New York- One bad inning was all the Minnesota Twins (41-33) needed to shutout the New York Mets (42-32) by the score of 6-0 in Saturday afternoon baseball at Citi Field. The Twins snapped a season-long four-game losing streak, as the Mets have been shut out four different times this season.
The top of the first inning was that one inning as the scored four runs off Mets starter Johan Santana and never looked back as starter Carl Pavano (9-6) went the distance in his second-complete game. The last time Pavano had a complete-game shutout was on June 5, 2009 against the Chicago White Sox. The former Yankee starter struck out four batters while only giving up one walk in the victory. Santana (5-5) allowed five runs for the fourth straight start, and has still not defeated his former team.
“They (the Twins) came out early and put some good at bats on him (Santana) early in the game,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “I thought he made some nice adjustments, he had to use his slider today due to so many lefties in the lineup today and it is a pitch that he can now use to get outs on a consistent basis.”
Double plays along with some key doubles led to the victory for Minnesota as Orlando Hudson got the game going in the top of the first with a two base hit to center field. Joe Mauer laced a single to center field to plate the speedy Hudson to make the score 1-0 Twins. Later in the inning Michael Cuddyer worked the walk to set the stage for Jason Keble who hit a ground rule double (11) down the left field line going into the stands which plated the second Minnesota run. Delmon Young followed up with a double (19) to center field, which made the score 4-0 Twins.
“It was the line drives and double plays that hurt us offensively” Manuel said. “We hit it hard but they were able to make the plays behind Pavano, who pitched very well today.” He would continue by saying, “All of Johan’s starts are usually different as he starts against the other teams’ aces, and there are a lot of good pitchers in MLB this season.”
In the bottom of the second inning the Mets would try to strike back as Ike Davis worked a walk. Unfortunately for the 37,510 fans in attendance Jason Bay would hit a screaming line drive right to shortstop Nick Punto, who turned the six-six-three double play. The first of two for the Twins, as Punto would turn the second double play in the bottom of the third as Cora would pop up to the shortstop, who would throw out Francoeur at first.
Punto would continue his fine day by starting the top of the fourth inning with a single to right field. Carl Pavano laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runner to second for Denard Span who placed a double to right field (12), Span who plated the fifth run.
The Mets would try to get a rally going again in the bottom of the fifth inning. After a strikeout to Davis and a Bay fly out to right field, back-to-back hits by Rod Barajas, who is returning from a bad back and Jeff Francoeur set the stage for Alex Cora. The rally would soon end as Cora hit a ground ball for the final out.
Minnesota would add the last run in the top of the ninth inning as Mets manager Jerry Manuel called for relief pitcher Fernando Nieve who gave up a home run to Jason Kubel (10) who lifted a 1-0 over the wall in right field.
Pavano who looked as sharp in throwing 110 pitches, with 75 of were in the strike zone, came out in the bottom of the ninth inning and sat the Mets down in order to end the game, and secure the complete-game shutout bid.
These two teams will face each other again in the rubber game on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. as Scott Baker (6-6, 4.61 ERA) takes on Jonathon Niese (4-2, 4.17 ERA)
This story originally posted on www.latinosports.com