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Unacceptable pitching, Terrible call blows Twins' huge lead

By Josh Gloe

Through the top of the third inning, the Twins had a ten-run lead. Kubel hit a three-run home run. Morneau blasted two of them, one a grand slam and the other another Twins' three-run homer. In all he drove in a total of seven runs, usually enough in itself to pull off a solid victory. Everything was going great - Minnesota was up by ten, the score 12-2 after two and a half innings. Surely this would be enough, right?

I thought it was, because I settled down for an early night, confident that a ten-run lead would be more than enough. I slept well with that in mind.

When I logged on to twinsbaseball.com this morning, I was, needless to say, remarkably shocked. The first thing I thought was, "this is unacceptable!" From the beginning of the season I disliked our pitching in all, especially our bullpen. Honestly, I was quite surprised, though, that it was Slowey who gave up seven of the fourteen total runs that the A's scored. I expected that Slowey would have held up an at-the-very-least average start and the bullpen would have blown the rest of the game. But don't worry, there's still no need to count on the bullpen to pick up the game and hold on. No, they still had their chance to blow the game, and they did so, giving up seven more runs through the eighth inning.

After the eighth inning the game soared beyond frustrating into ridiculous insanity. Twins fans at this point are already ticked beyond measure at their pitching staff and biting their nails hoping for a comeback. Such a rally was in reach when Cuddyer doubled with two outs. Kubel was walked intentionally and Delmon Young, one of the most annoying Twins this year when it comes to performance, stepped in the batters box. To the relief of many Twins fans, he didn't have to do much at all in this gut-wrenchingly suspenseful situation. All he had to do was wave his little arms at Cuddyer, frantically shouting for him to come home. Yes, the worst of the A's fears were acted upon by their pitcher Michael Weurtz, who threw a wild pitch. Catcher Kurt Suzuki then helped the Twins even more by closing his eyes and not looking for the ball - or about the equivalent of that. He couldn't find the ball for a few seconds: a few seconds that could have ruined the game for the Athletics, who were up by just one run, Cuddyer sprinting home as the tying run. Kubel would have been the go-ahead run in scoring position had Cuddyer scored.

He didn't. Or more accurately, he did, but it was not acknowledged by home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski, who pumped his clenched fist into the Oakland night air, calling Cuddyer OUT at home, abruptly ending the tumultuous game.

As he should have, as the Twins fans at home were doing, Cuddyer screamed his negative thoughts about the controversial, ridiculous call at the face of Muchlinski, the now-Oakland-loved, Minnesota-hated home plate blue. Well, it is quite evident that he "blue" the call. Replays and photos across the internet and television show that Cuddyer not only made it to home plate before the tag was applied, but he also slid under the glove of Weurtz, who was covering home plate, well before the tag was applied.

After the game, Gardenhire, in his usual drawling, mumbling tone, stated that the call did not blow the game. It was the pitching. Either way, it was terrible pitching and an unacceptable call (or unacceptable pitching and a terrible call) that ruined what could have been a great victory for the Minnesota Twins in Oakland.

Many teams and people still find promise in Delmon Young. Why not trade him for some pitching before the deadline? For Twins fans and management, this should be the last straw. Pitching this bad should not be tolerated, and clearly the consequences are extremely disappointing.

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