Monday, March 31, 2008

Opening Game Diary

7:18- I got started a little late because I had to restart my computer, but Livan Hernandez rolled through the first inning with three straight groundouts. Carlos Gomez then had his first Metrodome experience, with the ball hitting off a speaker and Weaver diving for the ball (and looking foolish) in foul territory. Fortunately, he missed, and Gomez rebounded with a frozen rope double down the left field line. What a good start so far!

7:20- Joe Mauer slices one into right center for the first run of the season! 1-0 Twins!

7:24- Michael Cuddyer makes the first out of the season, flying out to Torii Hunter in center. Hunter then looked a little over-exuberant in trying to throw to first to double up Mauer, but it didn't get away so it was of no help to the Twins.

7:30- Delmon Young shows his lack of plate discipline (although that wasn't exactly a bad pitch to swing at) and flies out to right, followed by.... what?!?!? I just noticed Craig Monroe is playing?! Idiot Gardenhire. It's even a righty!!

7:36- Torii Hunter flies out to Cuddyer in his first at bat of the season and first at bat against the Twins. Hernandez does give up one hit (a single) but pitches another good inning.

7:42- An unexciting half-inning, as the Twins' new acquisitions, Mike Lamb, Brendan Harris, and Adam Everett, go 0-3.

7:47- Hernandez throws a nasty 0-1 curveball (clocked at 60 MPH) to Mike Napoli before striking him out looking. Just after Jon Miller and Joe Morgan comment about how good the Twins' outfield arms are, Young delivers an absolute strike as Figgins slides into second for a double. He was called safe, but looked to be out on the replay.

7:59- Gomez successfully lays a bunt down the first base line, after trying to in his first at bat, and then steals second. He is looking really exciting so far (after two at bats, but still)!

8:07- In Hunter's second at bat, he lines into a double play. Harris catches and fires to Morneau, who has it pop out of his glove but is able to grab it with his bare hand, while keeping his foot on the base. Another scoreless inning for Livan!

8:15- Delmon Young with his first hit and a stolen base. I like the aggressiveness the Twins have shown so far. And then Mike Lamb picks up his first hit to make it 2-0 Twins!

8:27- Uh-oh. Trouble looming. Hernandez has loaded the bases with no one out. Maicer Izturis batting and then it goes back to the top of the line-up. Needless to say, this is a big at-bat.

8:34- Well, that wasn't a good inning. Hernandez got out okay, inducing a double play from Izturis, but he did allow two runs. All tied up--lets get those bats going again.

8:43- Gomez does it again! He draws a walk, steals second, Mauer moves him over again, and this time Cuddyer is able to get it done, hitting a single past the drawn-in shortstop. Twins retake the lead 3-2. Napoli then allows a fourth steal for the Twins, as Cuddyer moves up to second on Weaver's strikeout of Morneau.

8:56- Hunter is now 0-3 in his return to the Metrodome. Hernandez puts the Angels down 1-2-3 in completing a very solid six innings. Will he come back for the seventh?

8:58- What the....?! Monroe's 0-3 now, after pitifully running out that ball. He assumed it was a hit, but Kendrick knocked it down and then was able to get up, pick the ball up, and throw him out because of his lack of effort.

9:16- Weaver strikes out Gomez and is now done for the day. Mike Scoscia brings in the lefty, Darren Oliver, who gets Mauer to ground out to short. 2 outs in the seventh, Twins still up 3-2.

9:29- Hernandez has also finished, with Pat Neshek taking over. He strikes out the first two, but Gary Matthews Jr. hits a bloop double into left, bringing up Vladimir Guerrero. In a long at bat, Neshek ends up striking out the side by getting Guerrero to swing and miss on a high fastball!

9:36- Finally, Jason Kubel gets in the game, pinch-hitting for Monroe with the righty Darren O'Day pitching. Why didn't he just play the whole game? Well, he got a bloop double, very much like Matthews Jr.'s, and then Lamb was intentionally walked. Nick Punto is pinch running for Lamb.

9:40- This is frustrating. It seemed like the theme for last year was the Twins not getting big hits, and they certainly aren't getting them today. Harris strikes out with the bases loaded, followed by Everett flying out to left--although he did JUST miss a grand slam. Oh well, let's hope Joe Nathan can close it out and make us forget about it for the time being.

9:47- Now the excitement really begins. Gomez bumps into Young as he makes the catch for the first out, bringing up Torii Hunter against Joe Nathan. Hunter is finally facing a former teammate head-on, and he's looking overanxious, swinging at three bad pitches to start (although he does that a lot). He fouled the third one off, stayed alive for a few more pitches, but eventually struck out on a high slider. 2 out, just Casey Kotchman left.

9:51- Nathan gets Kendrick! After Kotchman reached on a slow (and I mean slow) dribbler down the third base line, Kendrick grounded to Everett, who stepped on second to end the game. Twins win their first game, 3-2, against the Los Angeles Angels, with Livan Hernandez getting the win and Joe Nathan the save. Hello first place (tied, obviously)!

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