Your buddy, the one who's a Detroit Tigers fan? Yeah, he knows EXACTLY how you feel right now.
The Twins, in a game that will haunt them all winter long, fell to the Yankees 4-3 in 11 innings. The number that stands out:
Before you go blaming Joe Nathan or Phil Cuzzi or Jose Mijares or cheating cheaterpants A-Rod, peep that number again. 17 runners left on base. Inexcusable, especially against a lineup that will eventually find a way to put runs on the board.
The gory details:
Nick Blackburn made one mistake all game (see below). He stepped up and gave the Twins a chance to win. Meanwhile, AJ Burnett was adequate and wild, hitting a batter here and surrendering a single there without incurring any damage. The Twins finally got to Burnett in the 6th, going up 1-0 in the 6th on a pinch-hit triple by Brendan Harris, who had a hell of a game as an injury replacement for Matt Tolbert (strained oblique). The Yankees answered back in the bottom of the 6th with a single by Alex Rodriguez off of Blackburn, scoring Derek Jeter.
Twins went up 3-1 in the top of the 8th with 2-out hits from Nick Punto and Denard Span. Harris made a beautiful play on a Jeter liner in the bottom of the 8th to help Matty Guerrier to a 1-2-3 inning. The Twins threatened in the top of the 9th but did not score, which would prove costly.
I love Joe Nathan to death, but the Yankees are his kryptonite. Entering the game with a 2-run lead in the 9th, he surrendered a line-drive single to Mark Teixiera and a moonshot from A-Rod, who again forgot that he's not supposed to be clutch, and it was 3-3 before you could say "Ron Davis." You will see it on SportsCenter 1000 times before the weekend is over.
Nathan escaped that inning, but after the Twins bowed out in the 10th, he was knocked out in the 10th and left the game with runners at the corners and one out. HOWEVAH, Jose Mijares entered the game and benefitted from a truly beautiful line drive double play to end the inning.
Then? Well, then is when the game turned from merely awful into a gutpunch, wake-up-screaming affair. Joe Mauer led off the inning with a slicing, opposite field, ground rule double. Unfortunately, left field umpire Phil Cuzzi, who was standing right [redacted] there, missed the ball landing a foot inside the [redacted] line and called it a foul ball. Mauer, being Mauer, followed it up with single up the middle. A single, not being a double, leaves the runner at first, meaning Jason Kubel's single immediately afterwards didn't score Mauer. Nor did Michael Cuddyer's single that immediately followed that.
What you can't blame on Phil Cuzzi is that the Twins turned this bases loaded, no out situation into zero runs. This is not what is considered good, much less advancing-in-the-playoffs good. Delmon Young line out, Carlos Gomez fielder's choice, Harris pop fly. No runs, no lead.
Which would prove costly, as Mark Teixiera ended it in the bottom of the inning with a line drive home run off Mijares to lead off the inning. You will also see it on SportsCenter 1000 times before the weekend is over.
Goddammit, this one hurt.