Fox picks up short-handed Twins in 4-3 win
MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—The Minnesota Twins chose Matt Fox to start Friday’s game not because of his dazzling stuff or eye-popping statistics. He was their only option.
Turns out, he was the perfect choice.
Denard Span(notes) delivered the go-ahead single in the seventh inning, emergency starter Fox pitched 5 2-3 innings in his major league debut, and the depleted Minnesota Twins beat the Texas Rangers 4-3 on Friday night.
Fox said he got the call about his promotion around 2:30 a.m. and estimates he only got about 45 minutes of sleep.
“From the time I got the call last night until I got here, everything went really fast,” Fox said. “I was just speechless and didn’t know what to say to people. I was so excited.”
Cora said he decided to try and reach third as soon as he saw the ball roll through the infield.
“I like the aggressiveness, but sometimes you just have to be certain,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “The situation will always dictate how aggressive you can be.”
“We got ‘em over and got ‘em in. That’s the way you play the game,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We never gave into them and heck of a ballgame for us.”
The Twins were scrambling to find enough arms just to get through the game against a solid Texas lineup. Besides Blackburn, starter Brian Duensing(notes) was also used on Thursday. Relievers Jeff Manship(notes), Jesse Crain(notes) and Matt Guerrier(notes) have been used extensively the past few days and were not available.
Fox’s debut was more impressive considering it came on a night when 34 of the Twins all-time greats were in attendance.
The game started a half hour later than usual so the Twins could honor the 50 greatest players in team history during a pregame ceremony. Twins legends such as Harmon Killebrew, Kent Hrbek and Tony Oliva were introduced and gathered around home plate as video tributes played on the big screen and fans cheered.
“I was definitely surprised, but it was a good surprise,” he said.
The sold out crowd at chilly Target Field gave Fox a standing ovation after Gardenhire removed him with two outs in the sixth.
“I just told him I hope you took it all in,” Gardenhire said. “First start, you’re out here and you pitched your tail off. I hope you took it all in and understand that was a big league performance. I just wanted him to know that. That was pretty good.”
The Rangers knew next to nothing about Fox, and it showed.
“When a guy does something like that, it’s just location,” Kinsler said. “We just weren’t able to put anything together against him.”
Notes: Cliff Lee(notes) returned to the Rangers after flying to Dallas on Wednesday to receive a cortisone shot in his aching back. Lee will throw a bullpen session on Saturday, after which the team will determine if he will make his next scheduled start on Tuesday. … Twins starter Scott Baker(notes) received a cortisone shot after leaving Thursday’s start after two innings. Manager Ron Gardenhire said Baker will likely miss his next two starts. … An MRI and X-ray on Twins’ OF Jason Kubel’s(notes) left wrist revealed no significant damage. Kubel has missed the last three games, but hopes to return to the lineup on Sunday.