That wasn't as much fun as I thought it'd be right away.
It's rare that a single player looks like they could be responsible for a team's loss, as well as the reason they were in the game at all. Danny Valencia managed to pull it off, topping off a five-run top of the first with the second grand slam of his career.
But the Tigers chipped at the lead immediately, tallying single runs in the first and second to keep the game from getting out of hand early. And then they struck for their own five-run inning in the fourth...it was ugly.
Alex Avila: Homer.
Don Kelly: Two-run homer.
Miguel Cabrera: Two-run homer.
The outburst gave Detroit a 7-5 lead. They immediately gave it back in the top of the fifth when the Twins put up another five spot, thanks to back-to-back solo shots to lead off the frame by Valencia and Jason Kubel. Denard Span's ground-rule double added one, and Delmon Young's two-out single scored two more. After their second big inning the Twins led again, 10-7.
Glen Perkins took over in the bottom of the fifth for the struggling Carl Pavano (why did I make a prediction for Brian Duensing in the game thread??), and couldn't hold the Tigers. His night: Hit-by-pitch, single, single, sac fly (run), sac fly (run), single, walk, pulled. Matt Guerrier got the final out, and pitched a scoreless sixth.
Detroit tied it up in the bottom of the seventh, thanks to a pair of singles off Jesse Crain.
Then the teams suddenly decided they'd scored enough, and traded zeroes for five consecutive innings. Each team had a couple of base runners but no real threats, and Pat Neshek struck out the side in the twelvth.
Now we come to the fateful thirteenth. Span singled to lead it off, his fourth hit of the night, and advanced to second on the sac bunt from Orlando Hudson. The Tigers walked Delmon Young to set up the force, and Minnesota went aggressive and pulled off a successful double steal. Naturally they then intentionally walked Michael Cuddyer as well, setting up the force at every base.
Daniel Schlereth then struck out both Kubel and Valencia. One fastball and three breaking balls for each did the trick, and the Tigers successfully walked the tightrope.
A soft liner, a grounder, and a bobbled ball by Valencia at third (that probably would have been a double play) loaded the bases on just three batters for Neshek in the thirteenth. At this point, apparently Rick Anderson (who was managing because Gary was hit by a ball in batting practice and had to have surgery on his ear in the clubhouse to relieve the pressure) decided he didn't want the game to go any longer and put Randy Flores in the ballgame. He managed a forceout at the plate before Brandon Inge stuck the knife in his back and ended the pain for everyone.
The important thing: Gardenhire is fine, and should be back with the Twins for Sunday afternoon's game.
No studs or duds for last night's game...it was just a hot mess.