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Updated: June 23rd, 2011 12:17am
Twins Daily: Sloppy play, Ryan Vogelsong snap winning streak at eight

Twins Daily: Sloppy play, Ryan Vogelsong snap winning streak at eight

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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Journeyman right-hander Ryan Vogelsong allowed three hits over seven excellent innings and the San Francisco Giants snapped the sloppy Minnesota Twins' winning streak at eight with a 5-1 victory on Wednesday night at AT&T Park.

The skinny

Vogelsong didn't allow a baserunner until Michael Cuddyer's single in the fifth inning and took a shutout into the seventh, when shortstop Brandon Crawford's two-out error allowed Cuddyer to score from third base and cut the Twins' deficit to two.

Matt Tolbert -- pinch-hitting for starting pitcher Nick Blackburn -- flew out to center field to end the frame, wrapping Vogelsong's night after 108 pitches. And the Giants added insurance against the Twins' bullpen in the seventh and eighth, with Aubrey Huff singling home one run and shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka's error bringing in another.

That was the third error for the Twins (32-40), who didn't provide Blackburn much help in the field either while falling 7½ games behind Cleveland in the American League Central Division standings.

Delmon Young punched a leadoff double into the right-field corner in the top of the ninth against Giants closer Brian Wilson, and Luke Hughes drew a one-out walk. But Nishioka and pinch hitter Rene Tosoni each flew out to center field to end it.

Turning point

Needing some sort of momentum after getting pummeled on Tuesday night, the Giants got it with one out in the bottom of the second inning, when Brandon Crawford hit what looked like a double-play grounder to Nishioka.

Alexi Casilla dropped Nishioka's flip, though, allowing Cody Ross to slide in safely at second base. Three pitches later, Eli Whiteside tripled to the right-center field gap and the Giants had a 2-0 lead they never relinquished.

Whiteside added an RBI single in the sixth, finishing 2-for-4.

Numbers game

3: Walks issued in six innings by Blackburn, who threw 95 pitches (60 strikes), allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits and struck out four.

1: Batters it took for the Twins to commit their first error. 3B Danny Valencia mishandled leadoff hitter Aaron Rowand's grounder in the first inning, scooped it up and threw wildly over 1B Luke Hughes' head.

7: Stolen bases this season for Cuddyer, who swiped second after his fifth-inning single. That matches a career high.

1: Stellar defensive play by Nishioka, who picked up Aaron Rowand's grounder deep in the hole with two outs and runners on second and third in the sixth. Hughes picked Nishioka's short-hop throw to end the inning.

14: Days since LHP Phil Dumatrait had pitched before he came on to pitch the seventh inning.

1: Batter retired by Dumatrait, who hit the first man he faced and allowed an RBI single.

Health watch

• DH Jim Thome (back/quadriceps) got five at-bats in a simulated game, felt great and is scheduled to rejoin the Twins on Friday in Milwaukee.

• RHP Joe Nathan (elbow tenderness) allowed an unearned run on one hit, walked one and struck out three in one inning's work at Triple-A Rochester. Barring a setback, he is expected to rejoin the Twins in Milwaukee, too.

• 1B Justin Morneau (sore left wrist) is scheduled to get his cast off on Friday.

• OF Jason Kubel (foot) still isn't ready to run the bases.

• RHP Kevin Slowey threw about 30 pitches in a simulated game.

On deck

At a time the Twins' rotation is pitching as well as any baseball, left-hander Brian Duensing (4-6, 4.82) is the one pitcher struggling. He allowed two earned runs on seven hits over six innings and got the win in his last start against San Diego. But he admitted he continued to fight himself as he has since the start of May -- a nine-outing stretch in which opponents are hitting .316/.374/.480 and Duensing is 2-5 with a 6.42 ERA, 30 strikeouts and 16 walks in 40 2/3 innings.

He'll get the ball in Thursday's rubber match (2:45 p.m., 1500 ESPN) against Giants ace Tim Lincecum (5-6, 3.39), the 27-year-old right-hander who has 54 wins, 858 strikeouts and a 2.90 ERA in 763 innings since the start of the 2008 season. He has struggled four June starts, though, allowing 19 runs (18 earned) in 21 1/3 innings (7.59 ERA).

Coming up

• Friday: at Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m. RHP Scott Baker (5-4, 3.24) vs. LHP Randy Wolf (5-4, 3.15).
• Saturday: at Milwaukee, 6:10 p.m. LHP Francisco Liriano (4-6, 4.59) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (8-4, 4.11).
• Sunday: at Milwaukee, 1:10 p.m. RHP Carl Pavano (5-5, 4.05) vs. LHP Chris Narveson (4-5, 4.55).

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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