PHILADELPHIA -- As the Twins open a three-game series against Bryce Harper and the Phillies, it's time for a history lesson.
The Twins are 10-8 all time against Philadelphia, but haven't faced them in Citizen's Bank Park since 2010. I remember that series well. The second game, played on June 19, was one of the crazier games in the history of my laptop.
Kevin Slowey started the game and was given a 3-0 lead in the first inning as the Twins got their licks in against Cole Hamels. But Slowey was awful that night, giving up seven runs while getting just five outs. He was lifted for Jeff Manship, and the Twins trailed 8-3 after four innings.
It looked like the Twins were headed for defeat. But, down 9-4 in the ninth inning, the they stormed back. Jim Thome hit a two-run homer off of Jose Contreras. Brad Lidge replaced Contreras, but Denard Span drove in Nick Punto with a single to make it 9-7.
Then, with two outs, Joe Mauer hit one of the longest home runs I ever saw him hit, a two run blast to center to tie the game at 9-9. Rewrite!
Hittracker no longer exists, so I can't check distances. But Thome's went about 450 feet and Mauer's was around 430.
Matt Guerrier pitched a scoreless ninth to bring on extra innings. In the top of the inning, pinch hitter Drew Butera, with his father, Sal, in the stands, hit the first homer of his major league career to put the Twins ahead 10-9. Now, it's a great story.
Jon Rauch came on in the bottom of the 10th....and gave up a home run to Ross Gload to extend extra innings.
On to the 11th. Mauer drew a one out walk. Morneau was intentionally walked to bring up Rauch (the Twins were out of position players). Rauch bunted the runners over. Delmon Young clutched up and hit a RBI single. Matt Tolbert followed with a two-run double. Twins win 13-10.
Rauch blew the save but got the win in a game that wrecked my deadline on a Saturday night. The next day, Carl Pavano outpitched Roy Halladay, Span and Morneau hit home runs off Doc and the Twins won the rubber game 4-1.
But, boy, that game on Saturday is one I'll never forget. I walked around the park the next morning. And I felt a jet stream in my face when I got to right-center field. I've wondered if that's way left-handed mashers like Thome, Ryan Howard and others have thrived there. And now they have Harper.
Tonight's game (6 p.m., FSN) should be OK, despite a drizzle at the park.
Byron Buxton (back) is not in the starting lineup. Nelson Cruz also sits without a DH in an NL park.
The tarp is down but the intention is to get tonight's game in. Rocco expressed optimism that they would be able to get the game in, which suggested they are bracing for some sort of delay along the way.
If they activate a plan to postpone the game and play two games tomorrow, each team would be allowed to call up a 26th player for the second game. That won't be a problem for the Twins, since Class AAA Rochester is playing in Allentown tonoight.
There have been at least couple weather-releated meetings this afternoon.
This makes the Twins pitching plans today interesting. Jake Odorizzi is scheduled to start today's game, but Martin Perez is supposed to piggyback off of him at some point. As you remember, the Twins stuck to their guns last week and brought in Perez despite Martin Perez pitching four brilliant innings. So it will be interesting when Perez comes in today.
Byron Buxton says his back is fine, although he's not in the lineup tonight. He used the word, "precaution" several times while meeting with reporters before the game. But he acknowledged that he wouldn't know for sure if his back was better until he swing a bat, and he was supposed to that pretty soon in an underground cage.
Jake Cave starts in right tonight, with Max Kepler in center..
90 minutes before gametime, and the tarp is still down