Like us to subscribe
A fast start is a always a good start.
The Twins kicked off Wednesday night’s game quick with a four-hit, two-run inning to jump all over the Tigers. Jason Kubel and Delmon Young had RBI singles to give the Twins the 2-0 lead after the top of the first.
It was closer than it originally promised: After going down by five runs early, and falling behind a very impressive Justin Verlander, the Twins put a series of runs together in the later innings to push the Tigers to the limit. But “close enough to be entertaining” isn’t quite close enough, at least not for Twins fans, as the loss means the Twins will again fall to two games behind the Tigers in the A.L. Central.
Just as we thought this wouldn’t be a game, Joe Mauer and Jason Kubel each knock in a run to bring the Twins within one run of the Tigers. The Tigers answered with a solo home run by Curtis Granderson. The Tigers still hold a 6-4 lead as they head into the top of the ninth inning.
Hey, so maybe this will be a game after all. Or maybe not. Justin Verlander is still looking pretty solid, all things considered. But in the meantime, the Twins are at least generating some offense: A Denard Span double turned into an Orlando Cabrera RBI, which eventually turned into a sacrifice fly by Jason Kubel.
Verlander managed to close the inning out immediately afterward, but still, with three innings left, two runs is better than none. They teach you that in Tim McCarver baseball analysis school, actually.
If the Twins feel like tying this series up tonight, they’re not being very efficient about it. After Duensing walked the bases and was pulled (which was only a matter of time), Bobby Keppel gave up a single to Brandon Inge that scored two more.
Through five innings, Verlander has allowed two hits, no walks, no earned runs, and has struck out six. Even if the Twins manage to hold the Tigers the rest of the way — and if Duensing keeps allowing runners on base this easily, they won’t — it might not matter. Verlander is just that good right now.
Brian Duensing is holding on for dear life against the Tigers offense. To his credit, he’s putting in quite an effort. Unfortunately, he’s Brian Duensing. So it goes.
Duensing gave up two more runs in the bottom of the third: Magglio Ordonez’s double to left scored Adam Everett and Placido Polanco in relatively academic fashion, and the Twins fell further behind, 3-1.
There have been a few hard-hit balls off Twins pitcher Brian Duensing in his two innings of work so far, but none remotely as hard as what Miguel Cabrera just did. Cabrera took a breaking ball that didn’t break and destroyed it to Comerica Park’s center field, and the Tigers take a 1-0 lead early.
Detroit Free-Press has tonight’s line-ups for Game 2 and lookie who is playing catcher for the Tigers: Gerald Laird. Who also started behind the plate in Game 1. Enjoy not walking tomorrow, boys.
From Joe Christensen of the Star-Tribune:
That is no misprint. Mauer is catching Game 2. His words to Gardenhire: “I got this.”
Mauer was originally not expected to start behind the plate for Game 2. But then again, Mauer does things mere mortals wouldn’t attempt all the time.
Delmon Young’s insurance run in the top of the 10th tuns out to be the game-winner for the Twins.
Curtis Granderson leadoff the bottom of the 10th with a deep homer off Twins closer Joe Nathan to make it 3-2. From there, Nathan shut down Detroit, thus saving a vital victory for Minnesota. Nick Blackburn gets the win. The Twins are now just one back in the AL Central race. For those of us with no rooting interest other than September baseball drama, this is an outstanding result.
Game 2 of the doubleheader is tonight at 7:05 ET. Probable starters are Justin Verlander for the Tigers and Brian Duensing for the Twins.
After making an outstanding play on a linedrive in the bottom of the 9th to save the game for the Twins, Denard Span leadoff the 10th with a single. Then the fun started.
Lyon threw a wild pitch to allow Span to move to second. On the next pitch, he threw another wild pitch, on which Span advanced to third with no outs. He was driven in on a single from Orlando Cabrera.
A few batters latter, Delmon Young drove in an insurance run on a deep sac fly to center field.
It’s now 3-1 Twins heading into the bottom of the 10th.
Detroit put up a minor threat in their half of the ninth, getting a runner on second, but once again they were unable to produce with a man in scoring position. Ramon Santiago hit a deep liner down the right field line, but it was tracked down by Span for the third out.
We’re now in the top of the 10th with Brandon Lyon still on the mound for the Tigers.
From ESPN's Rob Neyer:
Alexi Casilla hit a double off Brandon Lyon to lead off the top of the ninth for the Twins. He was then bunted over to third. With one out and the potential game-winning run 90 feet away, Ron Gardenhire called for a suicide squeeze, which went horribly wrong.
Nick Punto did his best to laydown the bunt, but the pitch was a fastball up around his head, making it nearly impossible to do so. He popped it up to the pitcher Brandon Lyon, who double Casilla up at third. Half-inning over.
Tigers are batting in the bottom of the ninth now against Rauch.
In the top of the 8th, Zach Minor remained in the game, and set down the Twins in order.
Twins starter Nick Blackburn was then pulled after seven innings and replaced by Jose Mirjares, who retired the first two Tigers he faced before Jon Rauch came in, threw two pitches and ended the bottom of the 8th.
We have made it to the ninth inning in just over two hours, although there is no end in sight.
Porcello’s replacement Zach Minor took care of the Twins in the top of the seventh.
In the bottom half, Blackburn continued what he started three innings prior, setting down the Tigers in order. He’s now thrown 111 pitches and is likely done for the day.
So, both starting pitchers throw 111 pitches and give up one run. Although Blackburn K’d four to Porcello’s one.
We’re still tied at one-all after seven.
The 20-year-old didn’t seem fazed by the magnitude of this game, going 6 1/3 innings before be pulled after throwing 111 pitches and runners on first and second.
His final line is seven hits, one run and one strikeout.
Zach Minor has been brought in to replace Porcello and face Denard Span.
Porcello rolls through the Twins yet again in the top of the sixth, giving up a harmless two-out single before retiring the site.
Blackburn then follows up his 1, 2, 3 fifth by setting down the Tigers in order again in the sixth.
Both pitchers have thrown 90+ pitches, so this one will soon be turned over to the bullpens.
After finally getting one run of support from his offense, Nick Blackburn pitched his first 1, 2, 3 inning of the game in the bottom of the fifth. We’re all tied at 1 heading into the sixth.
Matt Tolbert lead off the top of the fifth with a double down the line. He was promptly bunted over to third by Nick Punto and then driven in on a sac fly from Denard Span. Small Ball! Hooray!
It’s now 1-1 in the middle of the fifth.
Porcello cruising, yada, yada, he still looks good (although his pitch count is up to 68).
In the bottom of the fourth, the Tigers got yet another man in scoring position, and yet again were unable to score. They are now 2-12 with RISP and have left seven men on base. I guess we should credit Blackburn for getting the outs when he needs them.
Score remains 1-0, Tigers, after four innings.
The Twins managed to hit another comebacker off of Porcello in the top of the third, this one off his leg from the bat of Denard Span. This may become an effective method for knocking Porcello out of the game early. Right now, he’s in total control.
On the other side, Nick Blackburn’s pitch count continues to rise after he grinds out another inning, giving up two hits, including a leadoff double to Clete Thomas, the Tigers .722 OPS No. 3 hitter. Thomas was later thrown out at the plate after breaking for home on an infield grounder.
Blackburn has now throw 58 pitches, scattered five hits and is fortunate to have only given up one run as the Tigers have left six men on.
Porcello gave up a hit — a comebacker off his ass — which was promptly converted into a double play. He’s still faced the minimum through two.
Blackburn recorded an out in the bottom of the second, before plunking Laird way up and in right below the back of his neck. Two hits later, and Laird scored the first run of the game, giving Detroit the early 1-0 lead. RBI goes to shortstop Ramon Santiago.
With runners on first and third and two outs, Polanco grounded out to Blackburn, who has already thrown 41 pitches through two innings.
Porcello took care of the Twins in order in the top of the first, despite leaving a few fastball up and Joe Mauer hitting a rocket right to second baseman Polanco. We can only assume this was a warning shot for what’s to come later.
In the Tigers’ half of the inning, Curtis Granderson led off with a double down the right field line. Clete Thomas got Granderson over to third with two outs, but Aubrey Huff — hitting a blazing .254 this month — was unable to plate the run, grounding out weakly to second base for the third out.
The Twins had originally hoped Mauer could catch all four games against the Tigers, but with a day-night doubleheader scheduled today, Mauer likely will catch Game 1 and be the designated hitter in Game 2.
“I don’t think he can catch both games, but I’ll find out,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Mike Redmond is the Twins back-up catcher.
According to weather.com, there is a 30% chance of rain today in Detroit. Although the current radar picture (as of 11:45 a.m. ET) looks clear:
The hourly forecast show temps in the high 50's through the afternoon with the chance of rain improving in the evening hours. Looks promising that we'll at least get the day part of this doubleheader in.
SB Nation’s Tigers blog Bless You Boys lets out some last minute nervous energy by taking a closer look at the two starting pitchers for Game 1 of today’s day-night doubleheader:
Among the many reasons the Minnesota Twins have played so well in September is the performance of Nick Blackburn. In three of his four starts this month, he’s allowed three runs or fewer. And in his past two starts, he’s given up two runs in 13.1 innings. That includes seven innings of shutout baseball versus the White Sox last week.
On the road this season, Blackburn is 4-7 with a 4.07 ERA in 16 starts. He’s split his two starts against the Tigers this season, but the last time he pitched at Comerica Park, Blackburn gave up nine runs (six earned) in less than four innings.
Technically, Rick Porcello is still a rookie. And the idea of the Tigers’ youngest pitcher starting one of their biggest games of the season is a little bit scary. But after 29 major league starts, is Kid Rick really some fresh-faced upstart anymore? He’s gotten better as the season has progressed, as his last start showed. Porcello held the Indians to one run in five innings of work.
Porcello is 1-2 with a 3.71 ERA against Minnesota in three starts this year. But he pitched well enough to win when he faced the Twins last weekend at the Metrodome. And Kid Rick’s only scoreless effort of the season was against these Twins, back in early May when he opposed Blackburn in the aforementioned blowout.
Because this series wasn’t already awesome enough, we’ve been blessed with a doubleheader to kick it off. Join us here for updates throughout the game. Meaningful baseball! In September! This is gonna be fun.
Since this game has been officially rained out, it will be scheduled as part of a day-night doubleheader for tomorrow with the first game starting 12:00 p.m. ET and the second game to start at 7:00 p.m. ET.
While the first pitch is supposed to be 7:05 p.m. ET, the tarp is still on the field in Detroit and the first pitch is delayed until further notice. When we know what is going on, we'll update accordingly.
The four game, season-defining series in Detroit between the Twins and Tigers starts at 7:05 p.m. ET tonight with Nick Blackburn going for Minnesota against 21-year-old Rick Porcello.
For the Twins fans, this series — win or lose — is everything they could’ve hoped for this season:
Two games back, with four to play in Detroit. I can’t deny, nor can anyone else: this is a pennant race. It is late September, spilling into October, and the Twins will be playing pressure-packed meaningful baseball yet again, for the third year in a row.
It doesn’t matter how these seven remaining games go. It’s everything we could have hoped for.
Over at Bless You Boys, Tigers fans are discussing their levels of nervousness about this series, which based on the comments, seem to range from “very” to “full panic attack.”
Join us here tonight for live updates of the game and post-game analysis.
I suppose the Gods of Sports Justice weren’t going to allow both the Lions and the Tigers to win for Detroit on the same day. And really, the Lions beating the Redskins probably used up all the good juju in the bottle.
And now, things get interesting. These two teams kick off a four-game series in the Metrodome tomorrow. If the Twins can win three out of four, they’re tied for the division lead. But if the Tigers can manage even two wins, they’ll keep a two-game lead with three games left for each team to play. Bottom line: the Twins really, really need to take three out of four in this series.
Detroit overcame a 5-0 fifth-inning deficit Saturday to ultimately win by the score of 12 to 5. Bless You Boys commends the Tigers’ ability to mount a comeback on the road:
But had we seen anything like this? Down 5-0 after four innings, on the road in hostile territory? Against a pitcher who hadn’t allowed more than three runs in his last six starts? With an offense that hadn’t scored a run in its last 14 innings?
Meanwhile, the Twins beat the Royals in Kansas City, 11-6. Denard Span, who knocked in six runs, is Twinkie Town’s hero of the moment:
Every time Denard Span comes to bat in the near future, all Kansas City Royals fans should avert their eyes for the greatness that his His Royal Span-ness.
[…] Denard is showing absolutely no ill signs of being hit in the back of the head. Which is nice. Three singles and a triple on the night have him a 4-for-5 evening, and the six runs batted in have accounted for 9% of his season totals in that category.
These two teams each play one more game before their four-game series, which begins Monday.
Meanwhile, the Twins put away the Royals in easy fashion, 9-4. Twin Cities’ Brian Murphy is suspicious that the win may have been a little too easy.
Minnesota’s 9-4 triumph at Kauffman Stadium came wrapped in a generous gift package from the Royals, who apparently were in no mood to play their typical spoiler role in the tightening American League Central race.
Twinkie Town responds:
Why is it that when a pitching staff has control issues and walk in some runs, the pitchers “give” the game away? Don’t the Twins deserve some credit for being patient and not swinging at bad pitches? Just curious.
On Monday, the Twins and Tigers will kick off a four-game series in Minnesota that could very well decide which team wins the AL Central this year. Until then, both teams will try to stabilize the battle lines in their favor. The two teams have ten games each left to play this season, and they’re separated in the standings by three games.
Check out Friday night’s Tigers-White Sox game thread at Bless You Boys.
If you’re a Twins enthusiast, check out Twinkie Town’s game thread covering their contest (?) against the Royals.
It was a scary win, but it was a win nonetheless.
The Indians’ Shin-Soo Choo hit a two-run home run in the 9th to cut the Tigers’ lead two just one, but Detroit held on to win, 6-5.
Justin Verlander was strong in his start, as he struck out 11 in seven innings of work. He allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks to earn his 17th victory of the season.
The Tigers were helped out offensively by a big four-run 4th inning. It was the bottom of the order that came through big in that inning, as Brandon Inge (the Tigers' No. 7), Gerald Laird (No. 8) and Ramon Santiago (No. 9) all had RBI singles in the fourth.
Detroit will travel to Chicago to start a three-game series with the White Sox on Friday. The Twins are in action Friday as well, as they head to Kansas City for a three-game set.
For more Tigers coverage, visit Bless You Boys.
With the Twins having an off-day, the Tigers are looking to extend their 2.5 game lead over the Twins lead in the AL Central. Carlos Guillen is doing his best to make sure that happens.
Guillen doubled to left center in the 7th inning to extend the Tigers’ lead to 5-2. Meanwhile, Justin Verlander is on the hill and absolutely dealing — he has 11 strikeouts in 6.1 innings of work so far.
The White Sox threatened in the ninth against Joe Nathan by getting the tying run to the plate, but Nathan prevailed by getting Alexei Ramirez to pop out to second to end the game.
The Twins were able to hang two and half games behind the Tigers in the AL Central race.
The Tigers have granted themselves yet another day-long reprieve, and don’t have to worry about the Twins sneaking up and snatching their AL Central lead just yet. With 11 games left to play, the Tigers topped the Indians in an offensive explosion, winning 11-3. Justin Masterson pitched a tight game for the Tigers, while Carlos Guillen homered from each side of the plate. And that, as they say, is that.
Meanwhile, the Twins have gained a couple of runs back on the White Sox and now lead 8-4 in the bottom of the seventh.
The Tigers and the Twins are still battling for that AL Central bid, and with the Tigers up 11-3 over Cleveland in the 9th, it’s imperative that the Twins keep their late-inning lead against the Sox. But that lead just got smaller: Jermaine Dye hit a two-run bomb to make the score 5-4 Twins. Oh, the intrigue!
Tigers 3, Indians 1. More from SBNation’s game recap:
Edwin Jackson pitched seven strong shutout innings to lead the Detroit Tigers to a 3-1 win over the Cleveland Indians in the opener of a three-game series at Progressive Field.
Jackson (13-7) allowed seven hits, struck out two batters and issued three walks for the Tigers, whose win on Sunday at Minnesota avoided what would have been a very costly weekend sweep. With this victory, the Tigers remained 2 1/2 games ahead of the Twins atop the AL Central after Minnesota defeated the White Sox on Tuesday.
“Edwin was just what the doctor ordered,” said Tigers manger Jim Leyland. “He pitched excellent, and the bullpen came in and did a good job. It was a good ball game for us.”
Ryan Raburn homered and Magglio Ordonez finished 3-for-3 in the victory
With Detroit having already won earlier in the night, it was essential that Minnesota emerge victorious against the White Sox. Which they did, winning 8-6:
Orlando Cabrera hit a two-run homer while Michael Cuddyer also homered and finished with three hits and two runs scored, as the Minnesota Twins kept pace in the AL Central race with an 8-6 win over the Chicago White Sox in the middle installment of a three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field. The win marked the 700th career managerial victory for Ron Gardenhire.[…]
Jason Kubel and Matt Tolbert also homered for the Twins, who remained 2 1/2 games behind the Tigers in the divisional race. Detroit topped Cleveland earlier Tuesday.
“All we can control is to go out and win as many games as we can,” said Twins closer Joe Nathan. “What they (Tigers) do right now is out of our control.” […]
Twins starter Jeff Manship lasted only 2 1/3 innings and gave up four runs on five hits.
In Daniel Hudson’s first start, White Sox fans saw plenty to be excited about. The 22-year-old got the loss, but only allowed one earned over five. More on his stuff from South Side Sox:
He attacked the zone — and lost them when he got a bit too fine with his 2-strike pitches. That was my main takeaway from this game. Hudson knows how to throw quality strikes, on the corners, in all counts. […]
He was trying to make the hitters chase out of the zone after he got ahead in the count, and the Twins weren’t biting when they had men on base. He’ll have to make a small adjustment when/if all teams take a similar approach, but it seems to me that he’s got the command to make that adjustment fairly swiftly.
As for his repertoire, we saw the addition of a curveball tonight. And although he generally grabbed strikes with the pitch (including one backwards K) it was anything but inspiring. He has to throw it from a little bit higher arm slot than his usual slingy, 3/4ths delivery in order to stay on top of it. This makes it very easy to pick up simply by watching his motion. That being said, Hudson’s other offerings allow for plenty of projection.
Hudson’s slider isn’t quite there yet either. I called it more of a back-up slider in his first couple relief outings, the type of pitch that can go a LONG way if he puts it in the wrong spot. […]
Hudson’s changeup looks great on TV, but hasn’t produced the swing-and-misses you’d expect as a surprising number of hitters have laid off of changes that start at the very bottom of the zone and drop out of the zone. I’d almost be willing to say he needs to get his changeup up a bit. […]
When Hudson finds that third pitch, when he figures out where to put that change in a 2-strike count, he’s gonna be good.
That’s not an if either, it’s when.
The Twins are now just 2.5 games back from the Tigers in the A.L. Central.
There was a scary moment for Minnesota, however, when outfielder Denard Span took a fastball off the back of his head in the sixth inning. He was down for a few moments, but was able to walk off the field under his own power.
The series will continue Tuesday at 8:11 EST with John Danks going against Jeff Manship.
For continuing coverage of the Twins push to the playoffs, check in with Twinkie Town.
We'll email you a reset link.
If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.
You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.
We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.
You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.
We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.
Choose an available username to complete sign up.
In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.