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Twins tee off, sweep White Sox
Everything is relative.
Take starter Gavin Floyd's White Sox debut Friday night. Yes, he allowed six runs in a 12-0 loss to the Twins, but at least he held the Twins to only one touchdown.
And that's not bad, considering the Sox lost the opener 20-14.
Taken together, the 32 runs were the most in back-to-back games against the Sox since 1930 and second-most ever to the 35 allowed in 1902.
In other words, Friday was an historically bad day for the Sox pitching staff.
"It was hard to watch," manager Ozzie Guillen said, "but there's nothing we can do about it.
"I have to change the name for [the Twins], from piranhas to sharks. The way they swing the bats they have to be a bigger fish."
Floyd, making his first major-league start in more than a year, was far from outstanding. He lasted only 5 2/3 innings while giving up eight hits and four walks, although 14 of his outs came on ground balls and two more on strikeouts.
With his fastball clocked at 90-91 m.p.h., Floyd allowed three runs in the first on Justin Morneau's home run, two more in the fourth on back-to-back homers by Morneau and Torii Hunter and another in the fifth on Michael Cuddyer's shot over the fence. All the runs came with two outs.
Morneau added another two-run shot in the seventh inning off Boone Logan, giving him six RBIs to go with his four in the opener, and Jeff Cirillo followed that with a three-run shot.
"I like the way [Floyd] is throwing now more than in spring training," Guillen said. "I really like the way he is throwing, the velocity."
To add to the unusual offensive day, the Twins also had to use pitcher Matt Garza to bat in the nightcap, although Friday was not considered a "doubleheader" statistically. He became the first pitcher to bat in an American League game since Boston's Hipolito Pichardo July 31, 2000, at Seattle and the first for the Twins since 1989.
Garza batted because the Twins had to give up DH Joe Mauer, who was forced behind the plate when starting catcher Mike Redmond left the game with a head laceration after being struck by Jim Thome's bat. Redmond bled profusely and received stitches at the ballpark.
Garza finished the night 0-for-2 with a strikeout.
As for the first game, what's there to say, except the two baseball teams nearly equaled the points from the December meeting of the Bears (23) and Vikings (13).
"I don't remember a game as ugly as this one. Both sides," Guillen said. "It was better for them because they won. We couldn't do anything."
White Sox pitchers not only allowed 21 hits, but were guilty of two of the season-high five errors. In the third inning, the Sox had two runners (Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye) thrown at out at third.
And then there was Jon Garland. He allowed a career-high 11 earned runs in 3 1/3 innings and became the first pitcher to give up 12 runs since … well, since he did it himself Sept. 25 at Cleveland.
"The results were absolutely terrible," said Garland, whose ERA went from 3.15 to 3.92. "I'm embarrassed by my effort."
Those that followed him weren't much better. Nick Masset allowed six runs in 3 1/3 innings and Dewon Day two in 2/3 rds of an inning. Sox pitchers threw 201 pitches and struck out only one batter.
Mauer and Jason Kubel matched career highs with five RBIs—by the fifth inning.
And yet the Twins had closer Joe Nathan warming up in the bullpen in the ninth inning as pinch-hitter A.J. Pierzynski struck out with the bases loaded. Konerko, Josh Fields and Jim Thome all homered and Alex Cintron drove in four runs, but it was all for nothing, just like the rest of the very long day.