Twins' 'pen falters in Central hit show
Scoreless streak of 24 1/3 relief innings ends; skipper tossed
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins and the Tigers entered the first game of their series on Monday night as two of the hottest teams in baseball. Minnesota had won 12 of its last 13 games while Detroit had taken 15 of 18 to get over the .500 mark for the first time this season.With both teams surging, and the Tigers chasing the Twins for second place in the American League Central, there was bound to be some intensity in the series. It was just a bit unexpected as to how emotionally charged the Twins' 5-4 loss to the Tigers was on Monday night. The loss involved a potential beanball war, a manager getting ejected and the Twins watching their usually stoic bullpen blow a late lead. And in the end, the loss that dropped them to 2 1/2 games behind the White Sox in the division race was particularly hard to take.
"We should have won that game," Twins catcher Joe Mauer said. "It's pretty frustrating. We know what those guys have over there. They have a tough lineup and can score runs. But it's a tough loss. We had the lead and let it go."The drama between the two clubs began early. In the first inning, Twins starter Glen Perkins was facing Carlos Guillen after having already retired the first two batters. On the second pitch of the at-bat, Perkins threw a fastball up and in to Guillen, nearly striking the Tigers third baseman in the head. Guillen was able to move his head away in time to avoid the pitch, but he then gave Perkins a long staredown. After the game, Perkins said the pitch was far from intentional. "There is no reason to try and hit him, especially not in the first inning," Perkins said. "He's a good hitter. I tried to make good pitches to him. I didn't want to leave a ball over the plate. It was one that just got away from me. I threw it as hard as I could. It was unfortunate that it went right there." The Tigers apparently didn't forget about that pitch. With the game knotted at 1 in the third and Mauer at the plate with two outs, starter Armando Galarraga looked as if he might be trying for a bit of retaliation. Galarraga threw the first pitch -- a fastball -- behind Mauer, which resulted in a slight stare from the catcher. But it was the ensuing pitch that really got tempers flaring as Galarraga threw another one at Mauer's knees.
|"Nobody got hit. But obviously it looked like they were throwing at us."|
|-- Joe Mauer|
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.