Minnesota Twins-Seattle Mariners: No Relief For the Visitors

Dan WadeSenior Analyst IApril 8, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 6:  Alexi Casilla #25 of the Minnesota Twins reacts after singling in the first inning against the Seattle Mariners on Opening Day at the Metrodome on April 6, 2009 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images)

The first 8.2 innings of Tuesday's game looked much like Monday's disappointing opening to the season.

But the Twins are nothing if not opportunist, so when Brandon Morrow seemed to lose his sense of where the plate was, the Twins made him pay for it.

Carlos Gomez came to the plate with two already out in the inning. Had this situation occurred last year, Gomez would have approached the situation by trying to hit a three-run home run regardless of the fact that there was no one on.

He'd probably have struck out on three, maybe four, pitches and the Twins would have fallen to 0-2.

Credit to Gomez, who has shown much better plate discipline thus far in 2009, for drawing the first of three walks in the inning and keeping the game alive.

With Gomez on second base, Ron Gardenhire pulled his catcher for a pinch-hitter, despite having more or less no back-up ready to play.

Jason Kubel drew his walk, as did Brian Buscher, who got his first AB of the season with two on, two out, in the bottom of the ninth in a two run game.

Not exactly the situations you prepare for in Spring Training, is it Buscher?

With the bases loaded, Denard Span nearly ended up as the goat, but beat out an infield single to third to cut the deficit to one.

Alexi Casilla, hitless in four previous at bats on the evening, jumped on the first fastball he saw from Miguel Batista and roped it into right-center to plate pinch-runner Harris and Buscher to complete the Twins' comeback.

Eric Bedard outdueled Nick Blackburn for five innings before being let down by Morrow and Batista, though neither starter gave their team a quality start.

The middle relief for both teams was quite good. The bullpens combined for six innings of one-hit ball before the ninth inning in which four runs were scored, but just three hits were recorded.

The Twins have now used every reliever in their bullpen, save closer Joe Nathan and Brian Duensing. Fortunately, Kevin Slowey takes the hill against former Twin Carlos Silva. Slowey was outstanding this spring, so he should be able to go deep into the game and take some of the pressure off the rest of the relief corps.