Twins Daily: Bats silenced once again in loss to A's
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Twins bats were silenced on Saturday night by left-hander Gio Gonzalez and the bullpen bridge that followed, as the Oakland A's left Target Field with a 1-0 victory.
As has been the norm over the first eight games of the season, the Twins offense was unable to generate much traction on Saturday night.
Gonzalez hurled six scoreless innings, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out four. Right-hander Grant Balfour and left-hander Brian Fuentes later combined for three shutout innings to put the Twins to bed.
Nick Blackburn matched Gonzalez with six solid innings of his own -- one run (zero earned) on five hits, three walks and two strikeouts. But it wasn't enough to overcome a stagnant offense.
With two outs in the top of the sixth inning of a 0-0 game, Kurt Suzuki stood at second when Mark Ellis hit a groundball toward shortstop Alexi Casilla that appeared harmless enough to end the inning. However, Casilla fielded the grounder and fired low to Justin Morneau at first base. The ball skipped past Morneau and into the seats, allowing Suzuki to score the game's only run.
21: The number of runs scored by the Twins in eight games this season, which equates to 2.6 per game.
8: The number of runners left on base for the Twins on Saturday night, including two in scoring position to end the fifth inning. Danny Valencia and Luke Hughes started the inning with back-to-back singles, but Alexi Casilla, Denard Span and Joe Mauer were unable to drive in a run.
Span came up with runners on second and third and one out, but he popped out to shallow left field on the first pitch.
"I can't speak for others," Span said about the team's offensive troubles. "I don't have any concern from me. I can only speak for myself. I think we'll be fine. I think we've faced some good arms in the early part of the year.
"I haven't panicked yet. I haven't yet, I don't think anybody else has. It's definitely frustrating.
"I think we're still confident. We've got some good hitters in this lineup, and we're going to get it going. I think once we do get it going, some teams are going to have to pay."
2: Consecutive foul balls off the bat of Hughes in the ninth inning that were gathered by the same fan, right in front of the press box.
6: The number of consecutive one-run games played by the Twins, who are 3-3 in those contests.
2: The number of former Twins relievers (Balfour and Fuentes) who pitched for the A's in Saturday night's ballgame. Former Twin Craig Breslow also resides in the Oakland bullpen.
"We have a lot of run producers that are supposed to be driving the ball for us. It's kind of a team thing. It's not an individual thing."
-- Manager Ron Gardenhire on the Twins' offensive power outage through the first eight games.
Right-hander Scott Baker (0-1, 6.00) will battle right-hander Brandon McCarthy (0-0, 4.50) in Sunday's series finale.
In his first start of the season, Baker got off to a slow start in the Bronx against the Yankees, allowing two two-run homers in the first two innings. But he eventually settled down and finished six innings, not allowing a run in the final four. In theory, Baker's flyball tendencies should play extremely well in Target Field, especially early in the season when the weather is a bit crisp.
McCarthy was one of baseball's top-50 prospects in 2005, but he has fizzled in stints with the White Sox and Rangers. In his first start with Oakland this season, on the road in Toronto, McCarthy allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits and a walk in eight innings, striking out two.
• Monday: Off.
• Tuesday: vs. Kansas City, 7:10 p.m. LHP Brian Duensing (0-0, 5.14) vs. LHP Jeff Francis (0-0, 1.98).
• Wednesday: vs. Kansas City, 1:10 p.m. LHP Francisco Liriano (0-2, 7.71) vs. RHP Kyle Davies (1-0, 6.75).