E-Twins have tough time with BriSox

By Marvin Birchfield
star staff
mbirchfield@starhq.com

  BRISTOL -- As if Monday's night game against Bristol wasn't disappointing enough, the outing for the Twins on Tuesday didn't get any more promising, with Elizabethton dropping its second straight game in a 13-2 final.
  It's still very early in the season, but the Twins' handle on things seem to be at a distance for the moment.
  "We're going to be on the receiving end of these, which is never fun, but the good thing about it is that it only counts as one loss, and the sun will come up tomorrow and three billion Chinese will have never heard about this game," said Twins manager Ray Smith. "We have to come back and apply what we've learned from this, and see that it doesn't happen again."
  Elizabethton struggled from the mound early on, as pitcher John Williams didn't get the performance he was hoping for in his first career start as a Twin.
  Williams gave up seven hits and six runs during the first two frames, with the first score coming off sacrifice fly from Mike Gulan, driving home Jose De Los Sota.
  Troubles continued to persist for Williams in the bottom of the second, when the White Sox combined for five hits along with five runs.
  A two-run double by Gulan drove in De Los Santos and Javier Castillo to give Bristol a 6-0 lead after two frames.
  "The guys are playing real well in swinging the bat, and we've had two well-pitched ball games now, and you can't beat that," said White Sox manager Jerry Hairston. "It's just a matter of guys getting their feet wet. They've been good ball players to attract major league ball clubs to them, so it's a matter of getting their feet wet for their talent to come out."
  The Twins answered with a run in the top of the third when two walks and a bunt by Luke Hughes loaded the bases.
  The right fielder, Deacon Burns, was struck by a pitch thrown from Yunior Novoa, bringing home a run for Elizabethton.
  With bases still loaded, the first-baseman David Winfree grounded to Santos, and a flip to second base and throw to first finished a double-play.
  A fielder's choice from Garrett Guess brought in Jeff Schmidt in the bottom of the third, and a passed ball enabled Castillo to come in during the fourth to give Bristol a comfortable lead of 8-1.
  Missed opportunities for Elizabethton haunted it in the fifth and sixth frames, as each time it connected for a couple of hits, but never was able to bring the runner on base home.
  "We weren't very efficient -- we had 10 hits and scored just two runs, while they had 16 hits and scored 13 runs," said Smith. "We left a lot of guys on base and we didn't hit the ball that hard, but we did get 10 hits, so we wasn't very efficient."
  The White Sox added to their advantage in the fifth, when De Los Santos connected for his fourth hit, as he went perfect at bat on the night.
  The hit scored Fransisco Hernandez and a field and throw from relief pitcher Evan Meek went past the first-baseman to allow Guess to come home also.
  After a sacrifice fly by Castillo to right field, which scored Evan Tartaglia, Bristol had built an enormous advantage of 11-1 by the end of the fifth frame.
  Meek had come in to replace Williams after the second frame, but his three innings of output was not any more stable, as he gave up six hits and five runs.
  "It all starts with the pitching, because if we have a guy that gets ahead of the count and throws strikes when guys are on base, then our hitting will eventually come around, but it all starts with pitching," said Smith.
  Possibly the best play of the night from the Twins came in the bottom of the sixth. That's when third-baseman Jay Yaconetti made a great diving snag down the third-base line and recovered for a throw to first and out to Manuel Rodriguez.
  "I think a lot of times we're trying to do too much and win our position to show the coaches what we can do, but it would be nice for all of us to get on a roll and start winning as a team," said Yaconetti. "It's a bummer, but we're a good team and we will come around."
  Elizabethton was able to capture its second run of the evening in the top of the seventh, as pinch-hitter Patrick Ortiz, who went two for two on the night at the plate, smacked a double to left field. A ground single to the shortstop from Winfree scored Ortiz, but this was only run the Twins managed to score for the remainder of the contest.
  Bristol added two more runs in the bottom of the eighth after a wild pitch from Kris Lankford scored Gulan and a hit up the middle by Dustin Shefer drove in Rodriguez.
  "Anytime you can get the lead and draw first blood it's a good thing, and then we got what we needed with the pitching going back out and shutting them down," said Hairston. "It's always good to hear your team talking about baseball and what they want to accomplish out here."