October 6, 2009 – Alexi Casilla became the unlikely hero for the Twins when he delivered a walk-off RBI single in the 12th inning off Tiger closer Fernando Rodney to lift the Twins to a 6-5 victory that gave the club its fifth division title this decade and earned Minnesota a trip to New York to face the Yankees in the AL Division Series which starts on Wednesday afternoon.
The game went back and forth and was an exciting a baseball game as I have ever seen. I wasn’t one of the lucky 54,088 or so fans that witnessed the game in person at the Metrodome but watching the game at home was just as stressful. It turns out that the Homer Hanky waving crowd was the largest regular season crowd ever in Metrodome history and it took place on the final regular season game to ever be played at the Metrodome.
The Tigers jumped out to a 3-0 lead off starter Scott Baker before the Twins chipped away and finally took a 4-3 lead on a homerun by Orlando Cabrera in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Tigers tied the game in the next inning on a Magglio Ordonez long ball. The teams traded runs in the 10th inning before Casilla came up with the game winner in the 12th. Earlier in the game Miguel Cabrera homered for Detroit and Jason Kubel hit one out for the Twins. Five Tigers pitchers threw 193 pitches and eight Twins pitchers threw 198 pitches in the 12 inning affair.
The Twins celebration will have to be a short one as they need to fly to New York and take on those hated New York Yankees starting tomorrow afternoon. But for now, all you can say is WOW! What a ballgame!
According to Elias, Alexi Casilla, who drove in the winning run for the Twins with a single that scored Carlos Gomez from second base, was an unlikely hero. When he came to the plate, Casilla was one of only two players in the majors with at least 200 at-bats and a sub-.200 batting average this season. Casilla’s game-winner raised his average to .202 from .198 and left San Diego’s Brian Giles (.191) with the unfortunate distinction of being the only player with 200-plus at-bats to finish this year with a batting average “on the interstate.”