White Sox 7, Indians 6

In which Tom Mastny proved utterly un-nasty, thus hurting his chances of making Indonesia’s 2009 WBC squad.

Punchy A.J., however, got Bobby Jenks, he of a spectacular 9th inning meltdown, off the hook, with an off-the-hook 2-run, smirk-off shot off his shoelaces. Green pinstripes, green caps and Freddie “Kiss Me, I Can Still Pitch” Garcia coming up big for a change.

All is not peaches and cream at the Cell, however. If his call of the fateful 9th inning is anything to go by, the Hawk is badly in need of new trousers.

At the Metrodome Friday night, the heart of the Twins batting order went nuts, erasing a 4-2 Detroit lead en route to a 9-5 win. Minnesota’s 13 hit attack was paced by the quintet of Punto, Mauer, Cuddyer, Morneau and Hunter, who were a combined 9 for 21 on the evening. Phil Nevin entered the contest hitting .100 as a Twin and responded with a single and a two-RBI double. Detroit’s lead in the AL Central is down to 4 games. Carlos Silva prescribes lots of Pepto Bismol for everyone!

Fact facing time, ladies and gentlemen. Ryan Howard is going to pass Roger Maris. He might pass Mark McGwire. He might even catch the Sultan Of Surly if he continues getting anything to hit.

The notion of ringers in the minor league playoffs was raised earlier today. Scranton Wilkes-Barre avoided a sweep by Rochester in the first round of the International League playoffs tonight, and they’re rewarded with….a Game 4 facing Francisco Liriano tomorrow night.

With a win over Nashville on Saturday, Round Rock can advance to the Pacific Coast League championship round. Cody Ransom scored on a Eric Munson single in the bottom of the 10th a few minutes ago, giving the Express a 6-5 win, following a 50 minute rain delay. Round Rock’s Matt Alpers had a two hit shutout hrough 5, but saw a 5-0 lead disappear, thanks in no small portion to a pair of miscues by 2B Brooks Conrad in the top of the 8th. Jalien Perguro served up a 3 run HR to the Sounds’ Graham Koonce after the 2nd ball Conrad booted.

Earlier, Express C Hector Jimenez crushed a slower-than-slow knuckleball by reliever Jared Fernandez for a solo HR over the left field fence. The scoreboard claimed Fernandez’ pitch was traveling at 62 miles per hour (on the way to the plate, at least), but you’ll have to trust me on this one — he makes Tim Wakefield look like J.R. Richard. That’s not to say Fernandez wasn’t capable of making the opposition look silly when he had enough movement on the ball, but a few more drinks and I’d have been volunteering to pinch-hit.

I’ve taken more than a few shots at the Express over the last couple of seasons, usually for aesthetic crimes no lesser or greater than you’d find in any other minor league town. So for once, credit where it is due : 9100 + attended tonight’s game, a postseason encounter the franchise had scant opportunity to promote, and one that took place in steady rain, going head to head with a plethora of High School football games across the region.  I’ve attended playoff games in the Eastern, International and NY-Penn leagues, and none of ’em played before anything approaching a full house.