Twins just get it done
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire relaxed at his desk, sifting through his iTunes library before Sunday's game. He flipped from Linkin Park to the country genre, looking to update his iPod before the team's upcoming seven-game...
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire relaxed at his desk, sifting through his iTunes library before Sunday's game. He flipped from Linkin Park to the country genre, looking to update his iPod before the team's upcoming seven-game road trip.
"I figure I'd try something new," he said.
Gardenhire could use some variety. In this land where the sun is always shining and the birds are always chirping, all the Twins seem to do these days is win.
The story was the same Sunday as the Twins completed a three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians, sending potential All-Star game starter Cliff Lee home with only his second loss of the season. For the second consecutive game, the Twins battled back from a three-run deficit, winning 4-3 in front of an announced 30,258 at the Metrodome.
"You think about chipping away and getting a couple here and there," said first baseman Justin Morneau, named to his second consecutive All-Star game earlier in the day. "It's kind of been our philosophy. Don't go up there trying to hit a six-run homer. Just go up there and do what you can do. If you can hit a single the other way, a double in the gap, whatever. Everyone's kind of buying into it right now."
The right formula
It's working. The Twins (50-38) have won five games in a row and 18 of 21, and they ended a nine-game homestand 7-2. They remain a game behind the equally hot White Sox in the AL Central.
"We're not a team that can just blow the game open with one swing," said Denard Span, who walked on five pitches to bring home the tying run in the seventh inning. "Sometimes you nibble."
Twins left-hander Glen Perkins (5-2) produced his eighth quality start in 12 tries this year. He gave up a two-run homer to Jhonny Peralta in the sixth, kicking himself -- but not too hard. He heartily led the dugout's applause from the top step as five consecutive batters reached base and three scored in the seventh. Carlos Gomez grounded out to score the go-ahead run, as Lee (11-2) threw 37 pitches in the inning.
Morneau admitted that producing runs against an ace such as Lee induces confidence as the Twins head to Boston's Fenway Park, where they will face Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jon Lester and Josh Beckett, who have a combined 24-9 record.
"I try not to look at the name on the back of the jersey," Span said. "They have to throw strikes just like anybody else."
Cast of heros
The opponents' names aren't important, and which player is leading the Twins hasn't mattered, either.
Nick Punto's bases-loaded single produced the first run of the seventh-inning rally, prompting a media contingent to surround him in the clubhouse after the game. Locker neighbor Mike Redmond joked with Punto: "I like when they're waiting on you. It fires me up."
So remains the atmosphere of one of the happiest clubhouses in the big leagues -- the one filled with players who find a way to score runs, with 24 comeback victories this season. The one whose young pitchers have carried the team, of which they were supposed to be the weakness. The one that is willing to let Gardenhire pick the music as the players continue cruising.
"It's fun to be on the bench with these guys," Gardenhire said. "They're into it. More than anything else, that's what's exciting."