Snowstorm saves Minnesota relievers

Posted: Monday, April 25, 2005

DETROIT (AP) — Minnesota's overworked bullpen got a couple days off, and the Twins' starters never had to throw a single pitch.

Minnesota and the Detroit Tigers were snowed out for the second straight day Sunday, an unexpected but welcome respite for the Twins' trio of star relievers.

Juan Rincon, J.C. Romero and closer Joe Nathan have combined for a 3-1 record with a 0.79 ERA so far, helping Minnesota weather a fast start by division rivals, the Chicago White Sox.

The three pitchers also combined for 23 appearances in the Twins' first 16 games, something manager Ron Gardenhire took into consideration during Friday night's 5-4 10-inning loss to Detroit.

After Carlos Silva went seven strong innings in his return from the disabled list, Gardenhire opted to go with veteran left-hander Terry Mulholland in a tie game instead of wearing out his late-inning specialists. Mulholland allowed Carlos Guillen's RBI single in the eighth, and then wasted a game-tying homer by Justin Morneau when he surrendered a game-ending home run to Ivan Rodriguez in the bottom of the 10th.

''We had to do what we had to do and have Terry try to shut them down,'' Gardenhire said. ''It didn't work.''

Mulholland, who had pitched seven innings over four games, was well-rested but ineffective. He allowed six baserunners in two-plus innings, including Rodriguez's line drive into the right-field stands.

''That was supposed to be a cut fastball inside and it didn't get there,'' Mulholland said.

The homer snapped the Tigers' nine-game losing streak against the Twins. Detroit is just 20-59 against Minnesota since 2001.

''That's a good win. It didn't come easy,'' Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. ''But it never does against that team.''

The teams are scheduled to play Monday afternoon to make up for Saturday's postponement, with Minnesota's Brad Radke going against Detroit's Jason Johnson. A makeup date for Sunday's game was not immediately known.

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