Detroit 2, Minnesota 6 (box)
Magic Number 13
When Don Kelly couldn’t find a fly ball off the bat of Orlando Cabrera in the eighth inning of Saturday’s Tigers/Twins showdown, the luck appeared to run out on the Tigers. For seven and a half innings, Detroit had battled the Twins, battled their arch-nemesis Carl Pavano, and battled the Metrodome. And for seven and a half innings, the Tigers were winning those battles.
Justin Verlander allowed a solo homer to Joe Mauer that tied the game at 1-1 in the first inning. Through two frames, Verlander had labored through 42 pitches, but he began to work at keeping both his pitches and his pitch count down. He did both so well that he took the mound in the eighth inning, protecting a one run lead.
After Nick Punto struck out to start the Twins’ half of the eighth, Denard Span reached on a single to left. Verlander ran the count full on Orlando Cabrera, and Span was off with the pitch. On the ninth pitch of the at bat, Cabrera popped up to medium depth left field for what should have been the second out. But Kelly could not locate the ball amidst the Metrodome roof and by the time he found it, his dive was too late and the ball fell to the turf for a double. Cabrera celebrated at second base as if he had somehow done something good, but the fact is this one was all Metrodome.
Instead of a runner at first with two down, now the Twins had runners at second and third with one out. Mauer was walked to load the bases, but Jason Kubel dumped a bloop single to left, scoring two runs to give the Twins the lead, and end the day for Verlander.
- Placido Polanco– Polly scored both runs for Detroit and had four hits, including a double. It was Detroit’s only extra-base hit in a 12-hit attack.
- Justin Verlander– JV was the hard luck loser in this game. His final line shows five earned runs allowed, but if Kelly can find the ball, most of that damage probably doesn’t happen.
- Carlos Guillen– Guillen took the 0 for 4 along with two K’s from Pavano, only he and Adam Everett were hitless among starters.
- The Metrodome– How happy will every non-Twins fan be when this place goes away? Honestly, I don’t even care if Detroit wins tomorrow, just knowing that it will be the last time I have to watch baseball in that horrible building will be like a victory in itself. Of course an actual victory would be better.
What’s on tap
So no pressure on Nate Robertson then, right? Scott Baker will look to turn around his personal results against Detroit this season as he tries tyo extend the Twins’ current six game winning streak. Robertson will start in place of Jarrod Washburn, and will try to halt the momentum of the Twins. A win for Detroit and the Twins will be three games back, a loss would mean that just one game would separate these two clubs. It should be all hands on deck for Detroit, as Robertson is coming off a sore groin (his own), and the Tigers have an off day on Monday.