Opponent: Detroit Tigers
Starting Pitcher: Liriano
Final Score: W 2-1
Recap: Wow. That was really quite a game. It was my last Twins game of the season (barring any unforeseen circumstances, such as free tickets being mailed to me anonymously), and it was one of the better games of the season in my opinion. It also proves I'm not totally cursed, which I was beginning to fear after my jaunt to Texas. The pitching was just phenomenal, there was some great defense, and a walk-off hit as the cherry on top.
Liriano and Scherzer were both at the top of their games tonight. Liriano struck out 7 over 7 innings, allowing no runs and just 5 hits. He was helped out a couple of times when his defense doubled off runners at 1st base. Delmon Young made a running catch and threw to 1st for the force out, and then Hardy did the same on a line drive that he snared. But although Liriano was good, Scherzer was even better. He pitched 9 innings with just the 1 earned run, which came after a double by Skinny Delmon, a single by Valencia and then a sac fly by Morales (at which point Valencia continued the trend of being doubled off 1st when Jackson made a great catch). Scherzer allowed only 4 hits and struck out 9. Honestly, I felt bad for him; he really deserved to win the game with the way he was pitching.
While Scherzer pitched the first 9 innings, the Twins ran through their bullpen. Crain got 1 out in the 8th but also allowed a single. He was taken out when Damon was announced as a pinch-hitter, and Flores came in to get the next out. Then Guerrier was brought in to finish the inning, but he walked Cabrera before giving up a single to tie the game. Matt Capps came in for the 9th inning. He allowed a lead-off walk to Santiago (Tiger tiger!) before striking out the next 2 batters. Santiago attempted to steal 2nd with 2 outs, and he was thrown out on a great throw by Mauer. The ball reached Hardy at exactly the height to tag Santiago in the crotch, and it looked like the tag was applied right as his foot reached the bag. It was an extremely close play that went our way.
The Tigers had a little less luck in the bottom of the 10th. Perry came in to relieve Scherzer. Cuddyer reached base with a lead-off single that just barely made it between the 3rd baseman and the shortstop. Skinny Delmon worked the count full, and Gardy sent Cuddyer on the 3-2 pitch. It was fouled off. The next pitch he sent him again, and again it was fouled off. Finally Perry struck out Young with Cuddyer running on the pitch again. The catcher threw extremely high to 2nd, but somehow their 2nd baseman Will Rhymes (I really like this name by the way) managed to leap up, catch the ball, twist, and apply the tag to Cuddyer on the way down. I couldn't see much at the game because of where I was sitting, and when I watched it on TV at home it initially didn't look very close. However on the replay it was clear that the tag was applied right as Cuddyer reached 2nd. In this case he was ruled safe, and he ended up scoring the winning run when Valencia hit the walk-off single. It was only our second walk-off hit at Target Field. Not bad for a rookie. Anyway, it was an awesome game, and a pretty good game to end my in-person games with.
I know I've mentioned this before, but if you haven't seen it when you're at Target Field, you must make sure to check out the creepy water tower on a building behind the parking ramp with the wind veil on it once it gets dark. I don't know who owns it and who operates it, but there are lights used to project a face on it. It can scare the shit out of you the first time you notice it. At least it can scare the shit out of my; I'm not exactly renowned for my bravery. It was doing some sort of Exorcist head spin thing, as well as winking at me. I don't really enjoy feeling like I'm being hit on my inanimate objects. My parents have a mounted deer head in their house that leers at me in a similar way (I may be a tiny bit paranoid; just a tiny bit). Admittedly the water tower does have its charms; it did have some pretty rainbow colored ribbons at one point and a smoking baseball, but the face is too much.
Best Moment: Walk-off win!
Most Questionable Moment: Wait just a second here, Valencia gets a pie in the face, and it's actually made of whipped cream?!?! Where is the shaving cream? I demand to know why seasoned veteran, hug-happy, and all-around great guy Jim Thome was assaulted by eye-irritating shaving cream after his walk-off homer while Valencia was given the red-carpet treatment of an actually edible pie! And then Valencia had the nerve to complain about it. I am outraged! Outraged, I tell you!
Worst Moment: Guerrier giving up the hit that tied the game.
Quotations of the Day:
- "My first walk-off hit in pro baseball. It was nice for it to come in a situation like this." - Danny Valencia
- "It was one of the best games I've thrown in the big leagues, and it doesn't feel right. We didn't win. I'm so tied to how this team does and my teammates. When we don't come away with wins, it doesn't feel right. That's what kind of stinks about it. Even though I threw the ball well, we didn't win." - Max Scherzer
Suck-Ass Performance of the Game: Matt Guerrier (1 hit, 1 walk, 1 blown save). Yeah, it wasn't technically his run, but I definitely blame him for letting the game get tied up.