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Updated: April 20th, 2010 9:34pm
Slowey's gem puts Twins back in win column

Slowey's gem puts Twins back in win column

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- If any questions lingered about Kevin Slowey shaking off Joe Mauer too often during his last start, consider Tuesday night's eight-inning, nine-strikeout gem a suitable answer.

Slowey (2-1, 2.45 ERA) pumped strikes early and often, and the Twins (10-4) took advantage of an Indians defensive meltdown to win game one of a three-game series, 5-1.

Slowey threw eight innings, allowing only five hits and one earned run while striking out nine. He walked none.

Justin Morneau's RBI double put the Twins ahead 1-0 in the first inning, and Travis Hafner's solo home run to right field tied the game 1-1 in the second.

Then, with the score still tied in the bottom of the third inning, everything unraveled for Cleveland. The Twins were threatening with runners on first and second and only one out, and Delmon Young hit a routine ground ball to Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who was set to turn a sure-fire 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Instead, the ball slipped right through Cabrera's legs, allowing everybody to safely advance. Indians' starting pitcher Justin Masterson proceeded to walk J.J. Hardy on four pitches, scoring Justin Morneau, before hurling a wild pitch that scored Michael Cuddyer.

On the wild pitch, catcher Lou Marson's throw ricocheted off Masterson, who covered home plate, allowing Delmon Young to score all the way from second base. Brendan Harris then hit a sacrifice fly to score Hardy, putting the Twins up 5-1.

Five runs was all the scoring Slowey would need.

Francisco Liriano (1-0, 2.08 ERA) is scheduled to toe the rubber on Wednesday night against David Huff (1-1, 1.80 ERA). First pitch at 7:10.

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