Twins lack clutch hits in chilly opener, fall to Tigers

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 2, 2013 - 7:21 AM

The Twins had their chances to win their opener, but they failed to generate a clutch hit in chilly Target Field.

 

Quick, someone reassure Aaron Hicks: He might have a 20-year career, and it’s possible he will never face a pitcher as tough as the one he drew for his first at-bat in the big leagues.

Come to think of it, better remind the entire Twins lineup. No, they’re not all like Justin Verlander.

The Twins lost on Opening Day for the fifth consecutive season on Monday, battling deep-freeze weather and one of the most unhittable aces in baseball before absorbing a 4-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers. But they followed a plausible script for beating Verlander’s Tigers by keeping the game close, making the starter work hard, and then trying to mount a comeback against Detroit’s bullpen.

For the want of a clutch hit — the Twins left five runners stranded, four of them in scoring position, in the first two Verlander-free innings — it could have been the Twins warming themselves with a victory instead of space heaters.

“One more big hit, we get it tied up. We just didn’t finish it,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We got them up there and had some really good at-bats. But we just didn’t finish them.”

Wilkin Ramirez, a Tiger himself for 15 games in 2009, had a shot, pinch hitting for Pedro Florimon with the bases loaded (on a double and two walks by lefthander Drew Smyly) and two out in the sixth inning. Ramirez got down 0-2 with aggressive swings, took a wild pitch that bounced into the Detroit dugout and scored the Twins’ first run, ran the count to 3-2, but then hit the top of a fastball clocked at 94 miles per hour, grounding it to short.

“I felt like I was on a couple of pitches,” Ramirez said, “but he got me inside.”

Next inning, Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham singled with one out and Smyly walked Justin Morneau, loading the bases again. Ryan Doumit greeted right-hander Al Alburquerque with a single to left that closed the gap to 3-2, but the Tigers reliever stuck with his diving slider to whiff Trevor Plouffe for the second out. He threw a couple more to Chris Parmelee, the last one a 3-2 pitch that broke so sharply, it nearly hit Parmelee’s shoetop as he swung and missed.

“A surefire strikeout pitch,” commiserated Tigers manager Jim Leyland. “Sometimes that slider is hard to lay off of.”

“We had some opportunities and it just didn’t happen today,” said Doumit. “Really, it boils down to that.”

It does, and that’s been a familiar feeling in the Twins’ clubhouse the past few years. This one was made a little worse by the miserably cold weather, and because they wasted Vance Worley’s Minnesota debut, an outing that was, eventually, so heartening. The righthander, acquired from Philadelphia last winter for Ben Revere, got knocked around by the Tigers for a couple of innings, giving up two runs in the first and another in the second. Detroit collected six hits in its first 11 plate appearances, and looked every bit like the defending American League champions.

Then Twins shortstop Pedro Florimon snagged Miguel Cabrera’s hot smash deep in the hole at short and turned it into an out. The play seemed to turn Worley, the “Vanimal” who didn’t even wear long sleeves in the 35-degree chill, into a different pitcher, too; he gave up only two singles from that point on, and finished his six-inning stint without letting a ball tleave the infield over his final nine hitters.

“That was the report on [Worley] — he’s a bulldog-type guy, and you could see it,” said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. “He was coming right after us, and he wasn’t messing around. He’s a fierce competitor, and that was our report on him.”

Few competitors are as fierce as Verlander, though, which helped carry him through five grueling innings in the cold, which missed by two degrees being the coldest opener in Minnesota history. He made Hicks’ debut at-bat a short one, striking out the 23-year-old rookie on four pitches, the last one a sweeping, 77-mph curveball. “He threw him some nasty breaking balls,” Gardenhire said, “so welcome to the big leagues.”

Verlander struck out Hicks two more times, too, busting a four-seam fastball on his hands in the third inning, then going back to the curve in the fifth.

“I wasn’t trying to teach him anything,” said Verlander, who left after throwing 91 pitches in five innings, striking out seven. “I’m trying to get him out.”





 

  • related content

  • Photo gallery: Detroit 4, Twins 2

    Monday April 1, 2013

    Opening day of the 2013 season at Target Field. Tigers’ ace Justin Verlander pitched five shutout innings and won...

  • Photo gallery: Opening Day: Fans are ready (and bundled up)

    Monday April 1, 2013

    Sunny and 34 degrees for the Twins home opener on Monday, April 01.

  • Twins Insider: Mauer might stick in No. 2 spot

    Tuesday April 2, 2013

    With Joe Mauer in the No. 2 hole, “that’s what you want,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “You put Mauer there, and it just flows.”

  • Twins notes: Season opener Twins' coldest since 1962

    Tuesday April 2, 2013

    The temperature at Target Field when Vance Worley threw the first pitch of the 2013 season was 35 degrees, only slightly higher than the 33 degrees that the 1962 Twins...

  • Game recap: Detroit 4, Twins 2

    Monday April 1, 2013

    GAME RECAPIMPACT PLAYERJustin Verlander, DetroitThe Tigers ace shut out the Twins for five innings and won an Opening Day start...

  • Down Swinging! Twins Chris Parmelee goes down swinging to end the 7th...

  • Minnesota Twins fans try to stay warm on opening day in the upper dec...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Dallas 6:00 PM
Orlando
Sacramento 6:00 PM
Indiana
Toronto 6:00 PM
Washington
Houston 6:30 PM
Detroit
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Cleveland 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Oklahoma City 7:00 PM
Memphis
Portland 7:30 PM
Milwaukee
LA Clippers 8:00 PM
San Antonio
Charlotte 8:00 PM
Denver
Phoenix 9:30 PM
Golden State
Washington 12:00 PM
Montreal
NY Islanders 1:00 PM
Detroit
Arizona 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Los Angeles 6:00 PM
Boston
Florida 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Carolina 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Dallas 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Columbus 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Edmonton 9:00 PM
Calgary
Chicago 9:30 PM
San Jose
Boston College 11:00 AM
Clemson
Western Mich 11:00 AM
Eastern Mich
NC State 11:00 AM
Georgia Tech
Wisconsin 11:00 AM
Iowa
Stony Brook 11:00 AM
New Hampshire
Notre Dame 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Providence 11:00 AM
St Johns
Davidson 11:00 AM
Saint Josephs
Xavier 11:00 AM
Seton Hall
Tulane 11:00 AM
Temple
Auburn 11:00 AM
Tennessee
Texas Tech 11:00 AM
West Virginia
Arkansas 12:00 PM
Florida
Penn State 12:00 PM
Illinois
Lipscomb 12:00 PM
Stetson
South Florida 12:00 PM
Tulsa
Bradley 12:05 PM
Indiana State
UMass Lowell 1:00 PM
Binghamton
Green Bay 1:00 PM
Cleveland State
Georgetown 1:00 PM
Creighton
Coll of Charleston 1:00 PM
Delaware
Villanova 1:00 PM
DePaul
Arkansas State 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Vermont 1:00 PM
Hartford
TCU 1:00 PM
Iowa State
Kennesaw St 1:00 PM
Jacksonville
Kansas State 1:00 PM
Kansas
Boston Univ 1:00 PM
Lehigh
Illinois State 1:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
Albany 1:00 PM
Maine
Butler 1:00 PM
Marquette
LSU 1:00 PM
Miss State
Mount St Marys 1:00 PM
Sacred Heart
Richmond 1:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Virginia Tech 1:00 PM
Wake Forest
IUPU-Ft Wayne 1:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
Loyola-Maryland 2:00 PM
Army
Tenn Tech 2:00 PM
Belmont
Bethune-Cookman 2:00 PM
Florida A&M
Valparaiso 2:00 PM
Ill-Chicago
UAB 2:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Idaho State 2:00 PM
North Dakota
Evansville 2:05 PM
Drake
Rutgers 2:15 PM
Indiana
Ball State 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Southern U 3:00 PM
Alcorn State
UNC-Wilmington 3:00 PM
Drexel
Coastal Carolina 3:00 PM
Gardner-Webb
Morgan State 3:00 PM
Howard
William & Mary 3:00 PM
James Madison
North Carolina 3:00 PM
Louisville
Coppin State 3:00 PM
MD-Eastern Shore
Ole Miss 3:00 PM
Missouri
Wichita State 3:00 PM
Northern Iowa
Loyola Marymount 3:00 PM
Pacific
Winthrop 3:00 PM
Radford
George Washington 3:00 PM
Rhode Island
Bryant 3:00 PM
Robert Morris
Long Island 3:00 PM
St Francis-NY
Fair-Dickinson 3:00 PM
St Francis-PA
Massachusetts 3:00 PM
Saint Louis
Georgia 3:00 PM
South Carolina
Central Conn St 3:00 PM
Wagner
SIU Edwardsville 3:15 PM
Eastern Ill
Ohio 3:30 PM
Central Mich
Eastern Ky 3:30 PM
Morehead State
Incarnate Word 3:30 PM
Nicholls
Campbell 3:30 PM
UNC-Asheville
Vanderbilt 3:30 PM
Texas A&M
South Alabama 4:00 PM
ULM
Western Carolina 4:00 PM
UNC Greensboro
Detroit 4:00 PM
Milwaukee
Idaho 4:05 PM
Eastern Wash
Marshall 4:30 PM
Louisiana Tech
Jackson State 4:30 PM
Miss Valley St
Houston Baptist 4:30 PM
Sam Houston St
Louisiana 4:30 PM
Texas State
Denver 4:30 PM
South Dakota St
Oral Roberts 4:30 PM
South Dakota
Texas 5:00 PM
Baylor
Citadel 5:00 PM
Chattanooga
Fresno State 5:00 PM
Colorado State
Yale 5:00 PM
Cornell
Ark-Pine Bluff 5:00 PM
Grambling St
Nebraska 5:00 PM
Minnesota
Hampton 5:00 PM
Norfolk State
Purdue 5:00 PM
Northwestern
Alabama A&M 5:00 PM
Prairie View
Dartmouth 5:00 PM
Princeton
Pepperdine 5:00 PM
St Marys-CA
NC A&T 5:00 PM
Savannah State
Delaware State 5:00 PM
SC State
Western Ky 5:00 PM
Southern Miss
Nevada 5:00 PM
Wyoming
Akron 6:00 PM
Bowling Green
Colgate 6:00 PM
Bucknell
FIU 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Brown 6:00 PM
Columbia
George Mason 6:00 PM
Duquesne
NC Central 6:00 PM
East Tenn St
Saint Peters 6:00 PM
Iona
Alabama 6:00 PM
Kentucky
Abilene Christian 6:00 PM
Lamar
Char Southern 6:00 PM
Liberty
Hawaii 6:00 PM
Long Beach State
New Orleans 6:00 PM
McNeese State
Lafayette 6:00 PM
Navy
Elon 6:00 PM
Northeastern
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
Old Dominion
Harvard 6:00 PM
Penn
La Salle 6:00 PM
St Bonaventure
Furman 6:00 PM
Samford
TX A&M-CC 6:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
Duke 6:00 PM
Virginia
Mercer 6:00 PM
Wofford
Northern Ky 6:00 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
USC Upstate 6:00 PM
North Florida
Longwood 6:00 PM
Presbyterian
Ark-Little Rock 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
SE Missouri St 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
CS-Northridge 7:00 PM
UC Riverside
Towson 7:00 PM
Hofstra
UT Martin 7:00 PM
Murray State
San Jose St 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Rice 7:00 PM
North Texas
Toledo 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
Oklahoma 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
San Francisco 7:00 PM
San Diego
Utah State 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Northwestern St 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
UCF 7:00 PM
SMU
Southern Ill 7:05 PM
Missouri State
Troy 7:15 PM
Texas-Arlington
Jacksonville St 7:30 PM
Tennessee St
Alabama State 7:30 PM
Texas Southern
Stanford 7:30 PM
Washington St
Santa Clara 8:00 PM
BYU
TX-Pan American 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
Northern Ariz 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
Middle Tennessee 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Weber State 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
Chicago State 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
UC Santa Barbara 9:00 PM
UC Irvine
Memphis 9:00 PM
Gonzaga
Air Force 9:00 PM
UNLV
Cal Poly 9:00 PM
UC Davis
Seattle 9:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
Montana State 9:05 PM
Portland State
Montana 9:05 PM
Sacramento St
Colorado 9:30 PM
UCLA
UMKC 9:30 PM
Utah Valley U
Mount St Marys 0 1st Half 17:51
Sacred Heart 3
Texas-El Paso 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
Arkansas State 11:00 AM
Georgia State
Bryant 12:00 PM
Robert Morris
Central Conn St 12:00 PM
Wagner
Fairleigh Dickinson 12:00 PM
St Francis-PA
Long Island 12:00 PM
St Francis-NY
Bethune-Cookman 12:00 PM
Florida A&M
Longwood 12:00 PM
Campbell
Charleston Southern 12:00 PM
Winthrop
Louisiana Tech 12:00 PM
Marshall
Ohio U 12:00 PM
Central Michigan
Western Mich 12:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
Coppin State 1:00 PM
MD-Eastern Shore
Incarnate Word 1:00 PM
Nicholls
Samford 1:00 PM
East Tenn St
Western Carolina 1:00 PM
Furman
UNC Greensboro 1:00 PM
Wofford
Gardner-Webb 1:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
Liberty 1:00 PM
High Point
Morgan State 1:00 PM
Howard
Presbyterian 1:00 PM
UNC-Asheville
Kent State 1:00 PM
Akron
Northern Ill 1:00 PM
Ball State
Houston 1:00 PM
Cincinnati
SIU-Edwardsville 1:00 PM
Eastern Illinois
Eastern Kentucky 1:00 PM
Morehead St
Holy Cross 1:00 PM
American Univ
Army 1:00 PM
Loyola-Maryland
Niagara 1:00 PM
Manhattan
Lehigh 1:00 PM
Boston U
Navy 1:00 PM
Lafayette
Saint Josephs 1:00 PM
Davidson
Duquesne 1:00 PM
Fordham
George Washington 1:00 PM
George Mason
St Bonaventure 1:00 PM
Massachusetts
Milwaukee 1:00 PM
Youngstown St
Jacksonville 1:00 PM
Kennesaw St
North Florida 1:00 PM
USC Upstate
Buffalo 1:30 PM
Eastern Michigan
St Marys-CA 2:00 PM
Pepperdine
Nebraska Omaha 2:00 PM
IUPUI
Houston Baptist 2:00 PM
Sam Houston St
Mercer 2:00 PM
(25) Chattanooga
No Dakota State 2:00 PM
South Dakota St
Oral Roberts 2:00 PM
South Dakota
Southern Miss 2:00 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 2:00 PM
UAB
East Carolina 2:00 PM
Tulane
South Florida 2:00 PM
Memphis
New Mexico St 2:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Utah Valley U 2:00 PM
UMKC
Jackson State 2:00 PM
Miss Valley St
Louisiana 2:00 PM
Texas State
South Alabama 2:00 PM
ULM
Saint Louis 2:00 PM
Dayton
Cleveland State 2:00 PM
Oakland
Grand Canyon 2:05 PM
Chicago State
UCLA 2:30 PM
Oregon
Washington St 2:30 PM
(12) Stanford
Kansas State 3:00 PM
Texas Tech
UNLV 3:00 PM
Air Force
UCF 3:00 PM
Tulsa
Delaware State 3:00 PM
SC State
San Diego State 3:00 PM
Utah State
Sacramento St 3:00 PM
Montana
Portland State 3:00 PM
Montana State
Northern Colorado 3:00 PM
Weber State
Hampton 3:00 PM
Norfolk State
NC A&T 3:00 PM
Savannah State
Alabama A&M 3:00 PM
Prairie View
Toledo 3:00 PM
Bowling Green
Ark-Pine Bluff 3:00 PM
Grambling
Southern U 3:00 PM
Alcorn State
Marist 3:00 PM
Iona
Bucknell 3:00 PM
Colgate
North Dakota 3:00 PM
Idaho State
Ark-Little Rock 3:30 PM
Georgia Southern
BYU 4:00 PM
Santa Clara
Gonzaga 4:00 PM
Portland
Pacific 4:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Abilene Christian 4:00 PM
Lamar
Colorado State 4:00 PM
Fresno State
New Mexico 4:00 PM
San Jose St
UC Davis 4:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
San Diego 4:00 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 4:00 PM
McNeese State
TX A&M-CC 4:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
Old Dominion 4:00 PM
Florida Atlantic
Tenn Tech 4:00 PM
Belmont
Eastern Washington 4:00 PM
Idaho
Stetson 4:00 PM
Lipscomb
Washington 4:30 PM
California
USC 4:30 PM
(7) Oregon State
IUPU-Ft Wayne 4:30 PM
Western Ill
Northwestern St 4:30 PM
SE Louisiana
SE Missouri St 4:30 PM
Austin Peay
Columbia 5:00 PM
Brown
Charlotte 5:00 PM
FIU
(19) Princeton 5:00 PM
Dartmouth
Penn 5:00 PM
Harvard
UT Martin 5:00 PM
Murray State
Troy 5:00 PM
TX-Arlington
Alabama State 5:30 PM
Texas Southern
Jacksonville St 5:30 PM
Tennessee St
Wyoming 6:00 PM
Nevada
Oklahoma St 6:00 PM
Iowa State
CS-Bakersfield 6:00 PM
Seattle
La Salle 6:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Cal-Irvine 6:00 PM
Cal Poly
Fla Gulf Coast 6:00 PM
Northern Ky
Southern Utah 7:00 PM
Northern Ariz
Green Bay 7:00 PM
Illinois-Chicago
Cal State Fullerton 9:00 PM
Long Beach St
CS-Northridge 9:00 PM
Hawaii

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How should Timberwolves fans greet Kevin Love on Saturday?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close