MINNEAPOLIS – What in the world did we watch yesterday in Minnesota?
It’s Thursday morning, and many of us are still trying to digest that baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins on Wednesday afternoon.
It was... well... it was *something,* that’s for sure.
After an exhilarating extra-inning victory on Tuesday night, which was fueled by a ninth-inning, game-tying grand slam from Eric Haase, the Tigers miraculously woke up Wednesday with a chance to win the series.
And it looked like it was going to be smooth sailing.
The Tigers scored two runs in the second inning and eight runs in the fourth inning to give Wily Peralta a hefty 10-0 lead. You can just sim the rest, right? This one was over.
Well, that all came crashing down when the Twins started the bottom of the fourth inning with a home run, three singles and a grand slam to cut the lead in half before making a single out. Minnesota would tack on a sixth run before Kyle Funkhouser stranded the bases loaded.
The fact that the Twins brought the tying run to the plate in the same inning they fell down by 10 runs was jarring, but the Tigers appeared to have dodged a bullet.
Three more runs in the top of the sixth inning gave the Tigers a comfortable seven-run cushion, but it turned out no lead was safe. The Twins waited until the bottom of the eighth inning before blasting *four* home runs to make it a 13-12 game.
In the top of the ninth, Haase stroked a three-run double and scored on Jeimer Candelario’s double to give the Tigers a 17-12 lead.
That had to be enough, right? RIGHT!?
Well, when Gregory Soto started the bottom of the ninth by walking a batter and allowing a home run to make it 17-14, the lead sure didn’t feel safe. Luckily, he retired the next three batters to put that wonderful, yet terrible, baseball game to rest.
The Tigers are the first team in MLB history to lose the home run battle by seven and still win a game. They used a combination of 16 hits and nine walks to explode for 17 runs, while the Twins scored 13 of their 14 runs with the long ball.
Derek Hill led the way with three hits after jumping into the No. 2 spot for Jonathan Schoop, who was scratched with back tightness.
Akil Baddoo, Jeimer Candelario and the 7-9 hitters, Willi Castro, Harold Castro and Grayson Greiner, all chipped in with a pair of hits.
Haase had three walks in addition to his three-run double. Robbie Grossman and Greiner each walked twice.
The Tigers hit six doubles and one triple while only striking out six times. It was an offensive masterpiece. The pitching: Not so much.
But when the dust settled, the Tigers escaped with a series win (somehow) and now return to Comerica Park to host the Baltimore Orioles.
Remember that 25-game stretch of games against the worst teams in the American League that we talked about earlier in the month? This is the final series of that stretch, so the Tigers need to take advantage before the schedule gets much tougher.