Page 3 of 3 Previous

Continued: Twins flying high after tense, taut thriller

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: October 7, 2009 - 11:27 AM

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had a panicked question for bench coach Steve Liddle in the 12th inning Tuesday night, as he watched Alexi Casilla stroll to home plate against Tigers closer Fernando Rodney.

"He's got numbers off this guy, right?" Gardenhire barked.

"Yes," Liddle assured him, "He's 3-for-5."

Never mind Casilla's .202 season batting average. It had been that kind of night. Decisions made on the fly. Little ones, big ones, with nothing but the entire season on the line.

Casilla had told Liddle he wanted to be the hero of this one-game tiebreaker to decide the American League Central. Two innings earlier, he looked like the goat.

But sure enough, Casilla grounded a single to right field, scoring Carlos Gomez from second base for a 6-5 victory that left an announced crowd of 54,088 at the Metrodome delirious.

Gomez raced around third base and slid headfirst into home, even though the play wasn't close. Players rushed from the dugout to mob Gomez, then hustled out near third base to mob Casilla.

Liddle hugged Gardenhire, saying "He's 4-for-6, now!"

As the players celebrated, Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" blared over the loudspeakers. That's where the Twins were headed after they'd had their fill of champagne and beer. Tonight, they will face the Yankees in Game 1 of the Division Series.

The Twins went 0-7 against the Yankees this year, and they are 5-26 against the Yankees in New York under Gardenhire, counting the postseason. Of course, the Twins haven't faced the Yankees in three months, and they will enter this series riding a 17-4 streak.

"We can play with anybody; we're playing pretty good baseball," Gardenhire said. "We're not afraid, I can guarantee you that."

Why should they be? They are the first team since divisional play started in 1969 to overcome a three-game deficit with four days left in the regular season. And there were numerous times Tuesday, when it looked like this late-season fairy tale would end, closing a 28-year chapter for the Twins in the Metrodome.

The Twins trailed 3-2 in the seventh inning, when Orlando Cabrera's two-run homer gave them their first lead. Magglio Ordonez tied it in the eighth with a home run off Matt Guerrier. Then, things really got interesting.

Twins closer Joe Nathan made a Houdini-like escape in the ninth inning, keeping the Tigers scoreless after they'd put runners at first and third with no outs.

"After about 10 innings," Gardenhire said, "I was going, 'Oh my God, I've never seen anything like this.' "

The Tigers took a 10th-inning lead on Brandon Inge's two-out, RBI double. But Matt Tolbert tied it on a run-scoring bouncer up the middle that came inches from being a game-ending double play turned by Placido Polanco.

Casilla, who entered the game as a pinch runner that inning, raced to third base on Tolbert's hit. The Twins nearly won right there, when Nick Punto hit a liner to left field. But Casilla's foot wasn't on third base, so he had to retreat before tagging up and running home.

Tigers left fielder Ryan Raburn, who had misplayed a sinking liner by Michael Cuddyer into a triple to start the inning, redeemed himself, throwing a one-hop strike to nail Casilla at the plate.

"[Casilla] didn't get quite back in time, but Raburn out there, good God, what a throw," Gardenhire said.

After each team went through a 1-2-3 11th inning, Twins reliever Bobby Keppel survived a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the 12th. Inge hit a bouncer to Punto, who made a heads-up play, throwing home to get Miguel Cabrera for the forceout, and Keppel fanned Laird to end the inning, drawing yet another roar from hoarse voices all over the stadium.

That set the stage for Gomez and Casilla, the two players Gardenhire affectionately calls the "Loose Cannons." Gomez had entered as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning and wound up batting twice in spots where the Twins would have preferred Jason Kubel.

Sure enough, Gomez singled to open the 12th before scoring on Casilla's big hit.

As the wild celebration inside the Twins' clubhouse unfolded, Liddle just shook his head.

"The Loose Cannons finally came through," he said. "Nobody can contain the Cannons."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Final123456789RHE
Detroit2200000004110
Minnesota «30000302X8130
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:K.Gibson(12-11) L:D.Price(14-12)
HR: DET- None MIN- None

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - LP: C. Frias 2 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. De La Rosa 16
San Francisco - WP: S. Romo 4 FINAL
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 2
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano 9
Toronto - LP: J. Happ 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: B. Norris 6
Washington - LP: R. Detwiler 1 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: A. Wood 3
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 4 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: D. Gee 3
NY Yankees - WP: B. McCarthy 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: A. Cobb 2
Cincinnati - LP: D. Corcino 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: K. Hendricks 3
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Sale 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6
Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer 0
Detroit - LP: D. Price 4 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: K. Gibson 8
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 0 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 2
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 0 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: C. Wilson 5
Texas - WP: R. Ross Jr. 6 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Doolittle 1
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 5 FINAL
San Diego - LP: E. Stults 2
Tampa Bay 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close