By Joe Christensen
Juan Rincon’s teammates were calling him “The Vulture” late Tuesday night, and that could only mean one thing: Rincon pitched one inning in this 10-inning battle and swooped in to get the win. Boof Bonser remains winless in seven starts, despite a 3.96 ERA. Rincon (2-0 with a 2.02 ERA) has two wins in his past six appearances.
The Vulture nickname has been passed from reliever to reliever over the years. Last year, Dennys Reyes was 5-0. In 2005, Jesse Crain was 12-5. In 2004, Rincon was 11-6. In 2003, LaTroy Hawkins was 9-3. In 2002, Tony Fiore was 10-3 in what truly was a Hall of Fame Vulture year.
“As a bullpen, we’re just trying to get the team the win,” Rincon said. “We want to hold leads and keep our team in the game.”
The point is, this was another good bullpen win for the Twins. Bonser goes seven. Matt Guerrier pitches a scoreless eighth, Joe Nathan a scoreless ninth, and Rincon a scoreless 10th. Rincon said his elbow, which has been sore of late, really responded. Afterward, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen lamented the way his team squandered a 4-1 eighth-inning lead.
“That’s the kind of game we’ve got to win, especially with the kind of bullpen we have,” he said. “Their bullpen came in and did the job, and ours didn’t.”
(Note: Great responses to the A.J. inquiry. Once again, the fans here booed him all night.)