More than 30,000 fans, including me and my son, filled Target Field Tuesday night and watched as the Twins did absolutely nothing for five-plus innings, down 2-0 after an early home run from future Hall of Famer and Detroit Tiger Miguel Cabrera.
Then in the bottom of the fifth inning the Twins strung some hits together to cut the lead in half, followed by an upper deck grand slam from rookie and Minnesota native Matt Wallner.
The Tigers tacked on a home run late, but closer Jhoan Duran worked around that to lock down his 22nd save and the 5-3 Twins win.
It was a good win for the Twins, but they were handed a huge gift after Tigers manager A.J. Hinch somewhat inexplicably lifted his starter after five innings for a reliever. Why? I was talking to a Tigers fan after the game and he had the same question.
Both of us were asking the question because Tiger starter Alex Faedo one-hit the Twins over five innings with a walk and six strikeouts. And once he was out of the game, the Twins jumped all over the Tigers bullpen.
Kenta Maeda gets the ball Wednesday.
Extra innings …
-The Twins are 63-58 and still lead the Cleveland Guardians by 4.5 games.
-There was a carbon-copy moment in Tuesday’s game. Ryan Jeffers doubled off the right center field wall, then was thrown out at second base. Up next, Donovan Solano, who hit the ball in the same spot and was called safe at second base.
-I was disappointed in Twins Territory Tuesday night because despite the 30,000-plus who attended the game, there were times during it when you could hear a pin drop. Now, admittedly, there wasn’t much to cheer about early in the game, but how about making the effort? We sat in a section in lower right center field and barely heard a peep from anyone near us — other than the guy next to me muttering under his breath about the Twins. Were they casual fans or just resigned to what the Twins are?
Baseball purists hate all the in-game entertainment that has become a staple of the modern game, but when you see fans* oblivious to the action on the field, you need something to light a fire under them. The Twins need to work on their in-game shenanigans by really cranking up the sound and music. In fact, they should borrow a page from the Seattle Mariners who do this very well, probably because the product on the field was so bad for so long. The dramatic entrance staged for closer Duran is good, but it could be better. I don’t think the music quite works. It needs to be darker and more foreboding to match the dimmed lights inside Target Field.
Some more photos from the game:
*There were some college students near us who had a great time on Tuesday. They were busy laughing and drinking and chatting and talking, but I don’t believe they watched a single inning of the Twins’ 5-3 win.