Despite a second consecutive lackluster outing from P.J. Walters, the Twins offense and a bad Cubs bullpen combined to carry the Twins to an 8-7 victory in extra innings. Josh Willingham's liner down the third-base line scored Darin Mastroianni in the 10th inning to give Minnesota a walk-off win in the series opener.
Walters got behind early, with an Alfonso Soriano home run off the batter's eye giving the Cubs a 2-0 advantage. After Trevor Plouffe creamed a solo dong off the facing of the upper deck to knot the game at 2-2, the Cubs responded with a 3-run 5th. Ian Stewart hit a triple that Mastroianni probably should have caught, and scored on a single. Starlin Castro followed that up with a 2-run homer, and it was 5-2 North Siders. Walters finished the inning, but that would be it for him. He finished with 5 ER on 84 pitches.
The Twins narrowed the gap to 5-3 in the 5th, when a Jamey Carroll double plated Ben Revere, but Carroll was gunned down trying to extend the double to a triple. In the bottom the 6th, Ryan Doumit led off with a single and was thrown out trying to make it a two-bagger. The Twins immediately recovered from that disappointment thanks to a Plouffe double, Dozier bloop single, and a Mastroianni redemption triple, tying the game.
The Twins took their first lead of the game when Doumit hit a redemption solo home run with two outs in th 7th. The Cubs responded in the 8th with another moonshot from Soriano, this one a 2-run bomb to the third deck in left off Glen Perkins.
The Cubs bullpen was not about to allow the Twins to lose that easily. Shawn Camp entered the game in the 9th, and promptly gave up a single off the left field wall to Josh Willingham and a triple to center to Justin Morneau to tie the game. The Twins somehow managed to not score Denard Span, pinch-running for Morneau, and the game went to extras.
Studs: Willingham; Morneau, Soriano; Chris Parmelee, who just about died falling into the camera well in an unsuccessful attempt to catch a foul pop-up, then made a nice stretch to catch a Dozier relay throw to close out a double play in the 7th; Plouffe with his two extra base hits; Anthony Swarzak, with his two innings of scoreless relief; Alex Burnett, who notched four crucial outs. And hey, Matt Capps got the win, despite facing five batters in the 10th.
Duds: whoever told Span to run on contact with a drawn-in infield in the 9th; Perkins; Walters.
Enjoy your weekend everybody.