Know when you know things are going right for your baseball team?
When you win a big game because because some poor guy takes a ball right in the damn knee.
Such is the case with the Minnesota Twins, who today continued their magical second half of the season with a 5-4 win over the Chicago White Sox. Minnesota's won 18 of their last 25 games, a run dating back to August 6. A lot of those wins have involved hot batting from Eddie Rosario and/or Byron Buxton, or good pitching from Ervin Santana or Jose Berrios.
You know, good baseball stuff.
Today's win had some of that, but in the end, it was Max Kepler's inability to get out of the way that sealed the victory. With the score tied, the bases loaded, and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Kepler stood in against White Sox reliever Juan Minaya.
On a 3-1 count, Minaya unleashed a pitch that zoomed in right at Kepler's legs. The batter tried locking his legs to avoid it, but the ball swerved in to smack off Max's knee with an audible crack.
The Twins came roaring out of the dugout to celebrate the rare (and awkward) walk-off hit-by-pitch. You've never seen a bunch of guys so happy to see their teammate hit the deck in pain!
For what it's worth, Kepler had also contribute a run-scoring double earlier in the game, as did Jorge Polanco and Brian Dozier. Bartolo Colon pitched six innings and gave up three runs, and Matt Belisle managed to pick up the win, despite giving up a ninth-inning homer that put Minnesota down 4-3. He finished the inning, and the Twins rallied for a remarkable and meaningful comeback.
Minnesota's off next to Kansas City to play the slumping Royals. Thursday's win puts the Twins in the driver's seat for the AL's second wild card spot: At 70-63, they're a full game up on the third-place Los Angeles Angels with just 11 games to play.
See? Doesn't hurt so bad, now does it?