The last time Nick Blackburn pitched in US Cellular Field, it was game 163 and he took the loss, despite pitching as well as the Twins could possibly have hoped.
Sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Blackburn pitched well in his second start of the season, going six innings and allowing just seven baserunners. A two-run home run by Jim Thome, whose solo shot was the only blemish on Blackburn's record in the one game playoff, accounted for most of the runs scored against Blackburn on Sunday, as well.
The Twins had defensive struggles once again, but, perhaps surprisingly, Delmon Young was not involved. Michael Cuddyer had a pair of errors, the first of which lead to a run, and the normally sure-handed Nick Punto had the third Twins error of the game.
Still, as in Saturday's game, the mistakes in the field and the home runs allowed by the pitching staff could have been mitigated if the offense hadn't been completely stymied.
Mark Buehrle wasn't particularly effective, throwing a lot of pitches, but managing to get the outs when he needed to.
After Friday's 12-run outburst, the Twins managed just one run in the rest of the series, a Delmon Young home run. The Twins managed just four hits besides Young's home run, and advanced just two runners into scoring position.
While there's nothing to say this series would have swung in the Twins' direction had their all-star catcher been behind the plate, the top of the order went 3-for-12 on Sunday, bringing their weekend total to a paltry 3-for-21, something Mauer would have improved substantially.
The Twins wrapped up their first week without Joe Mauer just one game under .500, but the long month of April is just beginning. Despite having all seven games at home, the Twins have struggled against the Blue Jays and Angels recently, and will have no time to regroup if they start on a skid.
While the Twins will have to wait to see Mauer back in his pads, they will get ace right-hander Scott Baker back from his shoulder injury. Baker pitched very well in his rehab stint, so the Twins are certainly eager to see what he can do against a big league lineup.
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