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  1. #1
    Zeus's Avatar
    Zeus is offline Jersey Retired
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    Apr 2006

    Everything Baseball is Supposed to Be

    About 3:00 this afternoon, as I sat at my desk, I happened to remember that the Twins were hosting the Red Sox tonight and that the pitching match-up was going to be Johan Santana vs. Curt Schilling. Since a dream match-up like that doesn't always occur, I decided that I would try to go. After getting the blessing from Sandy (and the blow-off from my cousin JD (playing golf with his dad, my uncle) and my buddy Eric (stupid Patch-Day!)), I hopped into the Impala and headed downtown.

    After parking the car, I walked up to the ticket office and requested "best available". I ended up with seats in Section 127 (Metrodome Seating Chart), 22 rows up from the field. I entered the Dome as soon as it was open at 5:30, bought my first ever Twins cap and checked out my seat - darn nice! The Red Sox were taking BP, so I wandered over to the left-field bleachers and, within 2 minutes of being out there, managed to snag a BP ball off the bat of Jason Varitek! (Not a great story about that - I didn't even see it coming - I saw it bounce and out-grabbed some dude with a glove for the ball). Once the Sox completed their BP, it was about 6:30, so it was time to take my seat.

    On the way back, I picked up a Joe Mauer t-shirt (hey, he's leading the majors in hitting right now!), a scorecard, some dinner and my first beer.

    The usual baseball pre-game festivities followed, highlighted by the arrival of the Twin Cities most popular athlete, Kevin Garnett! I guess I wasn't the only one who couldn't resist the allure of Santana vs. Schilling.

    And those two did not disappoint. Santana started off by striking out the first five batters he faced (and six of the first seven) before giving up a double to Trot Nixon in the bottom of the 3rd. Alex Gonzalez followed with a single, but Nixon was held at 3rd. Santana fanned Coco Crisp and induced a pop-out to short to retire the side without giving up a run.

    Meanwhile, Schilling was equally impressive. He walked the lead-off batter in the bottom of the 1st - and then got Lew Ford to hit into a double-play. Justin Morneau led off the 2nd with a single - and Schilling got Torii Hunter to hit into another double-play! Schilling then retired the next 8 Twins before giving up a single to Hunter in the 5th. Torii was caught stealing THIRD on a strike-out - a caught-stealing-strike-out DP to end the 5th.

    Santana continued to dominate the Red Sox batters, earning his 1000th career strike-out with a swinging whiff of Papi Ortiz to start the 4th and retired 13 in a row (including striking out the side in the 5th) before giving up a solo homer to Varitek in the 7th inning.

    It appeared, with Schilling mixing speeds and keeping the Twins totally off-balance, that that one run would be all he would need to collect his 10th win of the season. Michael Cuddyer had the answer for the Twins and hit his own solo dinger off of Schilling in the bottom of the 7th. 1-1 ballgame.

    Johan was tiring and gave up 2 singles with one out in the top of the 8th. After a meeting on the mound with manager Ron Gardenhire, Santana was on the receiving end of a sharp rap off of the bat of Coco Crisp which he turned into an inning-ending 1-6-3 double-play!

    Schilling also lost a bit of steam in the 8th, but managed to strand Torii Hunter on 2nd base with two consecutive fly-outs to Manny Ramirez - the second of which was classic Manny fielding follies.

    Santana's line: 8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 13 K.
    Schilling's line: 8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K.

    Twins closer Joe Nathan took the ball in the top of the 9th and, after giving up a single to Mark Loretta, a stolen base to pinch-runner Willie Harris and an intentional walk to Jason Varitek, closed out the inning with a lazy fly ball from Mike Lowell to Hunter in center field.

    Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon came in in the bottom of the 9th and gave up a lead-off double to Luis Castillo. Any hopes of a Twins victory at that point were scuttled by a poorly executed bunt by Lew Ford which allowed Kevin Youkilis to cut down Castillo at 3rd. K's of Joe Mauer and Michael Cuddyer closed the inning.

    Juan Rincon pitched uneventful 10th and 11th innings for the Twins and Papelbon went another inning of scoreless relief in the 10th and Mike Timlin set the side down in order in the 11th for the Red Sox to set the stage for the exciting 12th inning.

    The Twins 4th pitcher of the night was Jesse Crain. Crain K'd Varitek, but then gave up a single to Lowell. A walk to Youkilis and a single by Trot Nixon loaded the bases with one out. Alex Gonzalez then hit a grounder towards 2nd which Twins SS Nick Punto snared and flipped to Luis Castillo for the force at second, but Gonzalez beat the throw to first and Lowell scored the go-ahead run on the fielder's choice. Dennys Reyes relieved and Coco Crisp dribbled a grounder to Castillo who flipped it to Punto for the 3rd out. Red Sox 2, Twins 1.

    Former Cub Julian Tavarez took over for Timlin in the bottom of the 12th, so I knew there was hope yet for the Twins. Mauer took a called 3rd-strike to start the inning and it seemed that Tavarez was hitting his spots quite nicely. But he wasn't only hitting his spots - he was also hitting the next batter, and Michael Cuddyer took first after taking a fast-ball to the ribs. Justin Morneau then smoked a ground-rule double to deep center, putting Cuddyer on 3rd with only 1 out. Hunter was intentionally walked to get to bring up rookie DH Jason Kubel in the most pressure-packed situation of his young career. All around me people were saying "Just hit a deep fly" or "Stroke a little single, Jason!"

    I, however, recalled that I saw Robin Ventura hit a walk-off grand slam back in 1991 at New Comiskey Park (just found the Box Score for that game). So I said that loudly to no one in particular in the crowd around me and that I would just as soon see that again as a silly sac-fly for the tying run. Two pitches later, Jason Kubel smokes one just over the baggie in right-field for the game-winning, walk-off grand salami.

    Amazing. Simply amazing.


    Thanks to Josdin for the awesome sig!

  2. #2
    WBLVikeBabe's Avatar
    WBLVikeBabe is offline Jersey Retired
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    Dec 1969

    Re: Everything Baseball is Supposed to Be

    I actually turned the game on because the channel 11 news had said that they were still playing in extra innings. I turned it on right as Mauer was up to bat and got to see the best part of the game. When I saw that this Kubel guy was up to bat I was thinking to myself great, no way he's gonna get a hit. But also thinking that if he did he would be a hero, well he ended up being more of a hero than I thought with that grand slam. I mean seriously just amazing, totally not expecting it but the best ending you could ask for. The funniest part was when they were interviewing him after the game and he got the gatorade dumped on him! I'm sure we'll be seeing more of Kubel from now on.

    [move]My beautiful sig made by the one and only PPE![/move]

  3. #3
    MaddenVodkaAddict's Avatar
    MaddenVodkaAddict is offline Coordinator
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    Dec 1969

    Re: Everything Baseball is Supposed to Be

    I love Mr. Kubel, unlike the Boston Red Sox. Although I dislike the New York Yankees even more than the Boston Red Sox as the New York Yankees are boring and anyone who cheers for the New York Yankees and is not from New York should be ashamed of themselves.
    I Love Kerry Collins (and John Rocker).

  4. #4
    Warp's Avatar
    Warp is offline Asst. Coach
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    Dec 1969

    Re: Everything Baseball is Supposed to Be

    Yeah that game was just amazing! I wasnt home so didnt get to see it all but i tuned in, in the 11th inning. Santana did awesome, gotta love the way he pitches. But anyway, when kubel was up and it was a 3-2 count i was hoping for a walk to push across the tying run, since i didnt have much faith in kubel as a young hitter. I am a beleiver now! When he launched that thing at first i was think sac fly.... then seen it go over, man, what a game! Walk off grand slam!!!

  5. #5
    Benet's Avatar
    Benet is offline Star Spokesman
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    Dec 1969

    Re: Everything Baseball is Supposed to Be

    Sounds like a great game!

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