July 12, 2021

Twins escape extra-inning struggles, top Tigers in 12-9 thriller

The Twins swept four games from the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, finally winning the game in extra innings to cap a four-hour roller coaster ride.

Neither team did anything for four innings, then they exploded, scoring 21 runs on 20 hits. The Twins fell behind 4-0, then rallied to take an 8-5 lead going into the top of the ninth inning.

The usually reliable Taylor Rogers was handed the ball and he had an off day, allowing a double, single and a walk to load the bases. Tigers catcher, Jake Rogers, then hit a grand slam to give Motown a 9-8 lead.

In the bottom of the ninth, though, there was a miracle. Twins catcher Ben Rortvedt, who is hitting .132 and had all of eight hits coming into Sunday’s game, homered to deep right to tie the game at 9-9.

The Twins have struggled in extra innings this season, but this time Trevor Larnach started the inning at second base, Nelson Cruz was intentionally walked, Alex Kirilloff popped out and then Jorge Polanco worked a full count before hitting a walk-off winning blast, his 12th of the season, to win 12-9.

The all-star break is here. The Twins won’t resume regular-season play until July 16 at Detroit. They have four more games against the Tigers to start the second half, but here’s the problem: After they leave Detroit, they have four games at Chicago. Want to make a believer out of everyone, Minnesota? Don’t just win the next four games, win the next eight.

Extra innings…

-Twins pitcher Jose Berrios came away with another no-decision start. He was cruising along when he suddenly lost control of the strike zone, which ultimately resulted in four walks and a 4-0 deficit to the Tigers. Still, he battled for seven innings, allowing four runs, all earned, on three hits with four walks and eight strikeouts.

-Twins pitching issued six base on balls on Sunday, but it was Tigers pitching that was really undone by walks, issuing 12 base on balls in the game.

-The bottom of the order was extremely productive on Sunday. Kirilloff, Polanco, Max Kepler and don’t forget Rortvedt, drove in 10 runs on eight hits.

-The Twins are now 5-8 in extra innings this season. They also are 7-2 against the Tigers, 5-4 versus Cleveland, 6-7 against the Royals and 2-10 versus Chicago.


Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.