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I hate the Twins: Revere, Thome, Morneau and a 9th inning rally take out the Tigers, 6-5

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Final - 8.17.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota Twins 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 1 2 6 10 0
Detroit Tigers 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 5 12 2
WP: Matt Capps (4 - 6)
SV: Joe Nathan (11)
LP: Jose Valverde (2 - 4)

Complete Coverage >


BOX

KEY STAT

Jose Valverde doesn't like non-save situations.

Via Matthew B. Mowery of The Oakland Press:

Jose Valverde in save situations: 35-35, 0.51 ERA, 0.971 WHIP; in non-save situations — 21G, 2-4, 17R, 14ER, 6.88 ERA, 1.80 WHIP

KEY PLAY

Justin Morneau's top of the 9th, bases loaded, two RBI single, giving the Twins a 6-4 lead.

I really hate the Twins.

KEY THOUGHTS

To open the scoring, Jim Thome hit his 66th career home run against the Tigers in the 2nd inning, his 3rd of the series.

Dave Hogg of the AP adds some context:

Jim Thome has as many homers at Comerica Park this season as Magglio Ordonez and Brandon Inge combined.

The Tigers need to sign Thome in the off season, if only to keep him from doing things like hitting historic home runs against them.

I don't know what Delmon Young did to Ben Revere, but he best apologize. Revere stone cold stole a pair of extra base hits from Young. He ran down Young's fly to deep center in the 1st, making a nice over the head catch. What looked like at least a double and two RBI for Young in the 3rd was turned into a sac fly, thanks to a diving catch by Revere in right center.

It was a show of great defense, something we don't get to see very often, because, as you know, the Tigers play lousy D.

To get out of a bases loaded jam in the 4th, Brad Penny had to outrun Tsuyoshi Nishioka to 1st base after Miguel Cabrera ranged too far to his right on a ground ball to 2nd base, leaving only the lumbering Penny to cover. It was not pretty to watch, but Penny somehow won the race to the bag. The last time Penny had to run like that had to be...thinking about it, has he ever?

The only way get the ball past Revere, who covers more ground in center than a grounds keeper's tarp, is to hit it out of the park. Jhonny Peralta figured that out in the 6th, and crushed a solo home run to left center over everyone, including Revere, giving the Tigers a 2-1 lead.

Penny threw six excellent innings...then came the 7th. Jim Leyland trying to one more inning out of Penny was just too much to ask. Given a one run lead by Peralta, Penny immediately lost it to the bottom of the Twins order. Batting 7th, Danny Valencia hit a long double to Comerica Park's Death Valley in right center. Number 8 hitter Rene Tosoni, whom the Tigers apparently assumed was bunting, drilled a no doubt home run deep in the right field stands. A very good outing by Penny was tainted by a couple of mistakes, and not enough run support.

Penny was taken off the hook by Miguel Cabrera in an odd bottom of the 7th. The Tigers parlayed a Ramon Santiago walk, an Andy Dirks sac bunt (Let's not play for the big inning, shall we?), a Brennan Boesch hit by pitch and a Cabrera rocket off the the right wall into...one run. Santiago scored easily on Cabrera's single, but Boesch was waved around (according to FSD's Mario Impemba) by by everyone's "favorite" 3rd base coach, Gene Lamont, despite the relay having reached the infield. Boesch was thrown out in a play closer than I thought it would be (I think the Twins were shocked as I was Boesch was trying to score), ending the inning.

Sac bunts and bad base running do not a big inning make.

Duane Below started the 8th inning, and as a left handed pitcher, the Tigers needed him to get the Twins' left handed bats out. He didn't. Joe Mauer led off the inning with a double. With two outs and 1st base open, Thome continued his Tiger killing ways. His single up the middle gave the Twins a 4-3 lead, ending Below's night.

Carl Pavano, noted Tiger killer, had a typical start against the Tigers; 7 IP, 9 H, 3 ER. Not stellar, but solid. He also left as the pitcher of record with a 4-3 lead, and handed the game to the Twins bullpen.

Glen Perkins entered in the bottom of the 8th and proceeded to load the bases, getting no one out in the process (Victor Martinez doubled, who was replaced by Austin Jackson, walks to Alex Avila and Peralta). Leyland sent left hand batting Wilson Benemit to pinch hit for Don Kelly.

By the way, the Tigers were left with no catchers available, other than Avila, after Martinez and Kelly were pulled. Could someone on the Tigers please wrap Avila in several layers of bubble wrap when these sort of situations arise? But I digress...

With Benemit batting, Ron Gardenhire countered with righty reliever Matt Capps.

Leyalnd won the battle of the managerial minds (but never the war), as Benemit hit a sac fly to center, scoring Jackson. But Capps got out of the inning on a pair of easy fly outs. The Tigers and Twins headed to the 9th tied 4-4.

Only scoring one run after loading the bases with no outs would come back to haunt the Tigers in a big, big way.

Jose Valverde entered the game in top of the 9th, in the always scary non-save situation. It did not go well.

Tosoni led off with a single to right. As Tigers pitchers are wont to do, the Big Potato played Hot Potato with Nishioka's bunt, and everyone was safe. Revere bunted, and replays showed Benemit threw him out...but the umpire didn't have the benefit of replay. Bases loaded.

A glimmer of hope. Valverde K'ed Trevor Plouffe and Mauer with some high heat. Could Papa Grande pitch his way past Justin Morneau and get out of the inning?

No.

On an 2-0 count, Morneau singled up the middle. Two runs scored. Twins lead 6-4. Kill me now.

But the Tigers weren't going down easy.

With Joe Nathan on to close, Boesch singled to center. A Young swinging bunt advanced Boesch to 2nd, where he then scored on a Cabrera single, closing the lead to 6-5. Ryan Raburn pinch hit for Jackson...and was 1st half Raburn, popping up to short. It was all up to Avila.

But Nathan K'ed Avila swinging.

So the Tigers lose the series in one of those very odd, extremely painful losses which only seem to happen against the Twins.

With the Tigers getting an off day tomorrow, we get to stew on this loss the next couple of days, waiting for the Indians to arrive for another big series.