Kevin Slowey was magnificent in spring training, but once the games actually counted, he seemed to lose the momentum he had gained in camp.
In both of his first two starts, Slowey gave up five runs while failing to record an out past the sixth inning.
After watching tape of his second start, Slowey worked to correct a mechanical flaw he had found and the results were nearly instantaneous.
After shutting down his second opponent in a row on Saturday, Slowey looks every bit the pitcher who cleaned up in the Grapefruit League.
A night after Nick Blackburn held the Cleveland Indians to one run in seven innings of work, Slowey did just a little better.
His eight innings of shutout ball was spoiled when Louis Ayala allowed a run to score after Slowey had loaded the bases in the top of the ninth.
Still his line of 8IP, 8H, ER, 7K, 0BB was more than enough to lead the Twins to a 7-1 win over the Tribe.
Slowey did exactly what he needed to do in this game to keep the Indians from scoring. He threw first pitch strikes to the majority of hitters, kept the basepaths clear, and when he did give up hits, they tended to come with two outs.
The offense certainly didn't squander Slowey's work. Led by Jason Kubel's two home runs, the offense pounded Indians starter Carl Pavano and the rest of the Indians pitchers.
The Twins 3-4-5 hitters went a combined 7-for-15 with four RBI and four runs scored to lead the attack, and Joe Crede added his second home run of the year as every Twins hitter, save Denard Span, had a hit.
After trailing in each of their first 16 games, the Twins have led both of their last two games wire-to-wire. Tomorrow, Glen Perkins will try to push the Twins over the .500 mark for the first time since they were 3-2 in early April.
Perkins has been the Twins' best pitcher so far this season, but tomorrow will be a big test for him. Last season, Perkins was good at the Dome, but his ERA rose by nearly a run and a half to 5.13 on road trips.
A strong outing from Perkins at Progressive Field would bode well for the rest of his season and help the Twins toward their second sweep of the season.