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Final In 16: Tigers 11, Twins 9

Somebody had to win it, eventually.

I'm not really frustrated.  Maybe I'm just too tired.

By the time Kevin Slowey finally retired Brandon Inge on strikes to end the top of the third inning, the Twins were down 6-0, and I wouldn't have judged you if you'd given up.  An early, large lead that comes about through extra-base hits with runners on base is a really bad way to let things get away from you, but that's exactly what Detroit did to Slowey.  They attacked him early, and it didn't matter if they were good pitches or bad ones the Tigers were going to get on base.

The Twins would respond with a couple runs of their own over the next couple of innings, including Delmon Young's third homer of the year, but heading into the bottom of the sixth the deficit was still five runs.  Minnesota trailed 7-2 and it was getting late.

Which naturally meant the Twins would put up a five spot to knot the game at seven.  Naturally.

Zach Miner, who had come on for Detroit starter Lucas French when the Twins were threatening in the fifth inning, kicked things off by giving up a solo shot to Joe Crede.  Crede's 12th bomb of the season was an inside fastball, right in his wheel house, naturally ending up where almost all of Joe's shots go:  the home run porch.  Young singles (three hits on the night for Delmon), Nick Punto draws a walk, Denard Span triples and suddently it's a brand new ballgame at 7-5.  Brendan Harris followed that up with a triple of his own before Joe Mauer scored him on a sacrifice fly to end the scoring, but Minnesota was born anew.  Momentum had changed hands, and in a big way.

Over the next seven innings both Minnesota and Detroit would waste hits and walks, putting goose eggs on the scoreboard.  The bottom of the eleventh found Span on third base, with Joel Zumaya walking both Mauer and Justin Morneau (intentionally), only to strike out Michael Cuddyer to end the threat.  It would be costly.

In the 14th, after the Tigers plated one off R.A. Dickey, the Twins got it back when Mauer scored off a Cuddyer single.  Morneau was stranded on third with one out though, with both Cuddyer and Young unable to come through.

Finally, in the 16th, with Dickey still on the mound for the Twins and Freddy Dolci riding it out for the Tigers, the branch finally snapped.  A trio of runs gave the Tigers an 11-8 lead, off of a double and four singles.  Minnesota would manage one in the bottom half of the inning, but the magic had to run out for somebody eventually.  It did for the Twins.

Both of these teams had ample opportunities to win this game, both in and out of the standard nine innings, and it has to be said that after the Twins tied the game at seven it was their game to take.  Minnesota had more chances to bring it home, even after the Tigers drew first blood in extra innings.  You can't strand guys on third base with one out and expect to win.

Overall, both squads combined to use 15 pitchers, with 35 hits allowed.

Time for sleep, and then time to move on.  See you all...well, THIS afternoon.

Stars of the Game
#3:  Jose Mijares  (2 IP, 3 K, .286 WPA)
#2:  Denard Span  (5-for-8, 3B, R, 2 RBI, .236 WPA)
#1:  Justin Morneau  (3-for-7, 2B, R, RBI, .356 WPA)