Something tells me that the atmosphere surrounding the Boston sports market is a little less than jovial at the moment. The Celtics missed the playoffs for the first time since the ’07-’08 season, the Bruins lost game seven of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals to their bitter rival Montreal on home ice and the Cannons are off to a 1-2 start (hey, professional lacrosse is big over there). Oh yeah, and the defending World Series champion Red Sox are treading .500 water and just lost a series to the Island of Misfit Players that is the Minnesota Twins. Regahdless, dis ain’t exactly been a wicked pissa of a time fo’ dem chowda heads who ain’t use-ta seein’ dis kinda gahbage.
(Un)Fortunately for us Minnesota sports fans, we are used to that kind of gahbage. I mean garbage. Our (male) basketball team hasn’t made the playoffs since ’03-’04, the Wild got bounced from the Western Conference semis in six games and we’re ecstatic if our baseball team is even remotely close to .500 at any time during the season. Hope springs eternal.
But it wasn’t hope that helped the Twins earn their first series win against Boston at Target Field since it opened in 2010 (although it should be noted that the Twins are now 6-0 in series rubber matches this season), rather it came in the form of unlikely heroes in dramatic fashions.
Chris Parmelee was the man of the hour in the first game of the series blasting a 9th inning walk off two run shot to the right field bleachers off of Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller. The Twins threw up five runs in the second inning and Ricky Nolasco pitched a solid six innings giving up three runs on six hits (including two solo HRs by Ortiz) but the Sox battled back and a poor outing by Michael Tonkin in the seventh inning that saw him give up three runs on three hits, tying the game until Parms sent fans home happy in the bottom of the ninth.
Game two of the series was more of the same, and by that I mean that Ortiz hit another two dingers bringing his season total from seven to eleven in the span of two games. A seemingly typical short and horrific start for Kevin Correia (4 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 0 K) coupled with Papi Power spelled doom for the Twins as the were trounced 9-4 behind a solid outing from Felix Doubront (6.1 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K).
The series came down to a rubber match on Thursday afternoon that saw Phil Hughes continue his dominance pitching six solid innings allowing five hits, one earned run and striking out eight. His opponent on the mound however did not fair so well. Clay Buchholz surrendered ten hits in his six innings of work giving up three runs while striking out six and walking three. Burton and Fien combined for two perfect innings and it looked like the series was won as Glen Perkins took the mound for the save. Except Perkins didn’t get the save. Instead, he gave up four hits and two runs in his inning of work sending the finale to extra innings. Duensing came in in the tenth and slammed the door on the Sox, which left it up to the offense to as Larry the Cable Guy says "Get’r done" and get’r done they did. Kurt Suzuki continued his rampage this season with a double off of Andrew Miller (remember him from game one?) and Aaron Hicks came through in the clutch just a day after getting ripped by Gardenhire and Rob Antony for not being prepared with a walk off single.
With spirits high and the Twins now sitting at 19-20 they look to hit the .500 mark for the first time since May 4th tonight against the Mariners at home. Kyle Gibson (3-3, 4.74 ERA) looks to shutdown the high-flying Seattle offense and the Twins hope to spoil Chris Young’s perfect record (3-0, 2.63 ERA). First pitch is at 7:10 at Target Field broadcasting on KTwin 96.3 or Fox Sports North.