Twins take dramatic win over White Soxby Brandt Williams, Minnesota Public Radio
The Minnesota Twins took over first place in the American League Central in dramatic fashion last night, beating the Chicago White Sox 7-6 in extra innings. The win gave the Twins a sweep over Chicago and a half-game lead in the division. But, there are still three games left in the season.
Minneapolis — About an hour before the game, the Chicago White Sox were taking batting practice. The White Sox are known for hitting a lot of homeruns, so they were spraying baseballs into the outfield seats.
Ryan Jacobson was standing out in the left field seats with his baseball glove, looking for a ball off a White Sox bat that wouldn't cost his team a run.
"This is a big game, I wanted to get to this game. I probably wouldn't have came if they would have lost yesterday," Jacobson said.
Jacobson came to the Dome all the way from Stewartville. He comes to a couple games a year.
A baseball crashed into an empty seat about 12 feet away. The commotion startled the unsuspecting fans sitting in the seats right behind it.
Jacobson predicts that despite the White Sox power, the Twins will prevail.
For the first four innings, it looked like Jacobson's confidence was well placed. The Twins were up 1-0, and pitcher Kevin Slowey hadn't given up a hit.
But in the fourth inning, Slowey gave up a home run, a single, a double and a walk.
Then he threw his 59th pitch to Juan Uribe, who promptly drove the ball right back at Slowey, striking him in the wrist and knocking him out of the game.
The x-rays on Slowey's pitching hand wrist were negative. No broken bones. But at the end of the inning, the White Sox had posted six runs.
The Twins chipped their way back into the game, adding runs here and there. Outfielders Carlos Gomez and Denard Span used their bats and their base-running speed to tie the game at 6-6, forcing extra innings.
The crowd of more than 43,000 people was the largest to see a Twins game this season since opening day.
They stayed on their feet throughout the bottom of the 10th inning. With Nick Punto on third base, with two outs, Alexi Casilla stepped to the plate and smacked the game-winning single to left center field.
As Punto crossed homeplate to register the winning run, the rest of the team rushed onto the field and mobbed Casilla.
The team's display of chaotic exuberance looked like they'd just won the division or the World Series.
"I don't really know how to describe that ball game and the feeling," said manager Ron Gardenhire.
Gardenhire began by praising players like Carlos Gomez, who finished the night with two triples, a double, a single and two runs batted in.
He also gave his team credit for not giving up after they found themselves down by five runs in the fourth inning.
But Gardenhire said they got help from the boisterous Metrodome crowd.
"I don't know how to describe our fans. That was unbelievable. The loudest thing I've ever heard in my life was our fans in that game," said Gardenhire. "I tip my hat to them because they kept us alive in that dugout after we got behind, and they kept cheering us on and we kept playing."
The decibel level in the Dome did lead to one Twins goof. Centerfielder Carlos Gomez didn't hear rightfielder Denard Span call for a fly ball. Gomez crashed into Span and he dropped the ball. But in the end, Gomez said the fans were a big help.
"We got good fans, good fans in Minnesota. When you're a player and you come and you hear your name so loud like that, you feel more emotion to play ball," Gomez said.
The division may or may not be decided by this weekend. The Twins will play a three-game series at home against the Kansas City Royals, while the White Sox play the Cleveland Indians in Chicago.
But things get a little confusing from here.
If the Twins and White Sox are still within half a game of each other at the end of the day Sunday, then Chicago has to make up a rainout against the Detroit Tigers on Monday.
Then, if they're tied, the Twins will have to travel to Chicago for a one-game playoff on Tuesday to determine the division champion.
- Morning Edition, 09/26/2008, 7:25 a.m.