Wow, that was a game. I thought game No. 163 last year might rank near the top of memorable games I’ve covered but I think this one tops it. Sorry I didn’t get to post more on the blog right after but I was working on trying to get the full game story up on the site.
Now here are some additional nuggets that I didn’t get in the game story…
- Blackburn was very good but he really turned things around after the third inning. Although he allowed a leadoff hit in the fourth, he then retired 12 straight batters to finish his outing. Blackburn credited the change to making a mechanical adjustment that pitching coach Rick Anderson pointed out to him.
“Once we got those line out, hitters starting battling themselves,” Blackburn said. “In a way, kind of getting themselves out, taking defensive swings and not sure of what was coming. For the most part, they kept hitting the ball at people.”
- Gardenhire acknowledged that his decision to leave left-hander Jose Mijares in to face Miguel Cabrera in the 8th inning was a little strange. Aftrer Mijares got Cabrera to fly out, Gardenhire then brought out right-hander Jon Rauch to face pinch-hitter Marcus Thames..
“We must look like whackos here — let our lefty face Cabrera,” Gardenhire said. “But he was 0-for-3 off Mijares…I know it looked whacky. I felt whacky doing it.”
- In addition to Span’ s stellar catch in the ninth, Gomez made an equally impressive running snag in center on Placido Polanco’s ball in the 10th. One that most outfielders might not make.
Afterward, Gomez was asked about the catch. “Pretty good, eh?” he said with a smile.
Gomez also got at an-bat in the 10th after replacing Jason Kubel as a pinch-runner in the eighth. Gardenhire had him bunt with runners on first and second with no outs.
“I hit fourth in the lineup, and I have to bunt. Unbelievable,” Gomez
said, clearly having fun after the Twins win. “Come on,
man. That’s the 4-hole. They walk Mauer and pitch to Gomez.”