07/13/08 7:25 PM ET
Twins find renewed spirit in Detroit
Minnesota goes on tear to enter All-Star break on high note
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
Gardenhire said he noticed a change in his team following a 12-2 loss at Cleveland on June 12. Despite the contest being a blowout, the Indians and the Twins got into it late in the contest. Minnesota didn't feel it was necessary, and it was the reaction by his club that enthused the skipper."Guys came in the clubhouse after that game and were like, '... We are not going to take that off anybody.' And I thought, 'That's the type of attitude I'm looking for,'" Gardenhire said. "That night is when I saw a little fire again. Fire that I wanted to see. I was fired up. I thought they had tried to show us no respect." Since that game, the Twins have won 21 of their past 28 contests. But it's not just the win total that has impressed Gardenhire. Rather it's the way that his club has battled back in contests. Such was the case in Thursday's 7-6, 11-inning win over Detroit. The day after the win, Gardenhire labeled it as a significant victory due to the way his club overcame a 6-2 deficit as it was coming off an emotionally draining three-game sweep in Boston. Tigers manager Jim Leyland declared it the worst loss in his three years in Motown. Partly because it came after a big win for Detroit and Leyland felt it took some of the wind out of the club's push to gain ground on Minnesota in the division race. And Gardenhire said he knew that was the case. "I felt what that game meant," Gardenhire said. "They were going to stick it to the Twins and be in second place by the time this series was over with. That's the attitude I felt [Detroit had] coming in here, by listening to what was said. We came back and got them in that game, rocked their world. I like that feeling." The feeling the skipper likes more is seeing his team respond after rough losses of their own. And having lost three straight in Boston before coming to Detroit and on the verge of what he called "struggling," the win on Thursday was one that he felt could be looked to as a turning point later in the year. "I thought it was huge," Gardenhire said. "To come back, and how they kept playing and won the ballgame, I think that was a really big ballgame. I don't know what it's going to mean down the road, but it was a really big ballgame for the road trip and this team."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.