By Dan Cook, WCCO Radio
While the recently completed home-stand couldn’t have started much worse for the Twins – with a sweep at the hands of the Royals, which last happened in 1998 – it was salvaged by a sweep of the Houston Astros.
And a big part of that sweep was the play of second baseman Brian Dozier along with the performance of the Twins’ bullpen.
Certainly no victory parades will be thrown over defeating the team with the worst record in baseball. But when a team is seemingly headed towards its third consecutive sub-.500 season, you take small victories when and where you can.
Start with Friday night’s 13-inning affair. There’s no question that the Twins have struggled to score runs as of late (averaging just 3.5 runs per game over their last seven), mostly due to a failure to hit with runners in scoring position. But starting Friday night, Brian Dozier bulldozed his way through Houston pitching, most especially with runners in scoring position.
He went 3-for-7 Friday night and 2-for-3 with RISP. He scored a game-tying run in the 8th inning, and then after Houston regained the lead in the top of the 9th, he hit a game-tying RBI single in the bottom-half. Not satisfied with merely tying games, Dozier came through in the clutch again in the 13th plating Clete Thomas with a game-winning RBI single.
But Dozier’s heroics wouldn’t have been possible without the bullpen making them hold up.
True, Glen Perkins blew a save opportunity in the 9th. But Jared Burton, Caleb Theilbar, Casey Fien and Josh Roenicke all pitched scoreless innings in relief to give the Twins a chance to win. And Ryan Pressly pitched two nearly flawless innings in the 12th & 13th to pick up his third Win of the season.