Another run scored in the fifth on a two-out Justin Morneau RBI single. Jason Bartlett added his first home run of the season in the ninth and Cuddyer added yet another RBI to his daily total with a run-scoring single that same inning.It was the kind of offensive output the team needed after so much strife on the trip. The eight runs nearly equaled the team's entire offensive output during the first five games of the road trip (nine runs). "I think guys were starting to get frustrated," catcher Mike Redmond said of the offensive woes. "When you were going as good as we were before heading on the road and you run into a couple buzz saws of pitching, guys get frustrated and get down. It's the nature of the game. "Last night was tough and we could have easily come in feeling sorry for ourselves and let them crush us today. But instead, we went out and battled against a good pitcher and scraped out a win." The team had held a pregame meeting before its final game of the road trip to preach the importance of making it a team game and not an individual one, and the win really did come as a total team effort. The offensive output helped lift Kevin Slowey to his first Major League win. Making just his second career start, the rookie right-hander had managed to put the club in yet another early hole, giving up four runs over his first three innings. Some strong plays by the defense behind him helped make sure that damage didn't extend further over the next few innings. Though Slowey (1-0) gave up one more homer to the only batter he faced in the sixth, it was overall a solid outing -- five-plus innings, 10 hits and four earned runs. "He gave us a good effort," Gardenhire said. "He had a lot of confidence out on the mound. He gave us a chance, and it was sure good to get him his first win."
"They certainly tagged me for their share of hits today, but I kind of stayed clear of any huge problems by avoiding some walks," Slowey said.But even more impressive was the display the bullpen put on once Slowey left the game. Matt Guerrier, Carmen Cali, Pat Neshek and Joe Nathan combined for four scoreless innings while not allowing a hit. Nathan also picked up his 13th save of the season. Now, the club hopes to carry that spark back to the Metrodome. "It's been a rough road trip for us, but to pick up some momentum going into the off-day and Interleague Play was big for us," Cuddyer said. "Now, hopefully we can just sustain that momentum."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less