If you didn't watch the one game playoff between the Twins and Tigers last night, you missed a beauty of a ballgame. Games like this are the essence of what playoff baseball should be. It was full of drama and great performances from superstars and ordinary players alike. The game lasted 12 innings, the score flip-flopping several times. If you like solid pitching efforts, you got it. If you like to see the home run ball, there were plenty of those. If you like great defense, both sides flashed enough leather to generate a week's worth of web gems. Clutch hitting and small ball? Oh, that was there, too. This game really had everything and both teams played their guts out.
Just some of the great stories of the game:
Rick Porcello. Porcello gave the Tigers one of the best outings of his young career. He pitched 5.2 innings, surrendering one earned run on a home run by Jason Kubel and an unearned run on a poor throw. He struck out 8 and only walked 2. Leyland might have been best served to have left him in.
Fernando Rodney. Rodney may have ended up the tough luck loser in this game, but it wasn't due to of lack of effort on his part. Rodney pitched 3 complete innings before giving up hits to Carlos Gomez and Alexei Casilla in the 12th, his 4th inning of work.
Brandon Inge. Inge was an absolute beast at third base in this game, making several incredible plays. The plays he made would have been considered spectacular for just about any third-sacker, but Inge doing it on knees held together with crazy glue, duct tape, and prayer is nothing short of amazing. As much pain as this guy has to be in, no one would've blamed him if he hadn't played at all, let alone put forth the effort he did. And despite all that, he's still busting ass down the line in the 12th inning to take away the possible double play.
The Home Runs from Miguel Cabrera, Jason Kubel, Orlando Cabrera, and Magglio Ordonez were all huge. Miggy's HR showed that he could be more than just a distraction to his team and Ordonez's sent the game to extra innings. Kubel's HR brought the Minnesota crowd back in the game and Orlando Cabrera's gave the Twins their first (though brief) lead of the game.
Twins Bullpen. Ron Gardenhire made full use of his bullpen and they responded. They kept the score close, keeping the Twins in it until they were finally able to solve Fernando Rodney.
Twins Offense. They knew they had to step up when Justin Morneau went down with the stress fracture in his back. This game wasn't just the Joe Mauer show, as everyone pitched in. The only Twins who failed to tally hits were Brendan Harris, who was hit by a pitch in his one at bat and Jose Morales. All the other players had at least one hit in the game. The speed of guys like Carlos Gomez was also on display, on both sides of the field.
Twins Defense. How big was that double play in the ninth that got Nathan out of a jam? Or the throw home in the 12th from Punto with the bases loaded?
Class. There was a lot of class on both sides, especially in the post game comments from Mauer and Cabrera, who were very complimentary of their Detroit opponents.
See this article on Yahoo for the top 10 plays of the game and the next time someone tells you they don't watch baseball because it's boring, tie them to the couch and put this game on the TV for them. If they still think the sport is boring after that, then they have no soul.
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