Twinsbaseball: 2008

Winter Caravan in Morris

Tuesday, January 15th of 2008
(Old #1 Bar & Grill)

I was able to get off work during lunch break (12noon -1pm) to take one of the clients to see a couple of Twins players in town.

I stand in line anticipating for autographys myself
Michael Cuddyer and Mike Redmond signing autographs

My friend mistakenly calls Matt Redman another player-Michael Cuddhyer

A friend of mine with the Twins Bear

2008 Minnesota Twins Baseball Caravan

"The 2008 Minnesota Twins Baseball Caravan including Michael Cuddyer and Mike Redmond, made its way through Jamestown, North Dakota on 01/17/08. "

Minnesota Twins 2008

"The Twins Ball Club In 08 With Team Photos and New Players "


Twins Singing "Ode To Joy" Commercial

"The 2008 Minnesota Twins pitching staff sings their version of "Ode To Joy." "

This Is SportsCenter: Joe Mauer

"Scott Van Pelt has lunch with Minnesota Twins star Joe Mauer, but Scott can't get anything right when talking to a true Minnesota"

Twins 2008 Season Highlights


  • Morneau's homer, three RBIs power Twins to ninth straight win,

  • "...Morneau went 3-for-4 with a walk and three RBIs. Twins starter Scott Baker also had a big day. Baker (4-2) got his first big league hit and scored his first run while holding the Padres to three runs and six hits in six innings. Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth for his 21st save in 23 chances."
    The Twins swept the Washington Nationals, Arizona Diamondbacks and now the Padres. Prior to that, they won two of three against Milwaukee. Minnesota is 12-3 overall against the NL this season going into their final interleague series at home this weekend against the Brewers.
    The Twins have gained six games on the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox during this round of interleague play. The Twins have outscored their opponents 56-19 during the nine-game winning streak, and their starters are 8-0 with a 2.17 ERA. It's their longest winning streak since taking 11 straight from June 22-July 3, 2006.

    Minnesota Twins 52-43 2008 4 Solid Pitchers! Paladino Live

    "The Minnesota Twins have surprised many, including myself, as I doubted they'd compete this year at all. With four solid pitchers, its hard to not see a bright future for this club!! Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, Glen Perkins and Kevin Slowey are the real deal! "

  • Twins take first on Casilla's walk-off hit Second baseman singles in 10th to complete sweep of Sox By Kelly Thesier / 09/26/2008 2:10 AM ET

  • "MINNEAPOLIS -- The jubilant way that the Twins jumped into a pile following Alexi Casilla's game-winning single on Thursday night made them look like a team that had just clinched a playoff spot.
    And if the Twins do go on to make the postseason, they will likely look back on it as the game that propelled them.
    After coming back from a five-run deficit to pull off an improbable 7-6 victory in 10 innings over the White Sox and finish the series sweep, the Twins found themselves with a half-game lead over Chicago in the American League Central race.
    It's the first time the Twins have held sole possession of first place in the division since Aug. 23.
    "It feels like you should just quit playing right now and be in the playoffs," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "But there are still three really tough games for us going against a tough Kansas City team that is playing great baseball. We are going to have to enjoy the heck out of this win, but tomorrow we have to turn around and really get after it, or this will all be for naught."
    That final three-game series against Kansas City certainly would not have meant as much had the Twins not been able to pull out this victory. And for a while on Thursday night, it looked like that might be the case.
    The Twins came into the series with the feeling that their only way to another playoff berth was to sweep Chicago. But that goal looked far from reachable early on Thursday after a disastrous fourth inning in which the White Sox took a 6-1 lead.
    Twins starter Kevin Slowey not only saw his perfect game ended in the inning after retiring 10 straight batters, but on a bases-loaded, two-out play, he also was knocked out with a right wrist injury.
    Rather than fold up due to the large deficit, the Twins appeared to use the injury as a rallying point. And a charged up crowd of 43,601 fans at the Metrodome -- the largest crowd since Opening Day -- also gave the home team a boost.
    The Twins first had to put behind them the two defensive miscues that led to runs in that inning -- including a collision between Denard Span and Carlos Gomez in right-center.
    With Span looking to have the ball in his sights, Gomez streaked in from out of nowhere and leapt for the ball at the same time as the right fielder. The two collided in mid-air, jarring the ball out of Span's glove.
    "He said he called me off the ball, but I didn't hear anything," Gomez said. "In the Metrodome, it's hard to hear when you've got a lot of people in the stadium."
    The missed catch, which came after Chicago tied the game on an Orlando Cabrera solo home run, could possibly have been the second out of the inning and kept the damage to the one run. Instead, that miscue extended the inning, along with a defensive mistake by third baseman Brian Buscher.
    After that play, Slowey loaded the bases by hitting A.J. Pierzynski with a pitch, and that's when Juan Uribe lined a shot up the middle that struck the pitcher in the right wrist.
    The ball bounced off Slowey to the front of the mound where he was able to recover and pick up the ball, but a wild throw past first base with his injured hand allowed two more runs to score.
    "You think, oh boy, there they go," Gardenhire said after his team gave up the six runs. "But you know what? Not this ballclub. They are game on, they kept playing."
    Gomez made up for the miscue with his play the rest of the night, helping to spark the offensive comeback with two triples -- one in the fourth and one in the sixth -- as the Twins tagged White Sox starter Gavin Floyd for four runs over his 5 2/3 innings.
    But it wasn't until the eighth, after the Twins' bullpen had combined for 4 1/3 scoreless innings, that Minnesota finally got itself in real position to finish off the comeback.
    With a runner on third and the Twins trailing 6-4, White Sox closer Bobby Jenks came in to try to capture a rare five-out save. But on an 0-2 pitch, Gomez singled to right field, scoring one run.
    The crowd was already into the contest at this point, but it didn't erupt until Span followed with a triple down the right-field line to tie the game. And the emotion of the moment was clear by Span's huge fist pump at third base as he screamed to his teammates, who were cheering inside the dugout.
    "I was rounding second, and I felt the electricity from the crowd already cheering," Span said. "I slid and got up from third. I just couldn't contain myself."
    The Twins wouldn't be able to finish off the rally, stranding Span at third base with one out, but closer Joe Nathan came out to pitch the ninth. He retired the side, before having to come out and do that again in the 10th.
    "After the first inning I threw, I came into the dugout, and I said, 'This is definitely the best game I've ever been a part of, win or lose,'" Nathan said.
    Luckily for Nathan and the Twins, it ended up a win.
    With Jenks out for his third inning in the 10th, Nick Punto drew a walk with one out. He got to third on a groundout and a wild pitch before Jenks intentionally walked Span to get to Casilla. After striking out with the go-ahead run on third in the eighth, Casilla this time lifted a single just over the infield into shallow center field to drive home the game-winning run.
    "That's why they are the Minnesota Twins. They play their heart out," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "They show up to play against us this week, and their resolve, that's what you saw. They never quit."
    Casilla's teammates swarmed him between first and second as they celebrated what everyone agreed was the biggest win of the season.
    "I don't have words to explain that," Casilla said of what he was feeling when he got the hit. "It feels great. The first walk-off hit of my career."
    One night of excitement is one thing. But the Twins are ready for a few more games to give themselves a celebration to remember -- a true playoff clincher.
    "This is do or die," Justin Morneau said. "We win this division, we go to the playoffs. We don't, we're going home. I think its going to be a pretty big celebration if we end up taking this thing."
    Kelly Thesier is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs."

    Twins walk off in first

    Minnesota 7, Chi White Sox 6 MIN Minnesota (87-72)
    Won 4
    September 25, 2008
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
    Chi White Sox
    0 0 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 7 0
    1 0 0 2 0 1 0 2 0 1 7 15 1
    Standings thru 9/25/08 | Recap: CWS | MIN | Gameday | White Sox stats | Twins stats

    Chi White Sox AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
    Wise, LF 5 0 0 0 0 2 1 .259
    Cabrera, SS 5 1 2 1 0 0 0 .283
    Dye, RF 4 1 1 0 1 1 1 .285
    Thome, DH 4 1 2 0 1 1 0 .247
    Konerko, 1B 5 0 0 1 0 0 5 .238
    Griffey Jr., CF 3 1 0 0 1 1 2 .245
    Anderson, B, CF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .237
    Ramirez, 2B 4 1 1 1 0 1 0 .295
    Pierzynski, C 3 1 0 0 0 1 0 .280
    Uribe, 3B 3 0 1 1 0 1 0 .251
    a-Swisher, PH 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .220
    Fields, 3B 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .156
    Totals 37 6 7 4 3 9 9

    a-Struck out for Uribe in the 9th.

    2B: Thome (28, Slowey).
    HR: Cabrera (8, 4th inning off Slowey, 0 on, 1 out).
    TB: Cabrera 5; Dye; Thome 3; Ramirez; Uribe.
    RBI: Cabrera (56), Konerko (56), Ramirez (73), Uribe (39).
    2-out RBI: Ramirez; Uribe.
    Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Wise; Griffey Jr. 2; Konerko.
    Team LOB: 5.

    SB: Cabrera (19, 3rd base off Crain/Mauer).

    Minnesota AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
    Span, RF 4 1 3 3 1 0 2 .299
    Casilla, 2B 5 0 2 1 0 2 2 .286
    Mauer, C 5 0 3 1 0 0 2 .330
    Morneau, 1B 5 0 0 0 0 1 3 .306
    Kubel, DH 3 0 1 0 0 0 2 .274
    a-Cuddyer, PH-DH 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 .248
    Young, LF 5 0 0 0 0 2 2 .294
    Buscher, 3B 2 1 0 0 1 1 2 .295
    b-Harris, PH-3B 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 .265
    Punto, SS 4 1 1 0 1 0 2 .281
    Gomez, CF 5 3 4 2 0 0 1 .262
    Totals 42 7 15 7 3 7 18

    a-Grounded out for Kubel in the 7th. b-Doubled for Buscher in the 8th.

    2B: Mauer (31, Floyd), Gomez (24, Floyd), Span (15, Floyd), Harris (28, Thornton).
    3B: Gomez 2 (7, Floyd, Floyd), Span (6, Jenks).
    TB: Span 6; Casilla 2; Mauer 4; Kubel; Harris 2; Punto; Gomez 9.
    RBI: Mauer (82), Gomez 2 (59), Span 3 (46), Casilla (49).
    2-out RBI: Gomez; Span; Casilla.
    Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Kubel; Span 2; Casilla; Buscher; Mauer.
    S: Casilla; Span.
    Team LOB: 11.

    E: Slowey (1, throw).

    Chi White Sox IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
    Floyd 5.2 11 4 4 1 4 0 3.91
    Thornton (H, 20) 1.2 1 1 1 0 1 0 2.74
    Jenks (BS, 4)(L, 3-1) 2.1 3 2 2 2 2 0 2.72

    Minnesota IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
    Slowey 3.2 5 6 4 1 3 1 3.99
    Guerrier 1.0 0 0 0 2 1 0 5.00
    Reyes 0.1 0 0 0 0 1 0 2.38
    Bonser 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 5.86
    Crain 1.0 2 0 0 0 0 0 3.65
    Breslow 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1.93
    Nathan (W, 1-2) 2.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 1.36

    WP: Jenks.
    IBB: Span (by Jenks).
    HBP: Pierzynski (by Slowey).
    Pitches-strikes: Floyd 101-70, Thornton 19-13, Jenks 34-22, Slowey 59-44, Guerrier 18-9, Reyes 4-3, Bonser 12-6, Crain 16-10, Breslow 13-7, Nathan 26-16.
    Groundouts-flyouts: Floyd 6-7, Thornton 3-1, Jenks 4-1, Slowey 3-5, Guerrier 2-0, Reyes 0-0, Bonser 1-1, Crain 1-2, Breslow 1-1, Nathan 1-3.
    Batters faced: Floyd 29, Thornton 6, Jenks 12, Slowey 18, Guerrier 5, Reyes 1, Bonser 3, Crain 5, Breslow 3, Nathan 6.
    Inherited runners-scored: Thornton 1-0, Jenks 1-1, Guerrier 1-0, Reyes 2-0.
    Umpires: HP: Mike Reilly. 1B: Andy Fletcher. 2B: Bob Davidson. 3B: Alfonso Marquez.
    Weather: 68 degrees, dome.
    Wind: Indoors.
    T: 3:27.
    Att: 43,601.
    September 25, 2008

    Box score official statistics approved by Major League Baseball Office of the Commissioner

  • Twins to watch Monday's game together White Sox-Tigers makeup contest could decide AL Central By Kelly Thesier / 09/28/2008 9:01 PM ET

  • "MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire spent Saturday night flipping channels between football games on the television and trying his best to avoid the White Sox-Indians game, one that he knew was going to impact his team's playoff chances.
    But on Monday, it will be quite a different story.
    This time, when the White Sox host the Tigers for a makeup of a regular-season rainout -- a contest that will decide whether the Twins will have to head to Chicago for a one-game tiebreaker -- the skipper will be glued to the TV.
    And he won't be the only one. The rest of his team will be sitting and watching right alongside him. .."

    Related Sites:

  • Where The Streets Have No Name- Official 2008 Minnesota Twins Baseball Tribute From: Nitroman08 Added: August 13, 2008 (

  • ""Where The Streets Have No Name" 2008 Minnesota Twin... "Where The Streets Have No Name" 2008 Minnesota Twins Baseball Slideshow Tribute. All players on the 2008 roster are featured. Music: U2- Where The Streets Have No Name "

    Twins Games I Attended

    Saturday, May 31st of 2008 vs. New York-Yankees at the Metrodome

    Prior to the game, I served as a "volunteer" for the Special Olympics selling raffle tickets. I would find out later that we (Morris team) sold close to 500!
    *see GoodnewsEverybody: Social-Physically Challenged

    Lost 7-6 in 12th

    NY Yankees 0 0 3 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 7 11 0
    Minnesota 1 1 1 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 6 13 1

    Standings thru 5/31/08 | Recap: NYY | MIN | Gameday | Yankees stats | Twins stats
    Damon, LF 5 2 2 1 1 0 1 .291
    Jeter, SS 6 1 1 0 0 1 1 .269
    Abreu, RF 5 1 2 2 1 2 0 .298
    Rodriguez, 3B 5 0 1 2 1 1 3 .288
    Matsui, DH 4 1 1 0 2 0 1 .337
    Giambi, 1B 6 1 1 0 0 1 4 .240
    Betemit, 1B 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .265
    Cano, 2B 5 0 1 0 0 0 3 .219
    Molina, C 5 1 1 1 0 1 1 .218
    Cabrera, CF 4 0 1 1 0 1 1 .265
    Totals 45 7 11 7 5 7 15

    2B: Matsui (12, Bonser), Abreu (12, Bonser), Molina (11, Crain).
    TB: Damon 2; Jeter; Abreu 3; Rodriguez; Matsui 2; Giambi; Cano; Molina 2;
    RBI: Abreu 2 (36), Rodriguez 2 (21), Molina (6), Cabrera (24), Damon (25). 2-out RBI: Abreu; Rodriguez 2; Damon.
    Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Cano; Matsui; Rodriguez; Giambi 2.
    SF: Cabrera.
    GIDP: Damon.
    Team LOB: 8.

    SB: Rodriguez 2 (6, 2nd base off Reyes/Mauer, 2nd base off Bonser/Mauer), Damon (8, 2nd base off Bonser/Mauer), Abreu (5, 2nd base off Bonser/Mauer).
    CS: Rodriguez (1, 3rd base by Reyes/Mauer).
    Minnesota AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
    Gomez, CF 6 0 1 1 0 2 4 .282
    Casilla, 2B 3 2 1 1 3 0 1 .340
    Mauer, C 5 0 1 0 1 1 4 .315
    Morneau, 1B 6 0 1 1 0 1 4 .305
    Cuddyer, RF 6 1 2 2 0 2 3 .232
    Kubel, DH 6 0 0 0 0 3 4 .241
    Young, LF 6 2 3 0 0 3 2 .264
    Lamb, 3B 6 0 3 0 0 0 2 .255
    Punto, SS 4 1 1 1 1 0 1 .264
    Totals 48 6 13 6 5 12 25
    2B: Young (7, Wang), Lamb (8, Wang).
    3B: Lamb (2, Ohlendorf).
    HR: Cuddyer (2, 7th inning off Ramirez, 0 on, 1 out).
    TB: Gomez; Casilla; Mauer; Morneau; Cuddyer 5; Young 4; Lamb 6; Punto.
    RBI: Morneau (42), Punto (8), Cuddyer 2 (22), Gomez (23), Casilla (13). 2-out RBI: Morneau.
    Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Young; Mauer; Gomez 2; Kubel.
    SF: Punto.
    Team LOB: 12.
    SB: Punto (4, 2nd base off Wang/Molina), Casilla (2, 2nd base off Wang/Molina), Young (9, 3rd base off Wang/Molina).
    E: Punto (2, fielding).
    DP: (Punto-Morneau).

    NY Yankees IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
    Wang 5.1 9 5 5 3 4 0 4.14
    Ramirez (BS, 1) 1.1 1 1 1 0 0 1 0.56
    Veras 1.1 1 0 0 0 1 0 3.86
    Farnsworth 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 4.26
    Ohlendorf (W, 1-1) 2.0 2 0 0 2 4 0 5.97
    Rivera (S, 15) 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.36
    Minnesota IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
    Bonser 5.0 5 5 2 3 2 0 5.97
    Crain 1.0 2 1 1 0 0 0 4.05
    Breslow 1.2 0 0 0 0 3 0 2.70
    Guerrier 0.1 0 0 0 0 1 0 3.16
    Nathan 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1.59
    Reyes 1.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2.55
    Rincon (L, 2-2) 1.2 3 1 1 1 0 0 4.38
    Bass 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 5.61
    Bonser pitched to 2 batters in the 6th.
    IBB: Punto (by Ohlendorf).
    Pitches-strikes: Wang 92-58, Ramirez 16-11, Veras 20-13, Farnsworth 15-11, Ohlendorf 45-28, Rivera 10-7, Bonser 103-67, Crain 20-15, Breslow 26-20, Guerrier 3-3, Nathan 15-10, Reyes 12-5, Rincon 31-17, Bass 3-2.
    Ground outs-fly outs: Wang 5-7, Ramirez 1-3, Veras 1-2, Farnsworth 1-0, Ohlendorf 0-2, Rivera 1-1, Bonser 7-6, Crain 1-2, Breslow 0-2, Guerrier 0-0, Nathan 2-0, Reyes 1-1, Rincon 3-2, Bass 0-1.
    Batters faced: Wang 28, Ramirez 5, Veras 5, Farnsworth 3, Ohlendorf 10, Rivera 3, Bonser 24, Crain 5, Breslow 5, Guerrier 1, Nathan 3, Reyes 3, Rincon 9, Bass 1.
    Inherited runners-scored: Ramirez 2-1, Crain 2-2, Bass 3-0.
    Umpires: HP: Bill Miller. 1B: Chris Tiller. 2B: Gary Darling. 3B: Jerry Meals.
    Weather: 68 degrees, dome.
    Wind: Indoors.
    T: 4:35.
    Att: 36,441.

    Minnesota falls in extra innings Bonser has up-and-down start as Twins can't pick up big hit By Mike Cook / Special to 06/01/2008 1:36 AM ET
    "MINNEAPOLIS -- Missed opportunities led to a defeat and possibly a demotion. Minnesota was unable to get two key hits in extra innings, setting up Bobby Abreu's heroics, as the Twins fell to the Yankees, 7-6, on Saturday behind the right fielder's RBI single in the 12th.
    Johnny Damon singled with one out and advanced to third on a single by Derek Jeter. Abreu then delivered the third straight single up the middle against Twins righty Juan Rincon (2-2), Minnesota's sixth reliever.
    The Twins, who entered the game hitting a Major League-best .311 with runners in scoring position, had Mike Lamb at third base with two outs in the 10th and Alexi Casilla on second with no one out in the 11th, but they could not get the game-winning hit.
    Minnesota starter Boof Bonser went five-plus innings in what is quite possibly his final start for some time.
    Bonser allowed five runs (two earned), but it may not be enough to keep him in the starting rotation. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wouldn't speculate on any changes, only saying that he and general manager Bill Smith will have discussions in the "next few days."
    "I'd like to think I made it hard on them," Bonser said, who admitted the pending decision has been weighing heavily on his mind. "At the same time, every time they give me a chance to go out and start, I'm going to keep doing it. Hopefully, I'll get another start in five days."
    In six May starts, Bonser went 0-2 with an 8.60 ERA. Last Saturday in Detroit, the right-hander allowed eight earned runs in three innings. He was 2-4 with a 3.75 ERA in six April starts.
    Bonser was given an extra day of rest before Saturday's start, so Glen Perkins, who lost on Friday, could remain on his normal five-day rotation. It also put Bonser on the same schedule as Scott Baker, who is completing a rehabilitation assignment for a strained right groin at Class A Fort Myers.
    Baker allowed seven hits and three earned runs, while striking out four on Saturday.
    "Baker threw the ball fine down in the Minor Leagues," Gardenhire said. "His groin is fine."
    Bonser, who threw 67 of his 103 pitches for strikes against patient New York hitters, left the contest after walking Hideki Matsui and allowing a single to Jason Giambi to open the sixth inning. Both later scored for a 5-3 Yankees lead.
    "I never think I've done enough," Bonser said. "I'm just glad they ran me back out there with how many pitches I had. It just [stunk] that I couldn't get the first couple of guys out, and I had to be taken out."
    A third-inning error by Nick Punto led to three unearned runs. Leading, 2-0, at the time, Bonser walked Damon on a 3-2 pitch and then Punto booted a ground ball, allowing Jeter to reach first. Abreu doubled to score Damon, and Alex Rodriguez singled on a 3-2 pitch to plate two more runs. A-Rod broke his bat on contact, but the ball just sailed over a leaping Punto.
    "I threw it where I wanted -- a sinker in, a two-seamer in -- and he's just strong enough to get it over the infield," Bonser said.
    Trailing, 6-3, in the sixth, Carlos Gomez singled home Delmon Young, and Punto scored on a groundout. Michael Cuddyer hit a seventh-inning solo home run off Yankees reliever Edwar Ramirez to tie the game at 6.
    "Six runs is enough to win a lot of games," Young said.
    Ross Ohlendorf (1-1) worked out of two extra-innings jams to earn his first big league win, and closer Mariano Rivera picked up his 15th save in 15 tries this season.
    But Minnesota had two quality chances to avoid the New York closer.
    Lamb, who had three hits, just missed putting the ball over the right-field baggy for a home run in the 10th.
    "I thought it was a walk-off," said Young, who also had three hits.
    In the 11th, Justin Morneau flied out, Cuddyer struck out and Jason Kubel flied out, with Casilla, who singled to open the frame, left stranded at second base.
    Gardenhire said patience was not in full bloom during some crucial late-inning at-bats.
    "We chased some pitches out of the zone, and I think a couple of our hitters got excited in those situations and we chased," Gardenshire said. "It's about staying in the zone, and we've talked about that a lot."

    Mike Cook is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

    Wednesday, July 2nd of 2008 vs. Detroit-Tigers at the Metrodome

    Twins Win 7-0

    Detroit 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 1
    Minnesota 0 0 5 0 1 1 0 0 X 7 14 1

    Standings thru 7/2/08 | Recap: DET | MIN | Gameday | Tigers stats | Twins stats
    Detroit AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
    Granderson, CF 3 0 1 0 1 1 0 .295
    Polanco, 2B 4 0 2 0 0 0 2 .320
    1-Hollimon, M, PR-2B 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .222
    Guillen, 3B 3 0 0 0 0 1 2 .295
    Raburn, 3B 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 .225
    Thames, 1B 4 0 0 0 0 1 4 .276
    Joyce, RF 4 0 0 0 0 0 3 .194
    Sheffield, DH 4 0 0 0 0 2 1 .227
    Thomas, LF 4 0 1 0 0 1 0 .315
    Renteria, SS 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 .268
    Sardinha, C 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 .091
    Totals 33 0 5 0 1 6 14
    1-Ran for Polanco in the 8th.
    2B: Raburn (7, Crain).
    TB: Granderson; Polanco 2; Raburn 2; Thomas.
    Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Polanco; Joyce; Thames 2.
    Team LOB: 7.

    E: Guillen (11, fielding).
    Outfield assists: Thomas (Punto at 2nd base).
    DP: (Renteria-Thames).

    Minnesota AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
    Gomez, CF 5 1 3 0 0 1 0 .274
    Casilla, 2B 4 0 1 1 0 0 3 .325
    Mauer, C 4 1 2 2 1 0 2 .326
    Morneau, 1B 4 1 0 0 0 0 4 .310
    Kubel, DH 4 1 1 1 0 1 0 .263
    Young, LF 4 1 3 1 0 0 0 .284
    Buscher, 3B 4 0 1 1 0 0 2 .339
    Punto, SS 3 0 2 1 1 0 1 .278
    Span, RF 4 2 1 0 0 0 4 .293
    Totals 36 7 14 7 2 2 16

    2B: Gomez (14, Bonine), Young 2 (16, Fossum, Fossum), Span (3, Fossum).
    TB: Gomez 4; Casilla; Mauer 2; Kubel; Young 5; Buscher; Punto 2; Span 2.
    RBI: Mauer 2 (36), Kubel (43), Young (29), Buscher (16), Punto (9), Casilla (32).
    2-out RBI: Mauer 2; Kubel; Young; Buscher; Punto.
    Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Span 2; Morneau; Punto; Mauer.
    S: Casilla.
    GIDP: Morneau.
    Team LOB: 8.
    E: Buscher (2, throw).
    Detroit IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
    Bonine (L, 2-1) 2.2 7 5 2 2 1 0 4.30
    Fossum 4.1 6 2 2 0 0 0 8.71
    Rodney 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 9.00
    Minnesota IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
    Blackburn (W, 7-4) 7.0 3 0 0 1 4 0 3.78
    Crain 1.0 2 0 0 0 1 0 2.88
    Bonser 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 6.15

    WP: Rodney.
    Pitches-strikes: Bonine 52-31, Fossum 55-38, Rodney 19-13, Blackburn 104-69, Crain 17-12, Bonser 11-8.
    Ground outs-fly outs: Bonine 4-3, Fossum 4-8, Rodney 1-1, Blackburn 6-11, Crain 0-2, Bonser 1-1.
    Batters faced: Bonine 17, Fossum 18, Rodney 4, Blackburn 26, Crain 5, Bonser 3. Inherited runners-scored: Fossum 3-0.
    Umpires: HP: Tim Welke. 1B: Chuck Meriwether. 2B: James Hoye. 3B: Chris Guccione.
    Weather: 68 degrees, dome.
    Wind: Indoors.
    T: 2:30.
    Att: 30,102.

    Box score official statistics approved by Major League Baseball Office of the Commissioner

    Punto's dive ignites Twins' offense, win Minnesota follows shortstop's grab with five-run onslaught By Kelly Thesier / 07/02/2008 6:50 PM ET
    "MINNEAPOLIS -- A big offensive inning is often sparked by a key hit or key mistake. But on Wednesday afternoon, it was a key defensive play by the Twins in the top half of the third inning that ignited them to a 7-0 victory over the Tigers at the Metrodome.
    With two on and two out, shortstop Nick Punto made a jaw-dropping defensive snare: a diving stop behind second base, followed by the ensuing flip -- or, more accurately, roll -- of the ball from his glove to second baseman Alexi Casilla for the final out of the inning.
    Casilla was running in the opposite direction and had to stretch away from the base to make the grab, while keeping his foot on the bag just long enough to record the out.
    The Twins have long come to rely on Punto for highlight-reel plays. But it was the degree of difficulty in his latest maneuver that left some of his teammates, including starter Nick Blackburn, nearly speechless.
    "That was unbelievable," Blackburn said. "I didn't think at any point that ball was going to be an out. Even Casilla made a great play to keep his foot on the bag. So, all around, it was one of the best plays I've ever seen."
    Punto said that he just went with his instincts.
    "My intent was to hit him in the chest," Punto said. "But I just had to get rid of it quick. He made a great play on the back end of that and it worked out for us."
    In a still-scoreless game, Punto's nab helped prevent the Tigers from scoring the first run in that inning. And in the process, he sparked his team offensively, too.
    "To make a play like that, he definitely pumped me up," said right fielder Denard Span. "I think it set the tone for the whole day."
    The Twins carried the momentum into the third inning when they put together a five-run scoring drive off Tigers starter Eddie Bonine with two outs in the inning -- a rally that was largely helped by the club's speed.
    With runners on second and third, catcher Joe Mauer got the two-out hitting started by lacing a single to center field. The liner up the middle might not have been able to score two had it not been for the runner on second base -- Carlos Gomez.
    "I've never seen speed like this in the lineup," Mauer said of the club's trio of Span, Gomez and Casilla. "I'm not going to name any names, but somebody else out there might not have scored. But with Gomez on second, you are going to wave him more times than not."
    A fielding error by Tigers third baseman Carlos Guillen one batter later gave the Twins a chance to extend the inning. And boy, did they take advantage: The error was followed by four consecutive singles by the Twins' Nos. 5-8 hitters, leading to three more runs and giving the Twins a 5-0 lead.
    "They make a mistake and we're banging it through somewhere," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "When you do that, you have a chance, [and] you have to take advantage of it. With our lineup, we have so much speed, if we can put pressure on them and make contact, a lot of good things happen."
    The big inning and Punto's key defensive play helped Blackburn ease through seven shutout innings
    Coming off a difficult outing against Milwaukee in which he allowed six runs in fewer than five innings, Blackburn rebounded against a Tigers team that had proved tough against him this year. He held Detroit to just three hits and struck out four on Wednesday.
    "One thing he threw real well was his curveball," Mauer said. "If he needed a strike, he could throw the curveball over. You need to do that against a team like this, change speeds and keep moving the ball around."
    Of course, strong defense behind Blackburn (7-4) throughout the game didn't hurt either.
    Punto's sprawl and flip was just one of a few impressive plays in the third inning. The shortstop also made a nice grab on a line drive hit by Dane Sardinha. But the real gem, on a Curtis Granderson single, may have gone unnoticed.
    Most balls hit into the gaps by the speedy Granderson turn into doubles. But Span got a great read on the ball and whipped it back into the infield to hold Granderon at first.
    "It happened so fast, but I just tried to pick up where my cutoff man was," Span said. "I just tried to use my peripherals and let the ball go as soon as possible and as accurately as possible."
    Early on in the season, Gardenhire seemed puzzled by his team's ineffective defensive play and searched high and low for solutions. But the Twins' execution on Thursday was a sign that things finally have started to turn around.
    "We struggled through it early, trying to figure out the right mix and fits with a lot of injuries," Gardenhire said. "We're better right now than we've been. ... We're not making as many silly mistakes throwing the ball to the wrong bases now. We're throwing the ball to the right bases now and keeping double plays in order. That's what we preached and talked about. When it starts happening, you start winning ballgames."
    That's exactly what the Twins have done in their recent stretch, winning 15 of their last 18 games.

    Kelly Thesier is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

    Twins fall in AL Central tiebreaker Blackburn takes tough-luck loss against White Sox By Kelly Thesier / 10/01/2008 12:50 AM ET
    "CHICAGO -- It took 163 contests to decide an American League Central champion. In the end, the Twins just came up one run short.
    In a one-game tiebreaker to crown the division champion on Tuesday night, it was Jim Thome's seventh-inning solo home run off Twins starter Nick Blackburn that made the difference in the Twins' 1-0 loss to the White Sox.
    The toll of such a close loss was evident inside the visiting clubhouse at U.S. Cellular Field after the game. Red eyes and tears mottled the cheeks of many of the players.
    They were left trying to comprehend how they had come so close to the postseason, only to see their season come to a crashing halt in such a devastating way.
    "You never want to put 162 games into one game," first baseman Justin Morneau said. "But that's what ended up happening. You don't want to come down to one shot, but that's what [happened]. We're going home and they're going to the playoffs. It's going to hurt for awhile. It's going to be a long night for sure."
    The longstanding joke all season had been that this was the division nobody wanted to win. But there certainly looked to be a battle for it between these Twins and White Sox on Tuesday.
    Two young starting pitchers overcame their recent struggles to put on quite a show on the mound.
    The 23-year-old left-handed starter for the White Sox, John Danks, delivered the performance of his career. Pitching on three days' rest for the first time, Danks tossed eight shutout innings while allowing just two hits and walking three.
    "It was tough the whole night," catcher Joe Mauer said. "Their pitchers did a great job. Danks was really tough tonight. He threw some pitches at me, painting the corners, and stuff was moving all over the place. Sometimes you have to tip to your cap to a performance like that."
    Meanwhile, Blackburn matched him nearly pitch for pitch during most of the contest.
    Before a sold-out crowd of 40,354 -- most of them donned in black in support of the White Sox -- Blackburn showed a lot of composure at a ballpark where he'd previously had trouble. He allowed just two hits over his first six innings.
    The two teams who were matched up with identical 88-74 records coming into the contest -- with even their home, road and division records being the same -- kept it knotted up at zero through six innings.
    "It came down to just what we thought it would," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It was two very equal baseball teams getting after each other. Our guys played their heart out."
    But in a contest where the Twins offense could manage just two hits, it was one big swing of the bat by Thome to lead off the seventh that made all the difference.

    Winner take all
    The results of the six previous one-game tiebreakers in MLB history. Date
    Sept. 30, 2008 AL Central White Sox 1, Twins 0
    Oct. 1, 2007 NL Wild Card Rockies 9, Padres 8, 13 innings
    Oct. 4, 1999 NL Wild Card Mets 5, Reds 0
    Sept. 28, 1998 NL Wild Card Cubs 5, Giants 3
    Oct. 2, 1995 AL West Mariners 9, Angels 1
    Oct. 6, 1980 NL West Astros 7, Dodgers 1
    Oct. 2, 1978 AL East Yankees 5, Red Sox 4

    On a 2-2 pitch from Blackburn, Thome got his first changeup of the evening and blasted the hanging pitch deep to center field. The 461-foot homer landed beyond the greenery in center field, onto the concourse area.
    "I think tonight kind of sums up the whole season for me," Blackburn said. "I make one mistake and it ends up out of the park. It's kind of been the way the year has gone for me."
    Considering the way Blackburn carried them throughout his 6 1/3 innings, his teammates weren't left lamenting the one mistake, but rather their inability to help the rookie starter.
    "We couldn't ask him to do anything more," Mauer said of Blackburn. "He was just even-keeled the whole game. He gave us a great shot to win. We just couldn't get him any runs."
    Making the loss even tougher was that the Twins appeared to be in line to score the first run in the fifth. Michael Cuddyer put an end to Danks' no-hit bid by leading off the inning with a double to left field.
    A deep fly ball to center field by Delmon Young put Cuddyer just 90 feet away from home plate. Brendan Harris followed with a flyout to shallow center field and the Twins made the call to test veteran center fielder Ken Griffey's arm.
    Running on a left foot that is still healing from the fracture he suffered on Aug. 8, Cuddyer took off for home. Griffey's throw home bounced twice and the second short-hop went straight into the glove of catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
    But even a hard collision, with Cuddyer lowering his shoulder into Pierzynski, wasn't enough to jar the ball loose. And the only real offensive threat by the Twins was over.
    Only play I was going to have, if it was a good throw, was to run him over," Cuddyer said. "I went for his arm, just to try and drive the ball loose. Unfortunately, the ball was stuck. He said he didn't even feel it in his glove. ... That just goes to show it kind of just stuck there."
    From there, the Twins would get their only other hit in the eighth on Harris' one-out single to left. That threat ended quickly with Nick Punto grounding into a double play.
    For a team that scored the third-highest single-season run total in club history, it was difficult to accept that one run was the difference.
    Gardenhire met with his team shortly after the loss, telling them how proud he was of them and their ability to battle all season long despite the harsh way it ended.
    "We had a lot of ups and downs, a lot of really tough moments for us," Gardenhire said. "A lot of walk-off losses that are really, really tough to handle for any baseball team. This young baseball team competed and kept bouncing back. We had some good moments, we had some ugly moments. If you look back at it, it was a heck of a performance by a very young baseball team.
    "We put ourselves in a situation where we had a chance to win the division tonight, and we lost by one."
    As the Twins struggled to stomach the loss, it might not have been easy to see all those positives. But the hope is that this moment might provide a little extra motivation for when the club arrives in Fort Myers, Fla., in February for the start of another year.
    "The guys aren't happy just getting here," Morneau said. "We want to improve on this and it's the first step of getting toward the playoffs with all the new guys that we have. I think this team showed a lot and hopefully we'll be even better for it next year.""

    Reflection of 2008

  • The End Hurts For Twins, But The Future Is Bright MINNEAPOLIS (AP) ― , Oct 1, 2008 7:04 pm US/Central (

  • "The Minnesota Twins ignored their inexperience, until the very end.
    Given the preseason forecasts relegating them to third or fourth place in the AL Central and the large group of unproven players moving into key roles, 88 wins and a spot in Tuesday's tiebreaker against the Chicago White Sox -- a wrenching 1-0 defeat -- was unarguable progress for this team following a losing 2007 and the departures of stalwarts Torii Hunter and Johan Santana.
    Remembering a bunch of blown leads down the stretch and the chance to clinch the division at home last weekend after an inspired sweep of the White Sox, though, the Twins took little solace in the final result.
    "It kind of stings a little bit. It kind of hurts a little bit," outfielder Michael Cuddyer said on Wednesday afternoon as players cleared their stuff out of the clubhouse.
    There is much for them to feel good about for next year, including the taste of a pennant chase and the experience of pressure-packed games for all the rookies and second-year players who were thrust into action in 2008.
    "I think we accomplished a lot more than people thought we were going to," said outfielder Denard Span, whose midseason callup to replace an injured Cuddyer was probably the most encouraging development among many this year for Minnesota. "We weren't satisfied with it, but I think it's a good season to build on."
    Never falling more than 3 1/2 games behind Chicago in the race after June 20 and holding a half-game lead through the final weekend of the regular season, the Twins were admittedly tense on Tuesday. It sounded like the nerves of the spotlight finally got to some of the guys.
    "Hopefully it's a great learning experience for this baseball team and we can just get better and better with all the young talent that we have," said manager Ron Gardenhire, who noted some tentative swings from his hitters against White Sox lefty John Danks.
    First baseman Justin Morneau, who finished second in the league with 129 RBIs and batted .300 with 23 homers and 47 doubles, might have hurt his chance of winning a second Most Valuable Player award by going 6-for-41 with one RBI and two extra-base hits -- both doubles -- in the last 11 games.
    "We were a little anxious. You try and make things happen and sometimes you're taking ones you should hit and chasing ones you shouldn't. It's part of baseball," said Morneau, who was still lamenting the six runners he left on in Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals with two strikeouts, a double-play groundout and a flyout.
    Right-hander Nick Blackburn shined on Tuesday by pitching into the seventh with only one run allowed. With him, Glen Perkins, Kevin Slowey, Francisco Liriano and Scott Baker all having contracts under club control, the 2009 rotation is already set.
    The outfield is, too, though somebody could be traded for an upgrade elsewhere. Span's emergence gave the Twins five everyday players for four spots, including designated hitter Jason Kubel, left fielder Delmon Young, center fielder Carlos Gomez and Cuddyer. Kubel and reliever Matt Guerrier are eligible for salary arbitration this winter.
    Alexi Casilla stabilized second base, but the left side of the infield is still in flux. Shortstop Nick Punto proved his dependability at the bottom of the order and his excellence in the field, but he fought injuries again and is one of four pending free agents. Shortstop Adam Everett and relievers Dennys Reyes and Eddie Guardado are the others.
    Brian Buscher and Brendan Harris contributed at third base after Mike Lamb was declared a bust and let go, but that's the position where a proven power hitter -- preferably a right-hander for the middle of the order to offset lefties Morneau and Joe Mauer -- is needed. The Twins batted a majors-best .305 with men in scoring position and put together one of the fastest lineups in the game with the bunting and running abilities of Span, Casilla, Punto and Gomez, but the White Sox showed them that another home run hitter would sure help.
    Then there is the bullpen, which became a clear weakness in August and September. Closer Joe Nathan had another All-Star season, but when setup man Pat Neshek went down with an elbow injury the eighth inning was a problem.
    Plenty of room remains for improvement, though plenty of progress was made.
    "Hopefully it makes us even hungrier going into the offseason," Morneau said, adding: "I think this team has shown a lot. We'll be even better for it next year. Hopefully guys aren't happy with just getting to where we got.""

    Minnesota Twins post third highest season attendance total in club history, 09/28/2008 4:34 PM ET
    "MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Twins 2008 total attendance of 2,302,431 is the third highest single-season attendance total in team history. This also marks the first time in Twins history that the team has drawn more than two million fans for four consecutive years.
    Additionally, the 2008 season marks the tenth time in the Twins- 48-year history that the team has drawn more than two million fans in a season - which includes a streak of 18 games with crowds of 30,000 or more between July 5 and August 17. That streak is second all-time behind the 1988 season that had a streak of 26 consecutive home crowds of 30,000 or more between June 22 and August 24.
    Twins Annual Attendance Ranks - Top 10 Seasons All-Time
    (1) 3,030,672 - 1988
    (2) 2,482,428 - 1992
    (3) 2,302,431 - 2008
    (4) 2,296,347 - 2007
    (5) 2,293,842 - 1991
    (6) 2,285,018 - 2006
    (7) 2,277,438 - 1989
    (8) 2,081,976 - 1987
    (9) 2,048,673 - 1993
    (10) 2,034,243 - 2005

    Deposits are now being taken for 2009 season tickets. Fans can secure 2008 postseason and Target Field seating priority with a deposit on 2009 season tickets. For more information on Twins season, group and individual tickets, please visit or call (612) 33-TWINS / (800) 33-TWINS.

    {Photo Gallery}

    All Star Game at Yankee Stadium

  • Morneau overcomes Hamilton's stellar show, from

  • "took the 2008 State Farm Home Run Derby crown with a 5-3 victory over Josh Hamilton in the final round, but it was Hamilton who wowed the Yankee Stadium crowd with a first-round record 28 home runs, including three 500-foot blasts...
  • 2008 State Farm Home Run Derby Tracker,

  • "..Josh Hamilton put on a home-run hitting display that would have made Babe Ruth proud, but in the end Justin Morneau emerged as the champion of the 2008 State Farm Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium. The Twins' first baseman outslugged the Rangers' outfielder, 5-3, in the championship round to come out on top. Hamilton settled for second place despite setting a Home Run Derby record with 28 bombs in the first round..."
  • Morneau's mad dash pays off- First baseman's winning run caps Twins' All-Star experience By Anthony Castrovince / 07/16/2008 3:59 AM ET

  • "NEW YORK -- Twins first baseman's Justin Morneau's instant analysis of the situation was not a positive one.
    He did not deem this to be the perfect opportunity for the American League to win the longest of the 79 All-Star Games on Tuesday.
    "One of the slowest guys on the field on third," Morneau said, "and a semi-shallow sac fly."
    The slow guy, of course, was Morneau himself. He was on third after notching a single off closer Brad Lidge to open the bottom of the 15th and advancing on a Dioner Navarro single and a J.D. Drew walk.
    When Michael Young lifted that aforementioned semi-shallow sacrifice fly to right, Morneau knew he would have a chance to put an end to the all-nighter.
    Albeit a slim chance, given Morneau's speed -- or lack thereof.
    But Morneau had momentum. He had heard an AL teammate joke during one of the many extra innings that, "If this game goes any longer, I'm going to have to put eye black on."
    He had also watched the AL squander opportunity after opportunity in extras -- including a bases-loaded, no-out situation against Aaron Cook in the 10th that went nowhere. In fact, Morneau was partially to blame for that 10th-inning freeze-out, as his groundout ended the threat.
    So the analysis didn't matter. Morneau wanted this run too much, and he got it. Once the ball was in right fielder Corey Hart's glove, he charged down the third-base line and slid in -- barely -- ahead of Braves catcher Brian McCann's tag.
    Emphasis on the "barely."
    "It was about as close as you can get," Morneau said. "I thought I was out until I saw him reach across for the ball then have to come back to make the tag. My foot just barely made it in."
    Because it made it in, the AL came out ahead, 4-3, securing a home-field advantage in the World Series that Morneau hopes he and his Twins teammates can take advantage of.
    In the meantime, the three members of the Twins who came here to the Big Apple to represent Minnesota in the final All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium had plenty to enjoy.
    "It was about as close as you can get. I thought I was out until I saw him reach across for the ball then have to come back to make the tag. My foot just barely made it in." -- Justin Morneau

    Whether it was Joe Mauer getting his first All-Star start or Joe Nathan taking in Morneau's Home Run Derby victory with his son Chase, this proved to be a special couple of days for the boys from the Twin Cities.
    "This is definitely more crazy than a normal All-Star Game," said Nathan, who tossed a perfect seventh inning in his third Midsummer Classic. "But it's all for the good. It's been unbelievable."
    Mauer, who drew a walk in the second inning and notched his first All-Star hit with a chopper up the middle in the fifth, could hardly believe he was getting the start amongst the game's elite players.
    "It's pretty cool," Mauer said. "Just looking around at the different lockers and seeing the amount of talent ... to be around some guys who were around when you weren't even playing professionally is pretty special."
    But none of the Twins had a more special experience than Morneau, who had to outlast the unbelievable performance turned in by Josh Hamilton to win the Derby on Monday night and was applauded for the classy way he handled a somewhat awkward situation.
    Clearly, the fans wanted Hamilton to win after he crushed 28 homers in the first round, and Morneau said he could hardly blame them.
    "It was his moment, and it was tough for me to fully enjoy [winning], because I wanted to see him win and everybody in the stadium wanted to see him win," Morneau said. "At the same time, I wouldn't have gotten in it if I didn't want to win."
    Morneau wanted to help the AL win Tuesday night's game, and he gave them a fighting chance when he doubled off Edinson Volquez to lead off the bottom of the seventh. The AL was trailing, 2-0, at the time, but Morneau's double sparked a rally, as J.D. Drew homered two outs later to tie it up.
    But Morneau struggled to come through in the clutch late. After the AL tied it up again at 3 in the eighth, he came up with two outs and Evan Longoria on second but made the last out when he grounded out to pitcher Billy Wagner.
    In the 10th, he came up with the bases loaded and two out and hit a grounder to shortstop Miguel Tejada. Tejada's throw just barely beat Morneau to the bag.
    As the game dragged on into the bottom of the 15th, the AL was in desperate need of a hero. The Junior Circuit's last pitcher, Scott Kazmir, had worked the top of the 15th on one day's rest, and everyone in attendance was getting equally restless, with that dreaded word -- "tie" -- on their lips.
    Morneau delivered with that single. And when he came home with the winning run on a play that made him feel like he was "running through quicksand," it was sweet relief.
    "That was an unbelievably long game," an exhausted Morneau said. "It's good we won it. That would have been a tough one to take a loss."
    Morneau was a winner on all fronts during these All-Star festivities.
    "It's something I'll never forget, that's for sure," he said. "These last couple days were pretty special. You come in here, and hope to do well, and end up scoring the winning run. What happened in the Derby was also pretty special. It was definitely a couple days I'll always remember."

    Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs."

    Stadium Update:

    Downtown Journal: Minnesota Twins new stadium

    "Here's a 3-D view of the Minnesota Twins' new stadium. You can learn more about the stadium, issues surrounding it, and about downtown Minneapolis at "

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