Minnesota Twins-Seattle Mariners: A Walkoff Win

AlexAnalyst IApril 7, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 6:  Alexi Casilla #25 of the Minnesota Twins reacts after singling in the first inning against the Seattle Mariners on Opening Day at the Metrodome on April 6, 2009 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images)

With the hectic time that is Opening Day now over, the Twins took the field in front of nearly half the number of fans with the buzz of the return of baseball also cooled down.

While the offense was again very slow early on, the youngsters made a late run in the ninth inning with three runs for their first walkoff victory of the season.

Nick Blackburn took the mound for the Twins; and to say the least, wasn't all that good. In just five innings of work, Blackburn threw 85 pitches, allowed eight hits, walked three, and surrendered four runs.

It's just one game for the youngster, but he made it clear that he is much more of a bottom-of-the-rotation pitcher.

Offensively, while the team did come up clutch a few more times one night later, their at-bats at times were just as bad. Mariners starter Erik Bedard, at one point, sat down ten straight Twins' hitters and struck out eight overall.

When the team headed out to the plate in the ninth inning, they appeared to be a completely different offense. They drew three straight walks and, with two outs, scored three runs thanks to an infield single by Denard Span (his third hit of the night) and a two-run single by Alexi Casilla.

The Twins still have concerns with their strikeout numbers and leaving runners on base, but the late inning offense offered glimpses of last season's late season victories.

The bullpen finished nicely after Blackburn with the exception of Ayala, who allowed the Mariners to put up a valuable insurance run in the top of the ninth. Humber went an inning and allowed just a hit, but the best news came with Guerrier's performance.

After falling apart last season, Guerrier hit 94 on the gun and pitched two solid innings allowing no base runners. The newest member of the pitching staff, Luis Ayala, allowed his first run of the season with two outs in the ninth, but still collected the victory.

With the victory, the Twins completely changed the outlook of the final two games of the series. From a possible 0-2 start to a 1-1 start, the Twins now have a much better chance of at least tying the series if not taking it outright. They'll face their former teammate Carlos Silva tomorrow night when they send Kevin Slowey to the mound.