After several weeks of blown leads and rocky bullpen outings the Minnesota Twins came up with might be looked back on as a season-saving propel-to-the-playoffs type of win Thursday night. Down 8-6 in the ninth, Minnesota tied the game with a 2-run home run from Alexi Casilla to tie the game. Then with runners on first and second and no-one out in an obvious bunt situation Adam Everett showed bunt then delivered a double off the wall to put the Twins ahead. Evan Longoria had a chance to hit a fourth home run in the game getting an at-bat in the ninth but Joe Nathan delivered a redeeming save.
Now just a game and a half back with the White Sox losing again in New York, there will quite a finish with nine games to play for Minnesota and ten remaining for Chicago. The Sox will have a tougher journey with six of the remaining games on the road but they do have the lead at present. Red hot Kansas City, winner of seven straight games entering a home series with Chicago, could hold the key as the Royals play both teams. Minnesota will host Chicago for three exciting games next week.
In other baseball action there was scary moment in Arizona as the Cy Young favorite in the NL Tim Lincecum had his hand hit by a Randy Johnson fastball on a bunt attempt. Fortunately Lincecum appears fine and continued to play in what turned out to be a great NL West duel. Lincecum's numbers are incredible this season and he is likely to lead the NL in strikeouts and ERA. Win/Loss record is generally an overated statistic but posting the record he has with a rather lousy Giants team is a remarkable accomplishment.
Both Cy Young races appear well settled in my mind with Cliff Lee also having an incredible season on a marginal team. The MVP races will be much more interesting however as there is not a clear cut winner in either league. Albert Pujols has to be the favorite in the NL and it would be deserving with some simply amazing numbers if you break it down. In the AL it is likely to be a close race and the final games could likely matter as Dustin Pedroia and Justin Morneau will have the opportunity to deliver big numbers in leading their teams to potential division titles. An argument could be made for a half-dozen or so candidates. The batting title race in the AL will also be a close finish with Pedroia and the past two champions, Magglio Ordonez and Joe Mauer, all with nearly identical averages.