Opponent: Kansas City Royals
Starting Pitcher: Baker
Final Score: W 4-2
Recap: Desperate times call for desperate measures, right? I clearly needed to do something to rescue the Twins from this fall swoon. So naturally I drove to Kansas City to go to the game. It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it. Haha. And obviously I was good luck as we broke our 5-game losing streak and salvaged a win out of the road trip.
I love going to Kauffmann Stadium. It's a beautiful stadium, open and spacious (and I love the fountains). All the people there are super friendly (both fans and employees), and it's certainly a lot easier and cheaper to get tickets than at Target Field. Add in my relatives in the area (free lodging) and the relative closeness of Kansas City, and you've got the perfect baseball road trip.
Anyway, it was a lot of fun, although I'm so glad we finally won. I was sitting by an extremely chatty Massachusetts-born Yankees fan who apparently enjoys seeing various baseball stadiums in his work travels. He'd been to Yankees Stadium once, but won't go back because of the price. He also said he was perfectly happy to see the Yankees get their asses handed to them by whomever they play in the playoffs (you and me both, sir).
Scott Baker of all people finally gave the Twins a non-fuckterrible performance by a starting pitcher. I can't rain superlatives down on his head because it was a nerve-wracking 5 innings, but it was way better than anything else we've received on the road trip. He threw 100 pitches in those innings, almost half of which were strikes, and he seemed to runners in scoring position every inning. There were lots of fouls and full counts, but damn if he didn't strike out 9. I was fairly impressed. It wasn't pretty, but it worked (cue questions of whether Baker should take Blackburn's position as the 4th playoff starter). He allowed 2 runs in the 2nd, off a solo home run and a couple of hits.
The Twins offense was putting plenty of runners on base, but we couldn't seem to get any clutch hits. Finally in the 6th Valencia and Repko got on base with a hit and a walk, and Drew Butera (wait, what?) came threw with a single to score the first Twins run. Casilla came to the plate with 1 out and managed to outrun a possible double play to allow another run to score. The game was tied until the next inning, when Skinny Delmon squeaked a homer into the left field corner that hit the foul pole. I was hardly paying attention because I was so sure it was foul. I was shocked as hell when the ump signaled a homer. Thank God for Skinny Delmon. He also drove in a second run in the 9th as well.
Major props to the bullpen as well. Guerrier struck out 4 of the 5 men he faced, while Fuentes struck out 1 in 1.1 innings pitched. Capps got a strikeout as well in the 9th getting the save, although he freaked me out by allowing the first 2 men to reach. He also faced the middle of the Kansas City order, which I find oddly terrifying for a team that sucks so bad. The Twins finished the game with a nicely-turned double play, and that was that. Now with 4 games left we get to see what we can do against Toronto. I don't like Toronto. Their home run numbers are frightening to me.
Best Moment: Finally winning a game! Especially combined with the losses by Tampa Bay and the Yankees.
Most Questionable Moment: Another Twins fan sitting near us told the lovely story of her infant son vomiting on Harmon Killebrew. Well, it's certainly quite the claim to fame!
Worst Moment: Baker giving up 2 runs in the 2nd. It just felt like the same awful cycle was starting again.
Quotations of the Day:
- "We needed to turn things around." - Skinny Delmon
- "Baker gave us a good performance. A lot of pitches, but a good performance. That's what it took. All you ask for is to have a chance late in the ballgame. The bullpen came in and did a super job of getting the outs they were supposed to get. It's the way to go home. You can't worry about the rest of the road trip." - Ron Gardenhire
- "I just do as I'm told." - Scott Baker. Hmmm. Kinky. He does seem the submissive type.
Suck-Ass Performance of the Game: Jason Kubel (0 for 5, 2 strikeouts, 3 left on base)