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Twins 7, Tigers 6

Boof2_mediumTwins score four in bottom of the seventh, win fifth straight.

This game kicked off with one of those ominous half-innings, the ones that make you cringe as your team gets rocked.  Things that can go wrong do go wrong, and by the time that third out finally gets recorded you need a few minutes to shake the haze from your head.  Such was the top of the first inning, as Bonser combined bad location with bad luck, and following Curtis Granderson's leadoff homer the Tigers strung together five consecutive singles.  By the time the number seven hitter, Marcus Thames, popped out to Joe Mauer, it was five to nothing.  And the Twins hadn't even come to the plate.

A wild pitch by Bonser on a third strike allowed Ivan Rodriguez to reach, a throwing error by Mauer saw Edgar Renteria score, and when Granderson struck out in his second at-bat of the inning to end the top of the first Detroit was staked to a six-run lead.  But it's always darkest before the light.

Following the implosive first inning, Bonser found his groove.  It was a 45-pitch first inning, but the Tigers never found a way to get to Boof again as he followed up with pitch counts of five, 14, 10, 14 and 11.  His fastball looked good, the breaking balls snapped down and all the luck Detroit had (or was it bad luck on Minnesota's end?) in the first inning disappeared without a trace.  Boof Bonser could have collapsed, could have given in and thrown it away for lost after that nightmare of a first inning, but he didn't.  He came back strong, was effective, and he gave his offense a chance.

The offense didn't disappoint.

Justin Morneau singled following Mauer's double in the bottom of the fourth, making for the Twins first run.  The next inning, Nick Punto doubled in both Craig Monroe and Delmon Young to close the gap to three.  But it was with two outs in the bottom of the seventh that fireworks went off.

With Kenny Rogers still on the mound, Matt Tolbert took the seventh pitch of his plate appearance pulled a double into left field.  Nick Punto followed that up by rolling over on a changeup, but the Twins were getting all the bounces by this point.  Carlos Guillen, playing third base, let it get through his legs; runners at the corners, still two away.  The hiccup chased Rogers, who was replaced by Zach Miner.

Mauer2_mediumMiner peppered leadoff man Carlos Gomez with four straight fastballs.  On the fourth offering, Gomez swung and chopped a high bouncer off the plate.  Edgar Renteria charged and snagged the ball on the first hop, but he never had a chance.  Gomez reached, Punto advanced to second, and Tolbert scored.  6-4, Detroit; momentum was swinging.
Hitless on the afternoon, Brendan Harris put a charge into a changeup from Miner.  He drove it deep into left field, past the outstretched arm of Jacque Jones, and it bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double.  6-5, Detroit.

Then came Joe Mauer, with two runners in scoring position.  Bobby Seay had replaced Miner, but he couldn't stop the bleeding.  Mauer chopped a fastball up the middle, right over the mound.  Polanco and Renteria converged but the ball snuck through, and Mauer's seeing-eye single scored two.

It was a fantastic comeback for the Twins, and the victory keeps them in first place.  In the stretch of these five wins, Minnesota has outscored their opponents 29-12, and the bats have been more impressive than they've been most of the year.  The picture is far from perfect, but it's working for the moment, and it's one hell of a lot of fun to see.