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Bullpen saves the Twins

Amid all the talk about the game's best fielding team imploding when it meant the most, came sounds that ended up being closer to the truth.

First baseman Doug Mientkiewicz mentioned before the game started that the strength of the Central Division champion Twins was their pitching, relief pitching in particular.

"We wouldn't be here without them," he said matter-of-factly.

Oakland led 5-1 after two innings, thanks to bungled throws and missed pop flies. But they didn't score again. Only in the ninth inning was it close.

Instead, the live arms of starter Brad Radke and relievers Johan Santana, then J.C. Romero, then Eddie Guardado gave Minnesota a chance. With two walks, Eddie caused some heart palpitations in the ninth, but he closed it out.

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All throw in the low- to mid-90's, with nasty changups and tight-breaking curves to boot.

In the end, they were a mismatch to a pretty good hitting Oakland team.

The Twins might not survive this best-of-five series, but for a day it had that championship feeling.

Tim Grice

grice@postbulletin.com

Hey Bud: Contract the A's!

More than 13,000 seats remained empty Monday at Network Associates Coliseum for the first game of Oakland's playoff series with the Twins. Maybe Bud Selig should consider the A's for contraction.

Ken Hanson

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kenhanson@postbulletin.com

Twins: No experience necessary

Jitters? You betcha.

The Twins looked tighter than Britney Spears' jeans in the first couple of innings against Oakland Tuesday.

Did it matter? Nope. They find ways to win, this group of characters that are sure to be embraced with unbridled enthusiasm when they return to Minnesota.

Playoff baseball. Gotta love it. A win sure feels good, doesn't it?

Steve Webb

webb@postbulletin.com

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Win guarantees Dome will be rockin' for Games 3 (and 4?)

The Twins showed they have what it takes on Tuesday to make a playoff push. They didn't let a terrible start doom them in the series opener against Oakland. They showed character in overcoming three early errors and a 5-1 deficit. The bats and the bullpen helped save the day.

The Twins have proven they can play with the A's. They did it during the regular season in Oakland, too, they just couldn't close out games in the ninth inning.

With one win in Oakland the Twins have also guaranteed the Metrodome will be rocking when the series shifts to Minnesota for Game 3 on Friday.

Guy N. Limbeck

glimbeck@postbulletin.com

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