Please turn down your volume before enjoying this short video. Minnesotans are quite the vociferous bunch of louts:
Before last night, no team had lost a division lead of three games with four remaining and then not made the postseason. Thanks to the results of one of the single most exciting games in baseball history, the Tigers can now etch their names onto the eternal chokers' trophy alongside the 2007 Mets, the 1978 Red Sox, and the 1964 Phillies.
In a game that saw eleven pitching changes, eight pinch-hitters and pinch-runners, and countless utterances of the word "fisted" by Chip Caray, the Twins prevailed on an Alexi Casilla walkoff single in the bottom of the 12th. After a night of boozin', they'll head out to New York to take on the hated Yankees today. The Tigers will be left with thoughts of "what could have been".
Once Orlando Cabrera put the Twins up 4-3 in the seventh on a two-run tater tot, the game turned into a back-and-forth affair well into extra innings. Magglio Ordonez tied the game up in the eighth on a solo dong; both teams went scoreless in the ninth to send the game into extras.
In the tenth, Jesse Crain hit Aubrey Huff and Don Kelly pinch-ran for the hefty slugger. After Ryan Raburn struck out, Brandon Inge doubled to left and Kelly scored, mostly because Orlando Cabrera's relay throw to home had so little power behind it you'd have thought O-Cabs was powered by a hamster on a wheel.
No matter because Michael Cuddyer led off the bottom half of the tenth with an ill-begotten triple that sailed past a diving Ryan Raburn to the wall in left. He scored on a Matt Tolbert single to tie the game once again and send it to the eleventh. Neither team scored in that frame.
In the twelfth, Twins reliever Bobby Keppel loaded the bases with one out but escaped thanks to a well-placed Brandon Inge grounder and a Gerald Laird strikeout.
Then, in the bottom half of the inning, Jim Leyland refused to bring in his best pitcher and instead sent Fernando Rodney back to the mound for his fourth inning. Carlos Gomez singled, was sacrificed to second, and then scored the winning run on Ramirez' walkoff single.
Five hours later, the game was over. Both teams left twelve runners on base; remarkably, Gerald Laird was responsible for leaving a whopping ten Tigers stranded. Zach Miner gets charged with a blown save for allowing the Cabrera tot while Fernando Rodney, who threw 48 pitches for just the second time ever, took the loss.
If you get a chance to see this game again via replay, skip the first four innings and then sit back and enjoy one of the most classic affairs in baseball history. I was delirious and delusional by the end, but it was worth it.
UPDATE: Big League Stew compiled a top ten list of the best plays with links to MLB.com's video highlights. Go enjoy, you.