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Updated: June 18th, 2010 8:58pm
Nick Blackburn comes derailed as Twins lose 9-5

Nick Blackburn comes derailed as Twins lose 9-5

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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Friday night's main storylines -- Orlando Hudson returning from the disabled list and Michael Cuddyer making his first start at third base since 2005 -- were quickly overshadowed by a Nick Blackburn blowup.

A bad one.

Eight earned runs, six hits, three walks, and two no-doubter home runs in only 1 2/3 innings, as the Phillies beat the Twins 9-5

After a solid start against Atlanta last weekend, Blackburn (6-4, 5.80) has completely derailed once again. This is the third time in four starts that Blackburn has given up at least five earned runs while failing to pitch past four innings.

Prior to that, Blackburn posted a 2.65 ERA in five May starts, walking only five in 37 1/3 innings.

Blackburn also allowed those eight runs before Cuddyer even had a chance to field a grounder. Cuddyer -- playing at third base since September 20, 2005 -- finally fielded a Jason Werth grounder for the second out of the seventh inning.

The Twins drafted Cuddyer as a shortstop out of high school in 1997, but after he committed 61 errors there in 1998, the organization moved him to third base. Of course, he also committed 28 and 34 errors at third in 1999 and 2000 in Class-A and Class-AA, which foreshadowed his eventual move to the outfield.

Cuddyer, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI on Friday night, has been taking groundballs at third base off and on for a few days now, which could mean more starts at third as the National League road trip continues.

Hudson went 0-for-5 in his return from the disabled list, swinging left-handed in all five of his plate appearances. Manager Ron Gardenhire hesitated to activate Hudson in the Colorado series because he could only swing right-handed.

Despite the 0-fer, Hudson provides much-needed stability in the two-hole for the Twins. At one point, Twins' number two hitters were hitting .103/.176/.103 in Hudson's absence, but that line rose slightly after Matt Tolbert showed a pulse in the Colorado series.

RHP Kevin Slowey (7-4, 3.84) is scheduled to face RHP Cole Hamels (6-5, 3.74) on Saturday afternoon.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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