Today, the Twins open their home schedule against the Oakland A's. Instead of analyzing the series I want to do a little bit of a lighter post. So I will here list the 10 best games I have been at in my brief lifetime of watching Minnesota Twins baseball. All but one of these games was played in Minneapolis. So enjoy!
10. July 20, 2005-Twins 3, Orioles 2: This game was an afternoon game I just happened to score tickets to. Brad Radke gave the Twins 7 good innings and just allowed a 2 run home run to Rafael Palmiero in the fourth. The Twins answered in the 6th with a RBI triple by Shannon Stewart and a RBI groundout by Joe Mauer. After that no team had a hit until the ninth, when in the bottom half, Jacque Jones took a Jason Grimsley pitch into the left field seats giving the Twins a 3-2 win. It was the first walk off hit/home run I witnessed in person and it certainly is not the last on this list.
9. July 22, 2008-Yankees 8, Twins 2: On paper, this game was a blowout. But, this was very memorable to actually say I saw a game in the original Yankee Stadium. I absolutely loved the stadium, and loved being in New York for that matter. The Twins got drilled, but honestly, I didn't care. Yankee Stadium was everything as advertised. And it will always have a place on this list (If not in the top 10, then honorable mention).
8. May 23, 2009-Twins 11, Brewers 3: Another game that on paper shouldn't seem to make this list. But it did thanks to Michael Cuddyer, who quietly hit for the cycle in this game. And his triple in the 6th inning gave him the feat, the second Twins player to do so that year. Definitely a great moment for Cuddyer in a even more incredible season for him.
7. September 28, 2006-Twins 2, Royals 1: This game should be higher up the list. But, this all it gets. The Twins entered the game a half game behind the idle Tigers and battling a Royals team that always likes to play spoiler. They were on that incredible second half tear, while Detroit was in a second half slump. This game also marked the return, and final home start, by Brad Radke following a shoulder injury. The Royals got a run in the second and could not score again. Problem was, neither could the Twins. Radke pitched 5 innings before coming out and receiving a huge ovation from the grateful Dome crowd. The Twins trailed 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth and with two outs, their batting champion Joe Mauer stepped in. He took a Joe Nelson fastball, drove it the opposite way, and it just barely cleared the left field fence for a game tying home run. The following inning, the Twins loaded the bases and the resurgent Jason Bartlett hit a deep drive to center to win the game and get the Twins tied for first.
6. April 17, 2009-Twins 11, Angels 9: Entering the bottom half of the 7th inning, the Twins found themselves in a 8-3 hole after allowing 5 runs in the top half. Half the Metrodome crowd had deemed it best to leave and beat the traffic. The other half were rewarded mightily. Both teams exchanged runs in the next inning to make the score 9-4. The Twins had scored three runs and had the bases loaded with two outs for Jason Kubel, who needed a home run to hit for the cycle. He took a hanging Jason Bulger curveball and buried it in the upper deck of the Metrodome, giving the Twins a 11-9 lead, ultimately a win, and completing his cycle.
5. October 1, 2006-Twins 5, White Sox 1: The Twins and Tigers came into their weekend series tied for first. They both lost on Friday and Saturday, keeping them tied for first. Both had already clinched a playoff spot, but the winner of the division got to start the postseason at home. The Sox scored in the first, but the Twins pulled off 5 unanswered runs and from then on it became scoreboard watching time. The Tigers-Royals game was back and forth. And once the Twins game was finished, the game went on the Metrodome jumbotron. Finally, in the tenth inning the Royals scored twice and finished the game in the bottom half, giving the Twins the division. The players stormed the field and the fans partied in the streets. A great day for any Twins fan.
4. August 17, 2010-Twins 7, White Sox 6: Again, the White Sox make this fabled list. They two teams were locked in a duel at Target Field trying to jockey for position in the AL Central race. The Twins went up 4-0, the Sox battled back and it was back and forth all game. The Sox got a run in the top of the tenth to give them a 6-5 lead. Entering the bottom half, Matt Thornton returned to the mound after completing the ninth for Chicago. Delmon Young hit the first pitch of the inning to center for a base hit. Jim Thome stepped in and took a tremendous cut at his first pitch but missed. The second pitch was a Thornton fastball that caught far too much of the plate. Thome launched one deep into the Minneapolis night sending the Twins home winners, and giving Target Field its first walk off home run.
3. September 25, 2008-Twins 7, White Sox 6: The Twins entered a crucial series with Chicago down 2.5 games and needing a sweep to take the lead with one series left. They won the first two games, but in this finale they found themselves in a 6-1 hole entering the bottom of the fourth. The battled back and were down two entering the eighth. A Carlos Gomez RBI base hit, followed by a dramatic Denard Span triple, off closer Bobby Jenks, tied the game. The game went into extra innings where in the 10th Jenks was still on the hill for the Sox. A walk to Nick Punto followed by a groundout to second by Gomez (Punto advancing to second and eventually third on a wild pitch) and intentional walk to Denard Span with two outs set the stage for Alexi Casilla. He took a 0-1 changeup into centerfield for a hit giving the Twins the win and the division lead. The Twins eventually lost that lead and lost the division to Chicago in the first game 163, but the fact the 2008 Twins got that far when no one expected them to was incredible.
2. April 12, 2010-Twins 5, Red Sox 2: This was a day Twins fans long awaited. They were finally playing a home game outdoors for the first time since 1981. And on a glorious April afternoon, the Twins played a glorious game. They got ahead on the Red Sox and they never could come back. Marco Scutaro got the first Target Field hit, and Jason Kubel belted the first home run. The game was not that memorable, but the fact the days of the Dome were over and that baseball was back under the sun and the stars made this one incredible game. But it was not able to trump the next one...
1. October 6, 2009-Twins 6, Tigers 5: If any Twins fan says game 163, you automatically get a big grin on your face. This was the most back and forth, gut wrenching, hair ripping game I have been and may ever be a part of. Detroit jumped out to a 3-0 lead. It was 3-2 in the seventh, when with one on and one out, Orlando Cabrera hammered a Zach Miner fastball into the left field seats for a 4-3 Twins lead. The first pitch of the following inning was thrown by Matt Guerrier to Magglio Ordonez and Ordonez launched one to left to tie it up at 4. The game went to extra innings (following a incredible line drive double play pulled off by Cabrera). The Tigers got a run in the top of the 10th on a Brandon Inge double. The Twins got a leadoff triple from Michael Cuddyer (More in part to the terrible defense by Ryan Raburn who dove for a ball that could of been just a single). A groundout by Delmon Young and a walk to Brendan Harris put runners at the corners and one out for Matt Tolbert. On a 0-2 pitch he hit a weak grounder up the middle that looked like an game ending double play ball. But it took a quick hop of the Metrodome turf and skipped into centerfield for a base hit. Alexi Casilla, running for Harris, went to third on the play. The Twins did not score again that inning. Into the 12th, the Tigers loaded the bases off of reliever Bobby Keppel. Brandon Inge, who was grazed by a pitch during the at bat, grounded to second and the throw came home to force out the runner. Gerald Laird the next batter worked the count full before whiffing on a low fastball. The next inning, Carlos Gomez leadoff with a base hit and a weak groundout to second by Cuddyer moved him to second. Delmon Young was intentional walked to pitch to Casilla with one out. On Fernando Rodney's 1-1 pitch, Casilla hit a groundball through the right side of the infield and easily scoring Gomez, giving the Twins their 5th division title under Ron Gardenhire.
Enjoy Target Field Baseball Everyone!!