"That's how it's gone for the Tigers this year. That's how it's gone for the Twins."
- Bert Blyleven, following Brandon Inge's walk-off home run -
This was the Rochester Red Wings versus the Detroit Tigers. A vast majority of the time you hope that maybe the minor league team can stand toe-to-toe for a few innings before fading away. But tonight, the Twins nearly pulled one out. Of course it had nothing to do with the offense.
Anthony Swarzak was strong today, striking out six Tigers in six innings and allowing just two runs. Wilson Betemit jacked a solo blast in the bottom of the third to put Detroit up 1-0. Joe Mauer would tie it in the top half of the next frame with his third home run of the season, but Andy Dirks doubled to lead off the fourth and scored on a Victor Martinez single to put the division leaders back on top, 2-1. Danny Valencia scored Trevor Plouffe in the top of the sixth to bring it back to evens once again, but a double play off the bat of rookie Chris Parmelee would snuff out what would be the last Minnesota threat.
Matt Capps and Alex Burnett turned in back-to-back scoreless innings in relief, before Glen Perkins took the hill in the bottom of the ninth to preserve the tie and give the Twins a shot to score their third run of the game in extra innings. Perk picked up two outs on three pitches, and doubled that by going 2-1 to Brandon Inge. On his seventh pitch of the inning Perkins left a fastball up...and Inge destroyed it.
It's been an odd season for Inge, who entered the game in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement for Betemit, who had homered earlier. After being a regular in Detroit, and a fan favorite, for most of the last decade he was demoted earlier this season and for good reason. He was a consummate professional and got his recall, and while he hasn't had a good season he has had a few highlights. Today's finish will go down as one of the best moments of his season.
For the Twins, well, what can you say? It's just one of those seasons. Perkins has been very good and highly reliable all season, but that doesn't mean he won't allow a run from time to time. All we can do is hope that the front office gives Gardy a couple more decent bullpen options to go to next year.
- Mauer was 2-for-3 with a homer and a walk today.
- Valencia picked up his team-leading 68th RBI with his sac fly in the sixth.
- The Twins were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
- Benson picked up his first two hits of the season, making him 2-for-15 (.133) with a double, walk, and six strikeouts since joining the team.
- Parmelee has picked up a hit in every game since his callup, and is 5-for-14 (.357) with a double, two walks, two strikeouts, and three runs batted in.
- Capps is on the verge of getting his ERA to dip below 4.00, as after today he's allowed just one earned run since August 20th (10.2 innings). His ERA is down to 4.04.
- The homer off Perkins was just the second bomb he's allowed this year.
- Swarzak was up in the zone all day with his fastball, and threw quite a few pitches above the zone in attempts to get Detroit hitters to chase. Righties didn't chase the fastball at all, and lefties only chased twice, but by being so high consistently it allowed him to get away with a few more high pitches than he might normally. A lot of those up-in-the-zone fastballs were either fouled off or outs; only one dropped for a hit.
- Right-handed hitters were 0-for-10 off Swarzak.
- Lefties were 4-for-12.
- Swarzak threw a first pitch strike to every single batter he faced.
The rest of the offense