Twins 4, Rangers 2
MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—It was a game for all ages in Minnesota Wednesday night— started by a battery of 41-year olds and finished by a pair of twentysomethings.
Terry Tiffee hit a go-ahead two-run double in his major league debut and Jesse Crain pitched two perfect innings for his first career win, leading the Twins to a dramatic 4-2 victory over the Texas Rangers.
It was the Rangers’ third straight loss, dropping them five games behind Boston in the AL wild-card race. The Red Sox beat Anaheim 12-7.
“I was really nervous when I went out the field, but about halfway through the inning it went away,” said Tiffee, who replaced Luis Rivas in the sixth because of an injury to Rivas’ toe. “That last at-bat I was just telling myself to see the ball and hit the ball.”
Minnesota’s battery combination of Terry Mulholland and Pat Borders marked the first pair of 41-year-old batterymates to start a major league game since June 3, 1945, when Curt Davis and Clyde Sukeforth did it for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
“You sit down and say, ‘Wow, this is entertainment,”’ manager Ron Gardenhire said of his veteran pair. “And, it’s a tribute to those guys and how they prepare.
“At 29, I couldn’t even bend down to get the ball,” he joked.
Crain, 23, was 1-year-old when Borders was drafted by Toronto in 1982.
“What’s funny is I never even met Pat until he came out to the mound before the seventh,” Crain said. “When he did I said, ‘Hey, good to meet you. Anyways, this is what I throw.”’
Trailing 2-1, the Twins scored three runs in the eighth with the last two coming on Tiffee’s high chopper off Francisco Cordero (3-1) that hopped over first base. Cordero had converted 21 straight save opportunities.
“I tried to get something in the air or hit something hard and neither of them happened,” Tiffee joked.
“That was way foul, that’s all I got to say,” Cordero said.
Texas manager Buck Showalter thought so too, which is why he came out to argue with first-base umpire Doug Eddings.
“I asked him if he lost it in the lights or something, and he said he was 110 percent sure he got it right,” Showalter said.
“We should have done a lot of things to not make that matter,” he added.
Eric Young led off the game with a double off Terry Mulholland and scored on Michael Young’s RBI single to make it 1-0.
The Twins came right back when Stewart led off the home half with a home run. The 391-foot shot off Park was Stewart’s 10th of the season.
Kevin Mench hit a two-out RBI double in the third to make it 2-1.
Park allowed one run and seven hits in 7 1-3 innings, striking out four and walking none.
Mulholland allowed two runs and eight hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked one.
“Mulholland and Borders are the type of people that make real good decisions this time of year, and they did,” Showalter said.
Stewart has 21 career leadoff homers, and five this season. … Tiffee got a single in his first major-league at-bat and went 2-for-2. … It was Minnesota’s 36th comeback victory. … Texas has lost eight of nine at the Metrodome. … Cordero had not lost since Sept. 23, 2003, at Oakland.