Minnesota Twins: Which Game Was a Better Ticket on Sunday, Vikes or Twins?

Tom SchreierCorrespondent ISeptember 9, 2012

Minnesota Twins: Which Game Was a Better Ticket on Sunday, Vikes or Twins?

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    The Minnesota Twins have out of town baseball scores in right-center field.

    Today there was one score that wasn’t baseball:

    Vikings-Jaguars.

    That’s right, the Minnesota Vikings, a professional football team, had their score against the Jacksonville “We might move to LA soon” Jaguars, a semi-pro football team (lets be real) posted in the lower-right corner of the scoreboard, right underneath the NL scores.

    There were no horns given out to patrons or special promotion, but it was unofficially “Vikings Day” at Target Field on Sunday.

    Fans still showed up to the Twins contest against the Cleveland Indians—a game between two teams in the AL Central cellar.

    Sure the Vikings are at .500 (ahh…a clean slate) and the Twins are not, but there were reasons to go to Target Field, namely:

    1. There are baseball fans that aren’t football fans.
    2. Target Field is brand-spankin’ new and outdoors. The Metrodome is older than time and is indoors.
    3. And if you’re at the Vikings game, you have to watch the Jaguars.

Two Different Games, One Spectacular Day

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    There are a couple similarities between the two teams, as pointed out by ESPN1500 radio host Phil Mackey:

     

    A shaggy Twins beat writer once uttered those same words... RT @tompelissero: I stand by my contention the #Vikings offense will be fine.

    — Phil Mackey (@PMac21) September 9, 2012

     

     

    And, naturally, baseball and football became interwoven during the course of both games. No, Adrian Peterson didn’t pinch run for Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer didn’t replace Christian Ponder in the third quarter, but Twitter was alive with jokes that crossed both sports:

     

    A re-tweet from Twins beat writer Tyler Mason:

     

    RT @johnsharkman: The Washington Nationals plan to shut down @adrianpeterson in Week 12.

    — Tyler Mason (@FSNtylermason) September 9, 2012

Which Game Was a Better Ticket?

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    Twins starter Esmerling Vazquez struggled with control early in the game, walking four batters in the first two innings.

    “I could not control my fastball today,” said the September call up.

    “In Rochester I felt great and my command is better than now.”

    He gave up a bomb to Carlos Santana in the first that hit the clock tower in right and three runs in the second.

    The Vikings suffered a 9-0 deficit early, but Peterson’s dual touchdowns that bookended the first and second half.

    After two innings of baseball (about two-and-a-half quarters of football), the Vikings had an early lead on the Twins, 1-0.

Vikings Widen the Gap

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    In the third inning, the Jaguars capitalized on a Ponder fumble and kicked a field goal to bring the score within two (14-12) with one quarter to go.

    On the diamond, Vasquez walked Michael Brantley to start the inning and Santana hit a single up the middle, allowing Brent Lillibridge to drive in a run with a pop fly.

    “It wasn’t fun to watch,” manager Ron Gardenhire said of Vasquez’s performance.

    “He’s got to do better than that.”

    Twins were down 4-0 to the Indians and 2-0 to the Vikings after three.

Twins Make Things Interesting

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    Then, things started to turn around for the Twins.

    Mauer hit a triple in the bottom of the third to score Carroll and Morneau turned on Corey Kluber’s 0-2 offering and put it in the seats in right field.

    “I hit that one pretty good,” he said. “It was one of the pitches he’d like to have back.”

    Sure the Vikings had tacked on another field goal at that point, but the M&M boys had just got the Twins back in the game!

    Twins still trailed: 4-3 to the Indians, 2-1 to the Vikings.

Twins Take a Lead on the Indians

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    In the bottom of the fourth, Pedro Florimon scored Darin Mastroianni on a bloop-single after Mastroianni had stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch (in one sequence).

    Florimon stole second and Ben Revere scored him with a single to right.

    “Florimon got a big stolen base,” said Gardenhire, “we had a lineup that really had speed.”

    Suddenly the Twins had a 5-4 lead on the Indians.

    The Vikings had kicked a field goal to give themselves a 20-15 lead late in the fourth, but still left the Jaguars in position for a last-second heartbreaking touchdown (and if you’re a Vikings fan, you know these things happen all too frequently).

    The Vikings and Twins were all tied up at 2-2.

When the Sh*t Hits the Fan

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    Still in the bottom of the fourth, the Twins were running all over Kluber.

    Revere stole his 35th base—a career high—and had his 36th waved off on the next pitch. Indians catcher Carlos Santana had hit the home plate umpire in the mask.

    “I’d say throw the catcher out,” said Gardenhire, in jest. “Whenever an umpire gets hit by a…player, you get thrown out.”

    With two outs on the board, the Tribe called to the pen and brought in Chris Seddon who got Mauer to fly out to center to end the inning.

     

    Then came this from columnist Jim Souhan, a former Twins and Vikings beat writer:

     

     

    Ridiculous decision by Jags to punt away. Two timeouts left, no 2-min warning, one first down and it's over.

    — Jim Souhan (@SouhanStrib) September 9, 2012

     

     

    And then this…

     

And It Gets Even Crazier…

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    And then Twitter explodes:

     

     

    Yes, actually watching Jags-Vikings to see if Blaine Gabbert can engineer a winning TD drive. 2-for-2 so far

    — Larry Brown (@LBSports) September 9, 2012

     

     

    And then this…

     

Things Start to Look Bleak

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    I didn’t see the last few minutes of the Vikings game. I wouldn’t want to anyways.

    It would hurt too bad.

    I’ve learned from all these years of being a Vikings fan that sometimes it’s better not to know. Ignorance is bliss.

    Then…wait…on the scoreboard in right-center: 23-23.

    Then back to my Twitter feed:

     

     

    And it's all tied up here in Minneapolis ... in both the Vikings game and Twins game ...

    — Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) September 9, 2012

     

    Then on the diamond…

    Brantley: Single with one out.

    Santana: Double to center, RBI.

    Canzler: Single, RBI

    Tribe are up 6-5.

A Unique Day on the Gridiron

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    Back to my Twitter feed:

     

    Vikes win the Toss.TD wins it.

    — KFAN1003 (@KFAN1003) September 9, 2012

     

     

     

A Little Clarification

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    So, to bring you up to speed:

    The Vikings blow a lead, get it back and go into overtime.

    The Twins blow a lead, but still have the bottom of the fifth with Morneau, Doumit and Parmelee up to bat.

    Morneau: Strikes out swinging.

    Doumit: Grounds out to short.

    Parmelee: Grounds out to first.

    Let’s give the Vikes a point here.

    Vikings: 3, Twins: 2. Both are in the fifth (inning and quarter).

Confused, Excited Fans in the Dome

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    Then on Twitter:

     

    Fans start to leave after Vikes OT field goal on first drive. Must have gotten rule update from Donovan McNabb.

    — Jim Souhan (@SouhanStrib) September 9, 2012

     

     

     

    @vikingsfootball @adrianpeterson how appropriate!#AD in OT becoming the Vikings all time leading rusher! Congrats man!Happy it was you

    — robert smith (@ESPNRobertSmith) September 9, 2012

Back to Target Field

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    And, finally, on the scoreboard in right-center:

    Vikings: 26, Jaguars: 23

     

    On my scoreboard:

    Vikings: 4, Twins: 2

     

    Here’s how the Twins can win my contest at this point:

    1. They must beat the Indians.
    2. They must do it in a timely fashion (the Vikings started at noon and ended at approximately 3:15, the Twins started at 1:10).
    3. They must win in an exciting way.

     

    Otherwise it is Vikings all the way.

Twins Looking to Come Back

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    So back to the Twins…

    Casey Fien replaces Swarzak in the sixth and goes one-two-three to retain the 6-5 deficit.

    “Swarzy did good for a little bit there and then got beat around,” said the manager. “Casey really came in and shut the game down and did a super job for us.”

    In the seventh, Revere led off with a single and stole second (his 36th steal, a career high).

    Carroll had an at-bat that lasted approximately six years, hit directly at reliever Esmil Rogers. Rogers grabbed it and tagged Revere, allowing Carroll to reach first.

    Mauer doubled and Morneau was intentionally walked, loading the bases for Ryan Doumit.

    Tony Sipp replaced Rogers with one out and got Doumit to fly out to right.

    Parmelee stepped in and hit to right, scoring two batters.

     

     

    Chris Parmelee delivers a two-out, two-run single to put the #MNTwins back in front. This kid officially belongs.

    — Phil Mackey (@PMac21) September 9, 2012

     

     

    Twins are up 7-6 entering the eighth.

Donald Trumps

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    Jason Donald faced Twins reliever Jared Burton with one out and a man on.

    He was looking to overcome an 0-17 streak at that point.

    He hit a triple.

    With the game tied, Burton got Lou Marson to ground out to first, but walked Shin-Soo Choo before handing the ball over to Brian Duensing, who got Jason Kipnis to ground out to end the inning.

    The score was 7-7 entering the bottom of the eighth.

The Bottom of The…eighth?

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    Escobar: Line out to left.

    Florimon: Ground out to pitcher.

    Revere: Bunt, tagged by first baseman.

     

    The time is 4:23 pm.

The Top of the Ninth

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    Matt LaPorta leads off with a single and advanced to third when both Brantley and Santana grounded to second.

    With LaPorta on third,

     

    The time is 4:32 pm.

The Bottom of the Ninth!

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    With two outs Justin Morneau takes Vinnie Pestano’s first pitch to left field!

    “All I was thinking about when I was coming down third was, ‘Don’t hit me in the head,’” said Morneau regarding the mosh pit at home.

    “[Team owner Jim] Pohlad is having a party,” said Gardenhire.

    “I told [Morneau] that right before he went up there.

    “You can print that!”

     

    It’s hard to determine which was a better ticket that night.

    All I can tell you is that it was one hell of a day to be a sports fan in Minnesota.

     

    All quotes were obtained first-hand.

    Tom Schreier writes a weekly column for TheFanManifesto.com.