|Bartlett’s safe in the sixth|
This is a bit of a delayed game report, especially given that the really exciting Twins game was Tuesday night’s nailbiter against the White Sox*… but I have pictures, so that ought to make up for it. (Photo credits all go to my father.)
This past weekend was the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the 1965 American League Champion Twins. Sunday was also the 40th anniversary of the day The Beatles played at Met Stadium, former home of the Twins and now site of the Mall of America. In honor of the event (okay, not really), I came home to see a game. Prior to the current Twins face off with the Mariners, we were introduced to the Twins legends of ’65 — Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva, Mudcat Grant (who took a few steps without his crutches for the crowd), Frank Quilici, and probably some people I’m forgetting. There were three “first” pitches (and that’s a rant for another time — there can only be one first pitch) by some Twins management who were involved with the team in 1965 and then the real game started.
The Mariners struck first in the top of the first with a Raul Ibanez homerun to put Seattle up 1-0. But the Twins struck back immediately with a Joe Mauer triple followed by a LeCroy single. Some fans behind me immediately started talking about Mauer’s chances of hitting for the cycle. When he singled in the fourth, I started thinking that maybe it wasn’t impossible. But it was not to be.
The Twins were down 3-1 going into the bottom of the fifth. They quickly scored two runs off of two doubles, a single, and a sacrifice ground ball hit by Nick Punto. With Shannon Stewart on third, just waiting to be hit home, up stepped Mighty Joe Mauer to the plate, looking for a double or a homerun to continue his quest for the cycle. But the Mariners had other ideas — Joel Pineiro intentionally walked him. And this set the stage for Lew Ford to hit a three run homerun, his second in three days. With managing like that, I thought I was watching the Tigers. Mauer came up to the plate two more times, but the Mariners just kept walking him. Alas, I’ve still never seen a cycle live.
In the 6th, with the Twins up 7-3, Jason Bartlett doubled and scored on a Shannon Stewart single to make the final score 8-3. But the excitement wasn’t quite over. In the bottom of the 7th, the Mariners brought in Clint Nageotte to pitch — and he only got one pitch. Not one at bat — one pitch. He threw the ball at Lew Ford’s head. Ford got out of the way, but that was enough for home plate umpire Ron Darling, who immediately ejected Nageotte. Ford ended the at bat with a new pitcher by flying out to center.
Oh, but I’ve forgotten the best part of the game… since it was the 40th anniversary of the Beatles concert, the between innings music was all Beatles. Beatles and baseball… I was in heaven.
* About that nailbiter… Freddie Garcia of the Evil Sox pitches a one-hitter and Cy Young winner Johan Santana pitches a three-hitter. Guess who won the game? Well, thanks to a Jacque Jones homer in the 8th, it wasn’t Garcia.