It was a strong start for the Twins, as Brian Dozier took a 2-1 fastball over the left-center field seats. Dozier's 13th homer of the season was the third time this year that he's led off the game with a home run, and it put a team desperate for run support on top early. Four batters later a line drive off the bat of Eduardo Nunez fell just out of reach of a diving Delino DeShields in left field, plating Trevor Plouffe from first base.
The Rangers got both runs back in the bottom of the second off of solo home runs from Joey Gallo and Leonys Martin, and then a bizarre double play allowed Texas to score the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth.
Minnesota had an assortment of scoring opportunities in the sixth inning but, through sheer incompetence, only put a single run on the board. The Twins cracked not one, not two, but three triples in the top of the sixth. Nunez dropped a flare past a diving Shin-Soo Choo in right field to lead off the inning. Kurt Suzuki popped out, but Shane Robinson - putting as much into a ball as a guy 165 lbs possibly can - bounced a ball off the wall in left-center field for the second triple. It was his second triple of the day.
Sugar Shane then got picked off of third base on what Dick and Bert assumed was a safety squeeze. And then Eduardo Escobar tripled, too. Byron Buxton struck out to end the threat, but at least the game was tied 3-3.
What's that? You want to read about Buxton? Sure, we can talk about one of the most anticipated Twins rookie debuts in the last 20 years.
Buxton reached first on a fielder's choice in the top of the ninth. Dozier, who had already doubled, homered, and had one hell of a double play in the third already on his score card, popped out for out number two. And then Eddie Rosario, 0-for-4 Eddie Rosario, drove a ball deep in the right-center field gap.
Watch Buxton run.
Buxton's first Major League run gave the Twins a 4-3 lead, and Glen Perkins shut the door in the ninth to secure a desperately needed victory.
The Twins improve to 34-28, one and a half games behind the Royals for first place in the AL Central and one and a half games in front of the Tigers for third place. This game was full of heroes and goats today, but it's tradition to not hand out "duds" in a Twins win. Robinson was probably straddling both lines anyway, Phil Hughes fought through six innings of three-run baseball and it's hard to blame him considering he clearly didn't have his best stuff, and of course nobody is giving Buxton a dud for an 0-for-4 (with two strikeouts) performance when it's his Major League debut. Everyone is a winner today.
- Buxton nearly beat out a routine grounder to third in the fourth inning.
- Casey Fien struck out three in two scoreless innings of relief today. He was huge.
- Glen Perkins looked flawless.
- Brian Dozier now has 20 doubles, three triples, and 13 home runs - those 36 extra-base hits lead baseball and put him on pace to set the Twins single-season record.
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COMMENT OF THE GAMETHREAD
less cowbell, more 'neau: "Who's Byron Buxton?"