By Joe Christensen
DETROIT — Well, Game 1 was one of the best ballgames I can remember. To read more about the Twins’ 3-2, 10-inning victory — everything from the failed squeeze, to Denard Span’s game-saving catch, to Joe Nathan’s latest trapeze act — click here.
Game 2 is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. (Central), and the forecast looks like it will stay dry here at Comerica Park.
The Twins can move into a tie for first place if they win. If the Tigers win, it will put big pressure on the Twins to win the final two games of the series.
Joe Mauer will catch again tonight. Manager Ron Gardenhire said Mauer popped into his office after Game 1 and said, “I got this.”
Carlos Gomez is back in the lineup, too. Remember last year when Gomez said of Justin Verlander, “He’s a good pitcher, but his head’s no good.” Well, he’s back.
Gomez was on fire after Game 1. Like Span, he made a terrific running catch, robbing Placido Polanco of a hit right after Nathan had given up his home run to Curtis Granderson.
Asked about his catch, Gomez said, “Pretty good, eh?”
Gomez had replaced Jason Kubel as a pinch-runner in the eighth inning. Kubel was the cleanup hitter, and Gomez had to bat in the 10th inning. With runners on first and second, Gardenhire had Gomez sacrifice bunt.
“I hit fourth in the lineup, and I have to bunt. Unbelievable,” Gomez said, leaning back in a chair, feigning anger for effect. “Come on, man. That’s the 4-hole. They walk Mauer and pitch to Gomez.”
La Velle has a new post up with his thoughts on Game 1.
Update: As the Detroit Free Press notes, Brian Duensing is one of four lefthanded pitchers who have held the Tigers scoreless in a start this season. The others: C.C. Sabathia, Mark Buehrle and Jarrod Washburn.
Update: If you’ve been following our Tweets (@JoeCStrib, @SouhanStrib), you saw that Carl Pavano said he’d be ready to pitch Sunday’s regular season finale on three day’s rest. As @Randball notes, the Twins might opt to have Brian Duensing start that game on regular rest, depending on how he does tonight.
But the Twins are undecided about Friday and Saturday’s games right now, as well. Friday could be Jeff Manship, Francisco Liriano or Bobby Keppel. And Saturday might be Nick Blackburn on three day’s rest. Blackburn, however, has never made a big league start on three day’s rest. “I’d be happy to do it,” Blackburn said.
Interesting to note that the Tigers have already said Monday’s rainout eliminates Rick Porcello from any of this weekend’s starts against Chicago. (They already have Verlander lined up to pitch Sunday, and they don’t want the 20-year-old returning on three day’s rest.) Porcello, however, would be ready to pitch a one-game tiebreaker against the Twins.
Update: Here are some numbers for September:
Duensing: 5 GS, 3-0, 1.74 ERA, 31 IP, 6 ER
Verlander: 5 GS, 2-2, 3.57 ERA, 35.1 IP, 14 ER
(*) Also, that was a career-high 45th save for Nathan in Game 1.
Update: The White Sox have pushed Jake Peavy’s next start from Wednesday (against Cleveland), to Friday (at Detroit).
Update: Rob Plummer, agent for Dominican prospect Miguel Angel Sano, just confirmed a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the Twins will sign Sano for $3.15 million.
“We’re very interested in Miguel Sano, and we are pursuing him aggressively, but we do not have a signed deal,” Twins GM Bill Smith said.
Plummer said Sano will officially sign with the Twins on Wednesday.
“Miguel Sano’s age and identity have probably been scrutinized more than any player in the history of the Dominican Republic,” Smith said. “And we certainly won’t do anything until we have a fair assurance that he’s going to be able to play for us. But we’ve got a lot of interest in this player. He’s a tremendous offensive player. So we’re hopeful, but until we have a signed agreement, we have no agreement.”
1. Denard Span, RF
2. Orlando Cabrera, SS
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Jason Kubel, DH
5. Michael Cuddyer, RF
6. Delmon Young, LF
7. Carlos Gomez, CF
8. Matt Tolbert, 3B
9. Nick Punto, 2B
Starting pitcher: LH Brian Duensing (5-1, 3.33 ERA)
1. Ryan Raburn, LF
2. Placido Polanco, 2B
3. Magglio Ordonez, RF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Marcus Thames, DH
6. Brandon Inge, 3B
7. Curtis Granderson, CF
8. Gerald Laird, C
9. Adam Everett, SS
Starting pitcher: RH Justin Verlander (17-9, 3.41 ERA)
Comerica Park. First pitch: 6:05 p.m. (Central) TV: FSN