In a game that counted to Houston players/fans and some Twins roster hopefuls, Minnesota managed to score one run in both gimcracked extra innings while holding the Astros to only "holding serve" (*) in the 10th.
A strange situation resulted in the final play. Josh Donaldson, the Twins’ resident “ARRR! TEAM SPIRIT! GO!” fast-food-restaurant-shift-leader, had singled in ghost runner Jorge Polanco to retake the lead. He was replaced as a pinch-runner by Some Guy (ok, Jake Cave) in the hopes of scoring more. This didn’t happen. That caused a Twins zillion-switch set of defensive replacements for Houston’s turns at-bat; Miguel Sano took over at third, Mitch Garver moved from catching to first, and Ryan Jeffers donned the so-called Tools Of Ignorance.
Warm body reliever Juan Minaya recorded a strikeout and groundout to keep Houston’s BULLCRAP STUPID MANFREDBALL RUNNER at second. Then former Twin Jason Castro hit a grounder to Garver; he booted it. This put sluggering Jose Altuve up with a runner on third. Altuve bunted to catch Sano playing normally deep for the situation; he barehanded the ball, and threw at 84MPH to nail Altuve at first; game over, Twims wim!
You may remember that this was about the only really good thing Sano could do as a defender, is throw pretty hard, which makes him borderline useless at first except that he’s even more useless as a DH. So, he did it again! Good for him! Bad for Altuve! Yays all around! Watch the video on MLB.com! Buy the advertised products! Or don’t!
OK, what else happened. Luis Arraez made a strong defensive stop in the seventh to keep Houston from going ahead; he’d have to leave the game after one pitch during his at-bat in the eighth with what’s going to be listed as “day-to-day’ but probably will result in quintuple amputations.
Bailey Ober, who will not be in the starting rotation of a good team in 2022 but may well do so for the Twins, went his usual five innings and only gave up two homeruns, which is alright, I guess. The Twins were able to tie this baby up after
lashing the infant’s limbs with duct tape falling behind 0-3, via a Garvsauce solo dong and some BAbip rallying against 18-year veteran Zack Greinke.
More? You insatiable baseball lovers, you! All right! Radio had three fun facts tonight. One, that Mr. Ober, who had a hit against St. Louis in his last start, is now the tallest Twin ever to notch a hit at 6’9”. Because John Rauch FAILED. Two, that this was scoreless-inning-reliever Jon Gant’s birthday, so he got to sorta celebrate A) pitching okay for a team he'll barely remember and B) being one anniversary nearer to Death.
Three, and this matters most, Kris Atteberry told us that the Houston mascot (previously and currently “Orbit,” a rounder-faced Greedo) had been temporarily usurped by this terrifying acid-trip rabbit named Junction Jack:
(yeah we probably don’t have the rights to this image but whatever)
Junction Jack apparently ran a stupid train thing that moved to celebrate Astros dingers, and had some connection to the ballpark site’s history of kinda sorta being a railroad depot or some such crap. Whatever, Houston; it’s Enron Field and always will be. At least Orbit harkens back to the Astrodome and, you know, the cool Houston NASA stuff. (Downside, add a “z” to Orbit’s name, and you have a bottom-rung rental-car-reservations company.)
Robot Roll Call:
COTG goes to mefoolonhill for the 11th-inning “I knew it; The 3-way defensive shift turned out to be a disaster” almost immediately followed by “Sano saved our ass; good Miguel,” because it felt like something I’d say at a game (making prediction to friends, prediction being wrong). Or in real life. I’m just wrong a lot of times, I’m accustomed to this, we all have our signature Tendencies.
(* -- if you don’t like the tired phrase "holding serve," please note that I mentioned how Sano threw pretty hard without mentioning his "cannon" or "bazooka" or "howitzer" of a strong arm, all of which I heard on radio postgame while typing this, and all of which annoy me more than a tennis reference. So there's that!)