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Twins 4, Tigers 3: Comeback Wins Are Fun

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This one did not start out well, as Twins starter Brian Duensing gave up three early runs due to defensive miscues by J.J. Hardy (throwing error), Orlando Hudson (throwing error turning a double play) and Denard Span (got himself turned around and around on a line drive to deep center), putting the Twins into a 3-0 hole. Detroit Tigers starter Armando Galarraga kept the Twins hitters off balance (though I'm not entirely sure how, given so many pitches were right down main street), putting up zeroes through the first five innings. But left fielder Jason Repko robbed Tigers catcher Alex Avila of a near home run on a long fly ball in the top of the sixth, sparking the Twins bats, which scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth and another two runs in the seventh for a 4-3 Twins victory last night at Target Field. With the win, the Twins remain four games ahead of the Chicago White Sox, who also won 4-3, in the AL Central Division race. Also, the victory starts the Twins nine game home stand off on a good note. On a bad note, Jason Kubel was hit in the hand by a pitch in the 7th inning, and while X-rays were negative, he may miss a few games.

I'll go into three key moments, plus studs and duds after the jump. Plus, a bonus helping of third base coach Scott Ullger again confusing Jason Kubel with Carlos Gomez.

Moment the First

In the bottom of the sixth, after Michael Cuddyer's grounder up the middle scored Joe Mauer to put the Twins on the board, Delmon Young smashed a single past third baseman Brandon Inge to put runners on first and second with two outs. Danny Valencia crushed a pitch deep to left center, scoring Cuddyer. But unfortunately the ball bounced off the warning track and over the fence, sending Delmon Young back to third base. With two outs, Repko flew out to end the inning and leave the Twins down 3-2.

Moment the Second

After the rocky start (mostly defense-assisted), Duensing cruised through 6th inning with no further damage. In the 7th, he got into a bit of trouble after getting two quick outs top open the inning. Miguel Cabrera lined a single to right, and Jhonny Peralta blooped a single in front of Span to put runners on first and third with Brandon Inge coming to the plate. Gardy thanked Duensing for a quality start, and brought Matt Guerrier into a high leverage situation. After getting behind Brandon Inge 3-1 (I was quite nervous), Guerrier got him to fly weakly to center field and end the inning.

Moment the Third

After Guerrier got the Twins out of the seventh, the Twins mounted another threat with a J.J. Hardy leadoff walk. Span bunted him over to second (not a play I like, even down one run in the latter third of the game), and Hudson struck out again (his third of the game). Phil Coke proceeded to plunk both Mauer and Kubel in the hands to load the bases with two outs. Jim Leyland brought in flamethrowing right hander Ryan Perry, who walked Michael Cuddyer to tie the game. Then Delmon grounded a single through the right side to score Mauer and put the Twins up 4-3. Unfortunately, third base coach Scott Ullger had yet another brain cramp, sending Kubel home. Naturally he was out by about 20 feet to end the inning, giving insult to injury.

Studs

  1. Jason Repko: 1-4, CS. Didn't do much at the plate, but his great catch to rob a near home run was the turning point of the game. I have to give Gardy some credit here. With Thome and his bad back, he moved Delmon to DH and put Repko in left. No way Delmon makes that play, and if it falls the Tigers probably go on to win the game. And he totally stole second base, replays showed he clearly beat the tag, which was up around his hip area.
  2. Danny Valencia: 3-4, RBI, 2 2B. Dude continues to rake, double off the wall just missing a HR by inches, and a ground rule double to bring the Twins within 3-2 in the 6th.
  3. Brian Duensing: 6.2 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO. He gave up three runs, but all three were unearned, a result of poor defense early.
  4. Matt Guerrier, Randy Flores, Jesse Crain and Matt Capps: 2.1 innings of scoreless relief to close this one out. Special kudos to Guerrier for getting Brandon Inge to end the Tigers threat in the top of the 7th.

Duds

  1. Orlando Hudson: 1-4, 3 SO. Three strikeouts and a bad throw turning the DP in the 2nd. Don't be surprised if we see Alexi Casilla at second base this evening.
  2. Denard Span: I could have sworn it was Delmon or Carlos Gomez out there in center field. In the third inning, Casper Wells hit a line drive directly over Span's head. Denard was late reacting, and once he started back he turned himself around 3 or 4 times. I know line drives right in front of or behind an outfielder are the toughest plays, but this is the Major Leagues.
  3. Scott Ullger: Yet another inexplicable third base coaching call, sending Kubel home on Delmon's RBI single in the 7th. JASON KUBEL IS NOT A FAST RUNNER. HOLD HIM!!!
  4. Ground Rule Doubles: For what seems like the 50th time this season, the ball bouncing over the fence cost the Twins a run.