Gather 'round, because it's time to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call starts near the Minnesota State Fair, at Target Field in Minneapolis, where the Twins and Tigers put on a sloppy exhibition that gets an "E" for entertaining, if not execution.
Game of the Day: Tigers 10, Twins 9 (13 inn.)
Via the AP's account:
Six lead changes, five ties, four errors, two blown saves, 25 runners left on base and at least four botched double plays.
"It didn't look too good, obviously," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "But we hung in there and we snuck one."
Ugly stick: He's right about it not looking too good; Both teams handled double-play balls like they were live grenades. Because they were short-handed, the Twins used three pitchers from their starting rotation and eighth overall. They also blew leads of 7-3 in the eighth inning and 9-8 in the ninth. They'll be feeling the effects of this one for a while.
El Señor Cabeza de Papa: Though he blew a save in the 11th, Tigers closer Jose Valverde(notes) (right) went a craeer-high three innings to lasso a three-headed calf of a ballgame. He also did his dance, the "Big Potato Stomp," on every follow-through.
We're all gonna get Laird: The Tigers went ahead for good when Gerald Laird(notes) connected for a solo home run against Minnesota's eighth pitcher of the night, Nick Blackburn(notes), who had been scheduled to start tonight. The Twins also used left-hander Brian Duensing(notes) for two innings on one day of rest after he threw 103 pitches in the first game of the series. La Velle Neal of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune tries to identify the remains of the Twins' rotation.
With the Tigers out of the race, the biggest winners of the night were the White Sox who, while idle, closed within three games in the loss column of first place.
Circle the wagons: The Twins, already playing with Jim Thome(notes), Jason Kubel(notes) and Orlando Hudson(notes) on the bench because of nagging injuries, lost starting pitcher Scott Baker(notes) because of elbow pain after only two innings. They didn't have relievers Matt Capps(notes) and Brian Fuentes(notes) available. Should broadcaster Bert Blyleven have volunteered?
Hat in hand: Before the game, manager Ron Gardenhire practically begged the front office to add reinforcements from Triple-A. Was general manager Bill Smith, too, off watching Carlos Mencia's stand-up act?
Hello, imaginary friend!: There also was Valverde's curious habit of saluting an invisible creature, escaped from the fair, that took roost between the mound and first base. Valverde went over to say "yo" after every strikeout. Maybe he was looking for slugger Miguel Cabrera(notes), who left the game in the sixth because of an injury.
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They Also Played...
Yankees 5, Athletics 0: One starting pitcher, Dallas Braden(notes), left in the sixth inning because of heat-related cramps. The other, CC Sabathia(notes), pitched eight innings of one-hit ball and was apparently ready to hit the blocking sled afterward.
"I could see myself playing the offensive line," Sabathia said.
Indians 6, Mariners 3: If the Indians were a box of Cracker Jacks, Shin-Soo Choo(notes) would be the cool prize. If the Indians were a bag of Chex Mix, Choo would be the li'l rye crisp. If the Indians were a ham and cheese sandwich, Choo would be the ham and the cheese.
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