Minnesota 2, Detroit 7 (box)
Magic Number 2
Carl Pavano was acquired to pitch this game. After starting the year with the Indians, Pavano was traded to Minnesota in large part because of the success he had versus Detroit. The move paid immediate dividends when Pavano dominated the Tigers in his first start with the Twins, and he helped to beat the again three weeks later.
Last night, the Tigers turned the tables and pounced on Pavano, sending Minnesota to a 7-2 loss and dropping them to three games back with just four games to go.
It certainly didn’t look like it was going to be an easy Tigers’ win early, however. After retiring the lead off hitter in the first, Eddie Bonine allowed back-to-back singles to the next two Twins. Jason Kubel followed with an RBI single of his own ahead of a walk to Micheal Cuddyer that loaded the bases with just one out.
Delmon Young hit what should have been a sacrifice fly, but Curtis Granderson misjudged the ball and it sailed over his head. Granderson recovered quickly and kept the runners to one base each. With the sacks still full and one out, Bonine got himself out of further trouble with a double play ground out.
The Tigers finally got after Pavano in the second inning, as two singles and a walk loaded the bases with no one out. Brandon Inge then drove home two runs with a double and one batter later, Ramon Santiago gave the Tigers the lead with a two-run single.
Detroit would add three more in the fifth, when Magglio Ordonez cleared the bases with a two-out, three-run double of his own. Pavano’s day was done after 4.2 innings in which he yeilded seven earned runs. He had allowed just seven earned runs in his first five starts against the Tigers this season.
- Magglio Ordonez- On August 1, Maggs was hitting all of .258, but since then he has hit .378 including a a league leading .410 in September to bring his season average to .299.
- Eddie Bonine- Bonine won for the first time this year, and finally got some support. After the rough first inning, Bonine allowed just two hits and a walk over his final four frames, and did not allow a runner past first base.
- Zach Miner- Since his blow up on Sept. 10, Miner has made eight appearances and has not allowed a run covering 12 innings. His 2.1 innings of scoreless relief last night prevented the Twins from making another comeback.
- Brandon Lyon- Lyon may have been the goat in Tuesday’s opener, but he bailed the Tigers out of a Miner jam in the eighth, striking out both hitters he faced and stranding two inherited runners.
- Carl Pavano- The Tigers managed 11 hits against Pavano in their last meeting, but none went for extra bases, and they could plate only two runs. Last night, Pavano officially lost his mojo versus Detroit as the Tigers scored five of their seven runs on doubles by Inge and Ordonez. He’s no Joe Mays, that’s for sure.
What’s on tap
Possibly the last meaningful game of the regular season, is all. Scott Baker (14-9, 4.48) will try to stave off elimination for Minnesota, as a loss would seal the division for the Tigers. Nate Robertson (2-2, 5.66) makes his final regular season start for Detroit, and hopes to out pitch Baker for the second time in two weeks. If the Tigers win, it’s all over, as the division title would reside in Motown. A Tigers’ loss means they could have to win two of three over the weekend against Chicago.
It’s not over yet, but it’s close. Might as well win today and put this thing to bed. I would hate to face a must win game on Saturday with Alfredo Figaro making his first start at any level since June.