On Thursday night, the Twins lost a game they should have won. On Friday, they won a game they should have lost, thanks to the likes of Matt Fox, Jason Repko and Danny Valencia. Just like we said would happen in April.
A 4-3 victory over the playoff-bound Rangers would be good under any circumstances, but tonight's made it one to savor. Let's be very clear on this: Matt Fox's start on Friday wasn't the best start by a Twins pitcher this year, but it was probably the most necessary. After a game where the Twins set their bullpen on fire, used 3 of their 5 starters and lost one of them to injury for 1-2 starts minimum, the anonymous Fox gave the Twins everything you could have asked for against a formidable Texas lineup. Fox surrendered a mere two runs in 5 and 2/3 innings with the help of some nice defense from Denard Span, Repko and an infield that remembered how to turn double plays, keeping Minnesota in the game while the Twins tried to figure out Rangers starter Jason Holland.
That never happened, as Holland handcuffed the Twins through the first six innings, allowing just two runs. However, in the bottom of the 7th, Valencia hit a seeing-eye single to left (after which he left the game with tightness in his right hamstring OH GOOD ANOTHER HURT IMPORTANT GUY), which was followed by a Repko walk. Ron Washington went to his bullpen, and that gave the Twins the opening they needed. Singles by J.J. Hardy and Denard Span plated pinch-runner Matt Tolbert and Repko, putting the Twins ahead for good.
Matt Capps did the rest. After Jon Rauch and Randy Flores labored to get one out in the 8th, Capps entered the game with runners on the corners and got two rather clutch-y outs. With the offense not giving him any breathing room in the bottom of the 8th, Capps got the first out of the 9th, then gave up a Chip Carey Special to Vladimir Guerrero. With Alex Cora pinch-running for Guerrero, Pedro Borbon singled to right. Cora attempted to take 3rd on the hit, and Repko GUNNED. HIM. DOWN. One fly ball out later, and Capps had the rare 5-out save. His arm is being shipped to Cooperstown as I type this.
To recap: the Twins got 21 outs from two pitchers who were nowhere near Minneapolis 24 hours ago. Their trade deadline closer got the last five. And they might have gotten their biggest win of the season.
Studs: Fox, Alex Burnett (hey, four outs and one run in a pinch, could've been worse), Span and Repko on defense, Capps, Valencia, Jim Perry and Jim Kaat in the booth for FSN.
Duds: No duds tonight, I'm in a good mood.
Enjoy your long weekend, everybody.