Due to recent time commitments and my own general idiocy I would like to apologize to my one loyal reader at this time for the tardiness of my posts. Sorry Mom!
Game 1 (Final Score: 7-2, Tigers win)
Bonderman started the series against a team that the Tigers haven’t played well in the last few years. The opportunity to be a game over .500 and pick up a full game on a team in the Central isn’t tremendous pressure in the larger scheme but this is a team that hasn’t had a winning record very often and small victories make fans like me feel better. Thus Bonderman’s stellar performance helped to wash away some of my bitter feelings towards the team and its “pitching prospects” of past years and poor season performances. Whew.
The hitters provided a fair lead in the top of the fourth with three runs scoring on a pair of singles. Polanco, on third after hitting a single, making second on an error, and advancing on Young’s groundout, was joined on base by White after he earned a walk. Rodriguez’s single pushed everyone ahead a base and gave Monroe two base runners (1-0). His single gave Shelton the bases loaded and Shelton’s single scored two more runs before Infante and Logan stymied the inning with ineffective hitting (3-0).
Bonderman was excellent through three innings. He got some defensive help from Pudge’s pickoff of Joe Mauer in the first after Mauer’s double, but Pudge wasn’t able to help with Shannon Stewart’s double in the fourth. Mauer and Justin Morneau helped the Tigers by making outs but they were sandwiched around Lew Ford’s run scoring single (3-1). With Torri Hunter at the plate, Pudge erased another Twin base runner, catching Ford trying to take second. In the fifth, the Twins touched Bonderman up for another run when Jacque Jones singled Hunter (single and stolen base) home from second but by then the Tigers had doubled their run output for the game.
Kyle Lohse issued another walk (a rarity from a Twins pitcher) to Inge to start the inning. He got Polanco to fly out but Young’s fly cleared the fences for two runs (5-1). After White’s groundout and Rodriguez’s single, Matt Guerrier came in for Lohse. Monroe greeted him with a double and took third on a wild pitch to Shelton after Rodriguez had scored, but Shelton ended the inning (6-1). Guerrier gave up three singles in the seventh and Rodriguez earned an RBI with his groundout to complete the scoring (7-2).
Terry Mulholland continued the effective Twins’ relief in the eighth and ninth and Bonderman finished out the game using only 107 pitches.
Game 2 (Final Score: 8-1, Tigers win)
Another excellent start supported with plenty of runs. It makes me wish the Tigers would save some runs for when they need them but I’ll take the win and so did Robertson. Despite surrendering just singles the entire game and working against his penchant for issuing walks, Robertson was still in the hole early. The game started fine with Stewart jumping on the third pitch for a groundout but Luis Rivas took first on a bunt single and second on Young’s error. He scored on Ford’s single but Hunter erased Ford with his 5-4-3 double play (1-0).
The Tigers evened the game up in the second and pulled ahead in the third. Monroe hit a two out double and scored on an Infante single after the Shelton walk (1-1). Logan drew a walk but Inge failed with runners at the corners after his grounder was gobbled up for the third out. In the third, Polanco led off with a double and White earned a one out walk. Rodriguez singled Polanco home from third, which he’d taken on Joe Mays’ wild pitch (2-1). Monroe plated White but Shelton’s hard hit ball was directly at Rivas and was turned into two outs (3-1).
Infante struck again in the fourth with a leadoff homer and was followed home by Logan, who’d singled, on Inge’s double (5-1). Polanco sacrificed Inge to third and Smith made out two with his grounder. White took first on an error by third baseman Michael Cuddyer and Inge scored (6-1).
One more Tiger run was added in each of the fifth and seventh innings. Infante inefficiently grounded out Monroe home from third (walked, second on a wild pitch, third on Shelton’s groundout) only to be followed by a Logan double and an Inge walk. They were stranded when Polanco finally made one of his rare outs but he later delivered in the seventh. Polanco was at bat with one out used and the bases loaded; A Shelton walk, Infante fly out, Logan’s reached on an error, and Inge’s walk had already passed. He plated Shelton and watched the rest of the inning go by on a pair of fielder’s choices from Smith and White. And Robertson pitched on.
Game 3 (Final Score: 2-6, Twins win)
No pitch-by-pitch info so this will be mercifully short. Carlos Silva provided the starting pitching the Twins wanted and didn’t get in the first two games, limiting the Tigers to a pair of runs on plenty of hits and no walks. Shelton stepped up big, scoring twice with three hits, while hitting third in the lineup. It was an off day for Pudge and Young so the Tigers had three mostly dead bats between Gomez, Infante, and Wilson hitting today.
Jason Johnson ended his streak of near domination, managing only 5.2 innings on 90 pitches. He had as ugly a first inning as I can imagine, allowing two runs on his wild pitch/strike three when he calmly watched Morneau and Mauer score without covering home. He gave up a single and two walks to load the bases, all with two outs. LeCroy’s single scored an additional two runs and the Tigers never recovered. Johnson was tolerable the rest of the way but it was still a putrid way to lose a chance at a sweep.