Twins' hot streak continues

By Allen LaMountain
ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR
alamountain@starhq.com

   NASA's Mission Control may have to relocate from Houston, Tx. to Joe O'Brien Field if the Twins continue to launch the kind of rockets they blasted on Monday night in a 12-6 rout of the Bristol White Sox.
   Doug Deeds went deep twice, while Inocencio "Sandy" Hiraldo and Edgardo LeBron each touched them all once as 'Betsy unleashed a 15-hit attack on three Sox hurlers.
   Deeds, who has swung a hot bat of late, drove in three runs on the night.
   He said of his long ball explosion: "He was trying to get inside with a fastball the first time, and tried to get me on a changeup the second time. This is my first multi-homer game. I just try to stay within myself and try to help the ballclub."
   The Twins (7-7) reached the .500 mark with the win and have won four straight, while Bristol is spiraling toward Appalachian League oblivion at 3-10.
   Bad-luck starter Josh Rupe lasted just two and two-thirds frames and saw his ERA skyrocket to 21.34 as the Twins touched Rupe for 10 runs on 10 hits, and to make matters worse for Rupe, all the runs were earned.
   What made it even more unlucky for Rupe is that his team gave him a two-run lead to work with as the Sox got to Twins hurler Tim Henkenjohann (2-1, 3.88) for single runs in the first and second innings before the 'Betsy bats came alive.
   With the Twins trailing 2-0, Deeds jumped on an inside delivery from Rupe and put it over the fence in right to cut the lead to 2-1.
   Justin Sims singled and Daniel Marin drew a walk to bring Edgardo LeBron to the dish. LeBron's sharp single to left plated Sims and tied the game at 2-2, but the damage to Rupe's earned run average was just beginning as Hiraldo put a charge into the ball, sending over the right-center field fence to stake the Twins to a 5-2 lead.
   "Hiraldo has some sting in his bat," commented Twins manager Ray Smith. "He just has to clean up his approach to hitting to get more efficient. Deeds was seeing the ball real well tonight."
   'Betsy put another five spot on the board in the third against the beleaguered Rupe as Deeds once again led off the stanza with a homer. A Marin single and an RBI double by Hiraldo made it a 7-2 contest, and after a walk and two hit batsmen, Dusty Gomon dropped a 2-RBI single to left to make it a 10-2 ball game after three innings.
   "We are very short of pitching right now," said Sox manager Nick Leyva. "That's why I left (Rupe) him in there as long as I did. I was really needing him to go five innings, but I couldn't leave him out there any longer."
   Sox relievers Garron McGary and Matt Payne did a solid job of holding down the Twins over the last six and one-third frames that they pitched. McGary went three and one-third innings, giving up one run on four hits while striking out six and walking two.
   "I though McGary did well," said Leyva. "He settled in and gave quality innings, but I probably can't use him for another three or four days now, so that makes us even thinner on the hill."
   In the sixth, Henkenjohann faded as Darren Ciraco and Chris Stewart reached on singles before Mike Bohlander smacked a three-run blast over the left field fence to cut 'Betsy's lead to 10-5, and forced Smith to call on his bullpen for Janewrys Simon. Simon fanned Anthony Webster to end the frame.
   Simon pitched two and one-third innings in what was his best showing of the season, giving up no runs on no hits and though he did walk three batters, he also struck three batters out.
   "I felt good tonight," said Simon. "I'm working on my control to cut down on the walks. I need to get my control better on my off-speed pitches."
   Hiraldo, who has started just six games before Monday night, broke out of his slump in a big way, raising his batting average to .304 from a .167 mark coming into the game. Hiraldo finished four-for-five with a home run, a double, two singles and four RBI.
   "I felt relaxed tonight. I used my hands better," said Hiraldo. "I hit two home runs last year, but I just take them when they happen."
   Henkenjohann lasted five and two-thirds surrendering five runs (four earned) on six hits, while walking four and striking out five. Smith said of his performance: "He was near or right at his pitch count, so I'm sure he got a little tired. He just tried to throw a too good pitch and ended up hanging a breaking ball."
   Justin Keeling gave up a run in the ninth but hung on to preserve the win.
   E-Twins notes: LeBron had a good game at the dish, going two-for-five with two RBI, and LF Garrett Guzman had two more hits, which sees his average climb to .283 after a slow start.
   Gomon got his league-leading 19th hit and two more ribbies to give him a team-leading 13.
   'Betsy goes for the sweep tonight and to tack win number five onto this win streak. LHP Jared Hemus and Chad Pylate were promoted to Quad-Cities while Nick Niedbalski was put on the 7-day disabled list.