They say that pitching and defense wins ballgames. The Twins used both to earn their first win since May 13th as they defeated the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers 3-2 on Saturday afternoon.
Leading the charge was catcher Joe Mauer, who collected three hits in the game, including a solo home run in the top of the 1st off of Tigers starter Doug Fister. The ball appeared to hit a railing just beyond the outfield fence and ricocheted back into the field of play, but the umpires ruled it a home run immediately and the call was upheld after an unsuccessful replay challenge by Tigers manager Jim Leyland. That home run was not all, as Josh Willingham followed the four-bagger with a walk, and then was quickly chased home with a double by Justin Morneau. After a strikeout by Chris Colabello, Chris Parmelee had a big 2-out single up the middle to bring home Morneau and give the Twins all they needed in the run column.
The reason that was all they needed was because of the pitching, and they were led by starter P.J. Walters. Making his first start in the 2013 season due to ineffectiveness from Vance Worley and Pedro Hernandez, Walters made sure that trend did not continue. Although he did allow 8 hits in the game, he scattered them over 6 innings and kept the Tigers scoreless for the first 4 2/3 innings. The only blips in his pitching line came on a 2-out RBI double by Torii Hunter in the 5th, and then a 2-out solo home run to right by shortstop Jhonny Peralta in the 6th.
There was a little excitement in the top of the 3rd inning. With Joe Mauer on 2nd and Josh Willingham on 1st with no outs, Justin Morneau hit a weak grounder to 2nd base. The Tigers turned what appeared to be a routine double play, but then Willingham was seen arguing with 2nd base umpire Joe West about something that happened on the play. Ron Gardenhire came out to keep Willingham from being ejected, and eventually we learned what the argument was about. Apparently West had ruled that Willingham ran out of the baseline in an attempt to break up the double play, meaning that Justin Morneau was automatically called out at 1st base due to Willingham's runner's interference. The main difference between this call and the typical double play was that the interference call forced Mauer to return to 2nd base with 2 outs. The argument over this play between Gardenhire and West eventually led to Gardenhire being ejected from the game.
Another moment of importance occurred in the bottom of the 6th. After Jhonny Peralta hit his home run, Walters was able to end the inning by getting Omar Infante to lift a lazy fly to left-center field. Josh Willingham was slowly drifting into the gap to catch the ball, but he was hit by a sprinting Wilkin Ramirez who caught the ball before Willingham could get it. Ramirez's face collided with Willingham's arm and shoulder, and Ramirez fell to the ground and laid still for a minute or two with the ball still in his glove. He was definitely shaken up and he was replaced by Aaron Hicks in the bottom of the 7th.
WP: P.J. Walters (1-0, 3.00)
LP: Doug Fister (5-2, 3.65)
S: Glen Perkins (9)
Joe Mauer (3 for 4, HR, RBI), Josh Willingham (2 for 3, BB, R), P.J. Walters (6 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K)
Eduardo Escobar (0 for 4, 1 K), Pedro Florimon (0 for 3, BB, 3 K)
Player of the Game
This is a tough one, so I'll hand out co-winners today. Joe Mauer for his 3 hits and especially the solo homer in the 1st inning that got the offense started, and P.J. Walters for keeping the Tigers at bay for 6 innings.
- SooFoo Fan, 35
- kenzertz, 31
- twinsbrewer, 28
- montanatwinsfan, 18
- less cowbell, more 'neau, 17
- Sportsavenue, 17
- DavidRF, 14
- That'sWhatSheSaid, 4
- TexansDC, 1
- We did not have 10 commenters in today's game thread. Beep boop.
<iframe src="http://www.fangraphs.com/graphframe.aspx?config=0&static=0&type=livewins&num=0&h=450&w=450&date=2013-05-25&team=Tigers&dh=0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="450" width = "450" style="border:1px solid black;"></iframe><br /><span style="font-size:9pt;">Source: <a href="http://www.fangraphs.com/livewins.aspx?date=2013-05-25&team=Tigers&dh=0&season=2013">FanGraphs</a></span>