning, and slammed the door for the save. He has now pitched the same number of innings he pitched with the Rock Cats this season. His line with the Red Wings looks much better, which is good news for the Twins organization.
In the second game, the Wings were trying to win their fifth straight double header of the 2006 season. Pete Munro held it together until the sixth, when the Chiefs broke a 2-2 tie. Earlier in the fifth, with the Wings down 2-1, Torres smacked a double that had tied the score, and the Wings continued to threaten. With runners on second and third and one out, Glenn Williams hit a come-backer, which trapped Donaldo Mendez, who broke on contact, between third and home. Chris Heintz then walked to load the bases, bringing up Erubiel Durazo.
Déjà vu, as for the second time in the series Durazo came up with runners in scoring position and the game on the line; second time he worked the count full; second time he fouled off a couple of pitches; and second time he struck out to end the rally. While this missed opportunity hurt, the Wings also had a runner thrown out at home earlier when the game was tied 1-1. Williams tried to score from first on a double into the corner by Heintz, but a strong two-hopper nailed him sliding in.
Some strange managerial strategy buried the Wings in the sixth. John Hattig led off by walking and he was bunted over to second. Justin Singleton and Rob Cosby were the next hitters. Munro had handled Singleton all night, while Cosby hit a mammoth HR his last time up against Munro. So what happens? They intentionally walk Singleton and leave Munro in to pitch to Cosby. Cosby hammers the 0-1 pitch into center for the what ultimately became the game-winning hit, ending the Wings double header streak at four
Notes:Scranton continues to win and now the Wings lead is just two games.The series with Syracuse ends tomorrow, with top-prospect Matt Garza making his second start as a Red Wing.Manager Stan Cliburn says he doesn’t expect J.D. Durbin to pitch again this season, but if he does, it would be out of the bullpen. I knew when Durbin left the last game he pitched that the injury was severe. JD wants to come back, but I tend to side with Cliburn. Tough break for Durbin, who was squeezing Bonser down a notch on the pitching depth chart this season.Going into tonight’s games, the Red Wings were hitting .282 with runners in scoring postion.Romero made a game saving catch in the seventh inning of game one. Someone must have sprinkled pixie dust on both Romero and former Red Wings Rondell White, because they have both ramped up their game 100% lately.Thomas Watkins was 5-12 with RISP going into tonight’s action.More on Garrett Jones: While his home run production is down, he is only eleven RBI away from his 2005 total. He has hit more doubles than last year, and a very good sign is the increased number of walks he has this season (37). Team officials say that despite his anemic batting average, they feel he IS making progress. I’m still not sold that he is a Major League prospect. Tonight, he went into right field for defensive purposes in the seventh inning of game one. He promptly mishandled a one out single and turned it into a double, putting the Wings’ 1-0 lead in jeopardy.Dave Gassner may pitch for the Wings in August, as his rehab progress has been good so far.This is the fourth year of our affiliation. While the team is in first place, it is by far the worst defensive team of any Red Wing team in the Twins Era. It may also be the slowest. I would be interested in knowing how many runners we have had thrown out at the plate this year.Tomorrow will be game 100 of the season.