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Updated: September 6th, 2011 9:40pm
Twins Daily: Twins 1st team to debut 3 rookies to start game since '86

Twins Daily: Twins 1st team to debut 3 rookies to start game since '86

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Despite a solid outing by Liam Hendriks in his major league debut, the Minnesota Twins came up empty offensively in a 3-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.

The skinny

The Twins welcomed three new faces to the lineup on Tuesday night, but the result of the game was more of the same.

Making the first start of his major league career, Hendriks allowed only three earned runs on four hits in seven innings, striking out four and walking three, but Twins' bats were muffled by Jake Peavy, who struck out nine and blanked the Twins over 6 1/3 innings.

"I think I threw pretty well," Hendriks said. "A few too many walks than I would have liked, but that's what happens. I was a little bit nervous at the start and finally got into a groove and felt a little bit better."

Center fielder Joe Benson and first baseman Chris Parmelee made their major league debuts as well, with Benson going 0-for-3 with a walk and Parmelee 2-for-4 with two singles.

Chicago scored its first run in the top of the second inning on an RBI single by Alejandro De Aza, then tacked on another when Alex Rios homered with one out in the fourth. De Aza tripled in the fifth when a sinking liner fell under the diving glove of Benson, and he scored shortly after on an RBI single by Brent Morel.

"I went in aggressively, and it was a low line drive," Benson said of De Aza's triple. "If the ball is popped up and you dive, it'll land right next to you. A line drive coming right at me, you've got to knock that ball down. It's kind of funny, right before that (Rene) Tosoni told me, 'Hey, if you're going to dive for a ball, make sure you can get to it.' And as soon as I dove and I saw it skipping past me... But it's part of it."

The Twins' biggest threat came in the bottom of the seventh, when they put runners on first and third with only one out. But right-hander Jason Frasor retired pinch-hitter Jason Kubel on a fly-out and Benson on a swinging strikeout to end the frame.

With the loss, the Twins were officially eliminated from playoff contention.

Turning point

The Twins had a chance to rattle Peavy early when Benson and Parmelee each reached base to start the first and second innings respectively, but the offense was unable to take advantage.

Benson walked to start the first, and Plouffe followed by grounding into a fielder's choice. Plouffe then stole second, but Joe Mauer struck out swinging and Danny Valencia popped out to end the inning.

Parmelee tallied the first his of his major league career to start the second, but the rally slowed when Luke Hughes lined out to short for the first out. Rene Tosoni then struck out swinging, and after Brian Dinkelman singled to right, Rene Rivera flew out to left for the third out.

"We've been kind of fighting it offensively, and most of the time it's due to good pitching on the other side," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "So we have to keep coming back out and working and getting after the game, and hopefully tomorrow we'll come and find a way to put some runs up there, because our pitching actually in this series has been pretty good. So we have to match up to our pitching."

Numbers game

8: Players in the Twins' lineup, including Hendriks, who started the season in the minor leagues.

4/7/99: The last time the Twins had three players make their major league debut in the same game -- relievers Mike Lincoln, Joe Mays and Dan Perkins.

1986: The last time any team had three players make their major league debuts in the same lineup, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The San Diego Padres started four first-timers -- Randy Asadoor, Gary Green, Tim Pyznarski and Benito Santiago on Sept. 14, 1986.

14: Strikeouts by White Sox pitchers.

8: Pitches seen by Benson in his first plate appearance -- a walk. "The only thing I was really planning on was not swinging at the first pitch; taking one. But right before, the catcher Flowers said, 'Congratulations on getting called up,' and I said, 'Thank you. Everything is moving a million miles an hour right now.' He said, 'It's the same game, treat it that way.' ... (On) 3-1, I was kind of predetermined -- I had pretty big plans for that baseball, and it didn't go too far. I swung through it. But I fouled off a couple more, got a 3-2 changeup and got a walk."

Overheard

"This is an audition, so I mean, if I keep doing well then we'll see what happens from there. There's a lot of guys hurt, and I'm not expecting to be in the lineup next year, but we'll see how it goes."
-- Hendriks

"They were from the on-deck circle to home plate, but once I stepped in the box and looked at the pitcher, kind of everything went away."
-- Parmelee, when asked if his nerves were twitching a bit before his first major league at-bat.

Health report

• LHP Francisco Liriano (shoulder discomfort) played long toss Tuesday and "felt very good," according to head athletic trainer Rick McWane, and he will likely throw a bullpen later in the week.

• RHP Scott Baker (elbow) came in sore on Tuesday, so the Twins backed up his scheduled bullpen session by a day or two. They will evaluate him again Wednesday.

• LHP Brian Duensing (strained oblique) is "pain free with all exercise," McWane said, and he will likely be cleared to throw before the end of the week.

• 1B Justin Morneau (mild concussion symptoms) worked out indoors Tuesday, and he could take full batting practice with the team on Wednesday. Morneau must be cleared by Major League Baseball to return to action, because he was sidelined with concussion symptoms.

• LHP Glen Perkins (forearm discomfort) threw a successful bullpen Tuesday and will be available again starting Wednesday.

• OF Denard Span (migraine/concussion symptoms) went through a full workout on Tuesday, per McWane, and he will be re-evaluated Wednesday.

On deck

The series concludes Wednesday (7:10 p.m., 1500 ESPN) when right-hander Carl Pavano (7-11, 4.60) takes on left-hander John Danks (6-10, 4.01).

Pavano has pitched extremely well in his two starts against the White Sox this season, going the full nine on June 15 while allowing only one run, and pitching seven strong on July 7, allowing only two runs. And despite striking out only 4.03 batters per nine innings, Pavano ranks among the American League's top worm killers this season, inducing 50.2% groundballs. The problem, of course, is suspect infield defense behind him.

Danks is coming off a start in Detroit where he allowed eight earned runs in 4 2/3 innings on Sept. 2, but prior to that he had allowed only four earned runs combined over his previous three starts. In his only start against the Twins this season, Danks allowed three earned runs on eight hits in eight innings on May 4, walking three while striking out nobody.

Coming up

• Thursday: Off day
• Friday: @ Detroit, 6:05 p.m. RHP Kevin Slowey (0-4, 5.31) vs. RHP Brad Penny (9-10, 5.13)
• Saturday: @ Detroit, 3:10 p.m. RHP Anthony Swarzak (3-6, 3.95) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (14-8, 4.33)

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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