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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Twins win again

(REUTERS) — It may only be three games into the season, but this was what the Twins had in mind for their rotation since the beginning of last year.

Kyle Lohse (1-0) retired the first 16 batters he faced and allowed just two hits over eight innings as the Twins shut out the Tigers Thursday 3-0, completing a three-game series sweep.

“Boy, was he outstanding,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He really, really pitched. That’s what we do best: pitch and catch the ball.”


The Twins were able to play to their strengths throughout the series because of their starters. The starting tandem of Brad Radke, Joe Mays and Lohse allowed only one walk, two runs and seven hits in 19 2/3 innings this week — an encouraging sign of the rotation’s health.

“We’ve had three very good starting pitching performances,” Gardenhire said. “That’s a good start to the year. That’s nice to come right out of spring training and get those pitching performances.”

“When you see the way they handle themselves out there, you naturally want to step in and keep the good thing going,” said Lohse, who did not walk a batter and struck out five Thursday.

The 24-year-old right-hander wasted little time between batters, continually firing 94-mph fastballs with a mix of breaking pitches. When he wasn’t striking out hitters, he was getting them to hit routine fly balls.

“That’s what you see when you go right at hitters if they’re not catching up to it,” Gardenhire said. “It’s a cold day. Pour it on the inside half of the plate and make them beat you.”

Lohse got enough run support to keep him just comfortable enough. Tigers’ starter Adam Bernero (0-1) allowed a one-out Cristian Guzman triple to set up the Twins’ first run of the game in the first inning. Torii Hunter’s groundout to second base scored Guzman to make it 1-0.

A triple also set the stage for the Twin’s second run during the fourth inning. Corey Koskie drove a three-base hit to center field and made it 2-0 when the next batter, Bobby Kielty, drove an RBI single to right field.

Bernero also pitched well Thursday, going seven innings and allowing two runs on five hits with a walk and a strikeout. He also kept the game moving, which Lohse said was to his benefit.

“I just felt like I was in a groove,” Lohse said. “The other guy was throwing quick too; it makes it that much easier. I felt like I had that timing.”

Lohse was perfect through 5 1/3 innings before Omar Infante hit a one-out double to left field. Dmitri Young later singled in the seventh inning. After 92 pitches through eight innings, Lohse gave way to closer Eddie Guardado, who threw a one-hit ninth inning for his second save. The bullpen has pitched 7 1/3 innings of shutout ball with two saves on the young season.

In the first half of 2002, the Twins saw a banged-up rotation struggle to go deep in games. Four of their five starters had ERAs above 5.00 before the All-Star break, forcing Gardenhire to lean heavily on the bullpen. No one can claim they’re overworked in these very early stages.

“That’s what the starting pitcher is supposed to do,” said Radke, who threw an efficient 6 2/3 innings Monday. “Throw as many innings [as he can] and keep his team in the game.”

Someone may even have to send a search party to find pitcher Tony Fiore. The middle reliever, who won nine games from the bullpen last year, is the only player who has yet to get into a game.

“I’m just happy to see us win,” Fiore said. “My time will come. I love seeing starters go 7-8 innings; it means it’s a winning season.”

“Last year, we talked about having too many of them in there,” Gardenhire said. “I’m not going to start complaining about starters carrying games and going deeper.”

No one is going to complain about Thursday’s game pace either. It lasted exactly two hours, a healthy sprint by today’s standards.

“That was a nice, crisp ball game,” Gardenhire said.

Pitching can be a little easier when your team dominates its opponent the way Minnesota has dominated Detroit of late. The Twins have won 12 straight games over the Tigers and outscored them 73-22.

But it’s still early. There are many other starts left against teams besides the rebuilding Tigers.

“It’s a good start,” Radke said. “There’s still a long way to go.”

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