Bully!

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OK, now that was a good game. You had Frank Thomas (The Tank Engine) blasting his 500th home run, and the Twins won anyway. Our boys fell behind quickly in the first and then, nonplussed, shut the lid on the Blue Jays in commanding fashion, playing small-ball and Earl Weaver style basher-ball to come back and win 8-5. And that's just awesome.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I've been a grouch about this Twins team. They have failed to live up to my always excessive expectations and probably will continue on this path no matter what they do shy of a World Series triumph. But games like today's do raise my spirits considerably, and that's because there's hope. A well played game is a joy forever in this sport, but if your team's the Kansas City Royals and the season's over by June, well, a good game goes only so far. Grim reality comes crashing down after the last out, just as sure as the sun disappears every day. That the Twins have a chance this season--and they do, in spite of all my pessimism--makes today's comeback that much more exciting.

It looked bad from the start, though. Carlos Silva gave up Thomas' historical blast, which put the Jays up 4-0 right away. The Twins scored a run quickly in their half, put two more on with one out, and then the heart of the order stranded them. Uh-oh, I thought, and remembered that Silva was in his usual mess--no pitcher in the AL has worse run support than poor Carlos. Four runs seemed daunting.

But the Twins shook off the first inning and went to work. The Jays made errors and we took advantage of them. Jason Bartlett smacked a surprising home run, was hit by a pitch, reached base every at-bat, stole a base and scored a pair of runs. Torii, not to be outdone by the Big Hurt (or Bartlett for that matter), cracked a pair of homers himself, and knocked in three RBI. Outside that first inning, Silva threw six full and gave up only three hits, a walk, and struck out five in that time.

My favorite moment came in the fifth, when Minnesota, down by a pair, opened up the game and went ahead 7-5. Tyner began the rumpus with a sharp single, and then Bartlett stepped to the plate. Now, it seems to me that Gardy would typically let this pirahna lay down a sacrifice bunt, a strategy I absolutely hate, but one that's popular (the Twins are tied for fourth in this category). Now, I don't know if Gardenhire was still stunned at Bartlett's sudden power surge just two innings earlier, but the guy never even showed bunt. Instead, he belted a liner into right which sent Tyner to third and got the ball rolling on what would be a four-run inning.

Homers, stolen bases, key hits, great pitching... oh, yeah, and in the ninth, with the game out of reach and Joe Nathan working his magic, both Frank Thomas and manager John Gibbons were ejected. So the Big Hurt started the game making history, and ended it by getting tossed on his ear. What more do you want?


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