That's what it felt like when Torii Hunter dove for the ball and missed. It felt like I had the wind knocked out of me. And apparently, I wasn't alone in that feeling, since the Twins were pretty lifeless after that as well, managing only a bloop single from Bartlett with 2 outs in the 9th the rest of the way.
Anyway, about the rest of the game. You can't say enough about the effort and performance from Boof Bonser. A rookie making his first playoff start, Bonser threw 6 very solid innings, giving up just 2 runs in the 5th. This was a performance worthy of win, but once again the offense couldn't get it done.
However, I did like some things I saw from the offense. Unlike Tuesday, when they flailed at everything, they put together a lot better ABs, taking pitches, fouling pitches off, and making Loaiza work. Unfortunately, this effort was hampered a bit by the HUGE strike zone, but there's not much they can do about that.
The problems with the offense were twofold: they couldn't get anyone on base until there were 2 outs, and they can't hit to save their [playoff] lives once a runner gets into scoring position. After 2 games, the Twins are 0/14 with RISP. And you wonder why they've scored 4 runs in 2 games.
One other comment... Nick Punto has played very well all year, and he continues to supply good defense, but he is just dreadful at the plate right now, and has been for the last month. He's giving away ABs, chasing pitches, and not getting on base. I don't know if this is coincedence or not, but ever since he hit that HR in August he has not been very effective at the plate.
Anyway, maybe this is only fitting, being down 2-0 in the series. After all, the Twins fell way back in the Divison race before crawling back to win it, so maybe they just wouldn't have it any other way. In any event, their work is definitely cut out for them here. Down 2-0 heading back to Oakland, Minnesota will send Brad Radke to the mound on Friday, in only his 2nd start since coming back from the injury. Everyone on the Twins knows that if they lose this game, it will be Brad Radke's final start as an MLB player, which should provide even more motivation, not that they should need any at this point.
The Twins are down, but they're not out. 2-0 is a large deficit, but not insurmountable. If they can continue to get good pitching performances, combined with, I don't know, a hit or two with RISP, they might be able to keep playing baseball into the weekend. If not, it's going to be a long winter thinking about all the mistakes they've made in 2 games.