10/07/09 1:10 AM EST
Tiebreaker filled with intense drama
Casilla's walk-off single caps amazing game at Metrodome
By Tyler Mason / MLB.com
The Tigers opened the scoring in the third, first with a single by Magglio Ordonez that scored Curtis Granderson from second base. Miguel Cabrera then sent a deep drive off Twins starter Scott Baker into the center-field seats, putting Detroit ahead, 3-0.
Seventh inning: Twins 4, Tigers 3
After the Twins climbed to within a run after being down, 3-0, shortstop Orlando Cabrera put Minnesota ahead with a two-run homer off Detroit reliever Zach Miner.
Twins closer Joe Nathan entered the game in the eighth inning and faced a jam in the ninth, with runners on the corners and nobody out after allowing a leadoff bunt by Ramon Santiago and a Granderson single that advanced Santiago to third. But Nathan then struck out Placido Polanco looking and got Ordonez to line into an inning-ending double play. Ordonez's liner was caught by Cabrera, who fired to first base to double up Granderson.
|Gm. 1||NYY 7, MIN 2||Wrap||Video|
|Gm. 2||NYY 4, MIN 3 (11)||Wrap||Video|
|Gm. 3||NYY 4, MIN 1||Wrap||Video|
"There were two or three times when we had [runners on] with one out and both teams got out of it," Minnesota outfielder Denard Span said. "Great defense, great offense -- this game had it all."10th inning: Twins 5, Tigers 5
After Detroit knocked in a run in the 10th inning on a Brandon Inge double, Twins third baseman Matt Tolbert tied the game with a single up the middle to score Michael Cuddyer, who had led off the inning with a triple. "It didn't win it, but it got us tied up," Tolbert said. "I'm just glad I could get him home." 12th inning: Twins 5, Tigers 5
Minnesota reliever Bobby Keppel ran into trouble in the 12th, loading the bases to bring up Inge. Keppel appeared to hit Inge's jersey with an inside pitch to start the at-bat, but home-plate umpire Randy Marsh ruled that the ball never touched Inge's jersey. Inge and Tigers manager Jim Leyland both argued the call. "It hit my shirt, period," Inge said after the game. "I want a hit as much as the next guy, but when it's that important, it hit my shirt. I'm not going to lie. I don't lie about things like that. I'm not going to try to weasel my way on base." "The ball hit him," Leyland said. "I'm not going to spend a lot of time on that, because it sounds like sour grapes. Still, the fact of the matter is it did hit him, so it's a huge play." 12th inning: Twins 5, Tigers 5
After appearing to get hit by the first pitch of his at-bat with the bases loaded, Inge grounded to second baseman Nick Punto. Instead of trying to turn an inning-ending double play, Punto threw home to catcher Joe Mauer to get one out and save a run. "It's one of those things -- it's a split-second decision," Punto said. "I didn't feel like we could get a double play right there, so I tried to get that out at home plate with Miguel Cabrera running to just get us another chance -- just get us one more chance to get a guy out." "We didn't get the ball to the outfield, and Punto made a heckuva play," Leyland said. "I've watched him do that for several years on the high chop. He threw it off balance and threw it on the money." 12th inning: Twins 6, Tigers 5
With runners on first and second, Alexi Casilla drove in the run that won the game -- and the American League Central. Casilla entered the game as a pinch-runner in the 10th, and in his only at-bat in the game, he delivered the biggest hit of his career. Carlos Gomez led the inning off with a single to left, and advanced to second on a groundout by Cuddyer. The Tigers intentionally walked Young to get to Casilla, who singled on a 1-1 pitch from Fernando Rodney to clinch it. Of all the big plays in the game, the biggest was a no-brainer to Cuddyer. "That last one, when we scored the winning run," Cuddyer said.
"I can't describe the emotions right now," Casilla said. "I have no words to say."
Tyler Mason is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.