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Twins 5, Astros 4: Bullpen (?!?) wins XXtra Manfredball on Sano throw

No, it won’t happen often and doesn’t matter. But it happened, and it’s my sworn duty to type to you about it.

Minnesota Twins v Houston Astros
He’s so excited, and he just can’t hide it.
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

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! 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:

Seen here with his equally-terrible partners Junction Julie and Junction Jesse, literally for-real-mascot characters created by a person who hates both Mascots and You.

(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.

Tune in tomorrow for Big Mike “Still A Twins For Some Reason” Pineda at 6:10, and go back to read John’s, Marea’s, and Tawny’s posts, they were better! Even mine! I’m tired now!

(* -- 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!)