Alemakers drop heartbreaker to Twins, 10-9

The win streak ended at four on Sunday, as the Twins bounced back in the finale to avoid the sweep. Starter Jeff Suppan dug a hole early, spotting the Twins a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a sac fly by Justin Morneau, followed by an RBI single by catcher Mike Redmond, as Suppan faced the first seven batters in the frame. Suppan then faced the middle of the lineup for a 3-run third, as the first four batters he faced all got on base. The third time through–#2 hitter Joe Mauer drew a walk, as did #4 hitter Justin Morneau after Suppan fanned Michael Cuddyer…#5 hitter Lew Ford doubled to plate Mauer and Morneau, and later scored on a Jason Tyner bunt single…Tyner stole second, and scored on a Jeff Cirillo single, to give the Twins a 9-2 lead (Corey Hart and J.J. Hardy had solo shots in the top of the 5th). Suppan left with two outs in the 5th, after having given up 9 runs (all earned), 10 hits (including 3 doubles), and 3 base on balls. But the TBBC bounced back–the Crew plated 2 in the 6th on a Tony Graffanino homer with Geoff Jenkins aboard, followed by a 3-run 8th that saw Craig Counsell single in Geoff Jenkins, and scoring on another Corey Hart homer, to cut the deficit to 9-7 after 7½. Then, on what has to be the leading candidate for the strangest play of the year, Prince Fielder hit an inside-the-park home run. That caused a spark, as Hall, Estrada, and Jenkins all singled to load the bases. After Joe Nathan fanned Graffanino, Craig Counsell hit a sac fly to plate Hall with the tying run…and advancing Gwynn (who pinch ran for Estrada) and Jenkins to third and second, respectively. Nathan fanned Hart to end the top of the 9th…with the score at 9-9. Rolling the dice–and having used his lone lefty in the pen, Brian Shouse, for 3 innings on Friday night–skipper Ned Yost opted to leave RHP Chris Spurling in to face left-handed hitting Justin Morneau to start the bottom of the ninth. Morneau took the 1-0 pitch and dumped it into the right-center field bleachers, giving the Twins the 10-9 win. Fans have to be scratching their heads as to why Yost didn’t opt for either Derrick Turnbow or Francisco Cordero to face Morneau…perhaps because they both had pitched the prior game–a night game that had ended just 18 hours earlier–or because he wanted to save them for the 10th or 11th. Other tidbits: * See Robert’s post on the rumored signing of first-round pick Matt LaPorta * Yovani Gallardo did not pitch this weekend, almost guaranteeing that he’ll make his major league debut Monday evening at Miller Park against Barry Bonds and the Giants. * Second baseman Rickie Weeks will be activated Monday, and either Tony Gwynn, Jr., or Gabe Gross will get sent down to Nashville to make room for Weeks. * With Elmer Dessens’ return postponed, GM Doug Melvin still has a little bit more time to decide on roster moves for the pitching staff (recall the Brewers added reliever José Capellan and starter Yovani Gallardo to replace Dessens and starter Chris Capuano, respectively (well, technically, Ryan Braun came up for Dessens, while Capellan came up when Rickie Weeks was put on the DL)). Sunday’s goat, Chris Spurling, as well as Brian Shouse, would both seem to be expendable and might have trade value as teams are considering their needs prior to the stretch run…Shouse, a lefty, would need to be replaced by another lefty, so Spurling may now be expendable once Dessens returns.

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