"It was just one of those days. Every game I've been throwing, I feel good throwing the ball," Silva said. "Today, I was fighting to make my pitches. I wasn't feeling too comfortable today."And after Ramon Ortiz gave up one run in the sixth, the Twins found themselves looking at an 8-0 deficit. That type of hole is huge for any club, no matter what type of pitching they're facing or if they know that pitcher well. Despite the Twins' lack of history with the Nationals, the team had a good idea about what kind of stuff their starter would throw. Washington's journeyman starter, Jason Simontacchi, spent the 2001 season in the Twins organization, pitching for the club's then Triple-A affiliate, Edmonton. The club might have known the type of stuff Simontacchi delivered, but they struggled to capitalize on any of it. While the Twins tagged Simontacchi (3-4) for four runs later in his 7 2/3 innings, including a three-run homer by Jason Kubel in the seventh, it was a tale of too little, too late. "Eight runs, the game was out of hand," Torii Hunter said. "Really, we just got beat today. We figured him out late and tried to come back, but it just didn't work out." Though it wasn't the type of end result the Twins were hoping for in Mauer's return, the club did see a positive in the catcher's performance. Mauer recorded just the one hit, but Gardenhire was pleased with the swings the catcher put on the ball. "I thought he'd be rusty," Gardenhire said with a smile. "I told him, 'Your swing will come back to you. Just keep swinging, Joe.' I think he had five at-bats and five line drives. That's just a normal night for Joe. "For most of us, after you're out five weeks, it'd be a little tougher. But he sure put some good swings on the ball. And that's a good thing to see."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.