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Updated: May 25th, 2012 10:40pm
Starting pitching continues to haunt as Swarzak hit hard in loss

Starting pitching continues to haunt as Swarzak hit hard in loss

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Despite plenty of offensive production the Minnesota Twins received yet another poor starting pitching performance en route to a 10-6 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Friday night at Target Field.

The skinny

Anthony Swarzak was the latest Twins starter to get beat up.

Swarzak, who pitched through flu-like symptoms, was handed an early 2-0 lead, but he gave it back instantly and lasted only 3 2/3 innings. Swarzak was charged with six earned runs on nine hits and a walk while striking out three, and his ERA this season ballooned up over 5.70.

"He had to get some IV put in him earlier in the day, so he was battline the flu bug out there and really didn't have his mojo going as they say," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He was up a little bit, but battled as hard as he could. ...

"He'll make no excuses. I sent him home (right after the game)."

Every time the Twins put runs on the board the Tigers answered with more.

Minnesota struck first with two runs in the first inning on a two-out RBI double by Brian Dozier, and the Tigers answered with four in the second on RBI doubles by Brennan Boesch and Alex Avila, and an RBI single by Quintin Berry. The Tigers also added two in the top of the fourth on an RBI double by Avila and an RBI single by Ryan Raburn.

The Twins scored a run in the bottom of the fourth on a sac fly by Jamey Carroll to cut Detroit's lead to 6-3, but Prince Fielder answered with an RBI double in the fifth.

The Twins scored two in the sixth on a sac fly by Alexi Casilla and an RBI single by Carroll, but the Tigers responded again with three in the seventh on an RBI single by Fielder and an RBI double by Delmon Young. The third run of the inning -- and 10th of the game -- scored when shortstop Brian Dozier whiffed on a pop-up in shallow left.

Swarzak was replaced by Francisco Liriano, who -- with little help from his defense -- allowed four earned runs on five hits in 2 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out three.

"We scored some runs, and we kept getting after it, kept getting back into it, but we just couldn't stop them," Gardenhire said. "Another night when we had to go to the bullpen and use a lot of pitching. We'll have to regroup and see where we go from here. We'll talk this thing over tomorrow. A lot happened in the ballgame tonight. We'll talk it over tomorrow and kind of decide where we go next as far as pitching goes."

Detroit lefty Drew Smyly gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits and two walks while striking out two in five innings.

Carroll and Gardenhire were both ejected in the bottom of the eighth inning by first base umpire Alan Porter. Carroll appeared to beat out a close play at first base with two outs but was called out. First base coach Jerry White and Carroll both argued and Carroll was tossed quickly.

"I just said, 'I thought the tie goes to the runner,' and he turned and he threw me out," Carroll said. "And I turned to ask him, 'What did I say?' I thought all's I said was, 'Tie went to the runner,' and he said, 'That's not what you said.' So I repeated over and over to try and find out what it was that I said. ...

"Apparently he thought I said something. I'm anxious to see the report, what he writes up, to see what I said that caused me to get thrown out. ... When you hustle down the line like that over and over again and you feel like you're safe, you figure one time it's going to pay off. In that case I thought it paid off."

Gardenhire -- who had already argued a call with Porter earlier in the game -- exploded and was eventually dismissed. As he stormed back to the dugout Gardenhire tossed his cap toward Porter.

Turning point

As has been the case more often than not this season, an early Twins lead didn't last very long.

The Tigers jumped on Swarzak in the top of the second inning. Fielder and Young singled to start the frame, then Boesch delivered a double to the gap in right center to put the Tigers on the board.

After Jhonny Peralta popped out, Avila's double to right center scored both Young and Boesch to make it 3-2.

Two batters later, Berry singled with two outs. He was thrown out trying to advance to second base, but the fourth run had already scored.

"That's kind of the cardinal sin as you go up -- you score and you want to stop them," Gardenhire said. "It's big to get a stop that next inning. We're just not able to do it right now. ...

"Unfortunately we just didn't pitch well enough to give us a chance to finish those guys off over there. We had a lot of quality at-bats tonight, and some good at-bats, and got back in the game and scored some runs."

Numbers game

22: The number of times (in 45 games) that Twins starters have allowed five earned runs or more in an outing.

19: The number of times Twins starters have failed to pitch beyond five innings.

2: Only twice has a Twins starter gone through an outing without allowing at least one extra-base hit.

1: Career ejections for Jamey Carroll.

Health report

• RHP Alex Burnett is dealing with some elbow soreness, but it's not considered serious enough for the Twins to make a roster move yet.

• RHP Nick Blackburn (thigh) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Saturday, and he could head out on a rehab assignment sometime soon.

Overheard

"(Carroll) didn't deserve to get thrown out of the ballgame. I did. I earned mine. So I'll take it. I was pretty upset. ... I just thought he should have the hat since he threw me out."
-- Gardenhire

On deck

Saturday: vs. Tigers, 1:10 p.m. RHP Carl Pavano (2-3, 4.91) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (3-3, 5.73)
Sunday: vs. Tigers, 1:10 p.m. RHP P.J. Walters (2-1, 2.95) vs. RHP Rick Porcello (3-4, 5.29)

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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