Twins take early lead over Yankees and CC Sabathia

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Things are looking up for the Twinkies through two innings at Minneapolis’ Target Field.

Minnesota ace Francisco Liriano struck out Yankees leadoff man Derek Jeter to open the first inning,
then promptly retired Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira on balls that did
not get out of the infield.

CC Sabathia escaped a Denard Span single with a little damage control in the bottom of the frame, accepting a free out on a sacrifice bunt by Orlando Hudson and then fanning All-Star catcher Joe Mauer before inducing a groundball against Delmon Young.

With two outs in the top of the second, Liriano walked Marcus Thames and allowed a soft single to Jorge Posada.  But Curtis Granderson, he of the .228/.341/.447 regular-season batting line with runners in scoring position, was quickly retired on a liner to first base.

Sabathia nailed Jim Thome in the bicep to lead off the bottom of the second inning, which injected a little energy into the Target Field crowd.  That energy turned to pandemonium just three pitches later as Michael Cuddyer launched a monstrous two-run blast to straightaway center field, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead.

Let’s get a weather update out of the way for those who still believe that Minnesota is covered in snow 90% of the year and does not participate in the season called autumn.  The temperature at game time was 63 degrees with no blizzards in sight, and even warmer temperatures are on tap for Game 2.  Target Field is rocking because, for now at least, the home team is winning.

Tigers, Royals to play a regular season game in Omaha next year

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Major League Baseball announced today that the Kansas City Royals and the Detroit Tigers will play a regular season game in Omaha, Nebraska next year to open the festivities for the College World Series.

The game will be played on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha two days before the first game of the Series. It will be televised nationally by ESPN. TD Ameritrade Park has a seating capacity of 24,000, with the ability to expand to 35,000 spectators. Which, um, probably means this will be one of the larger crowds for the Royals next year if the club’s current trajectory continues.

This will be the fourth small-park, special occasion regular season game for Major League Baseball in recent years. hIn July 2016 the Atlanta Braves and the Miami Marlins played at Fort Bragg, North Carolina for service members. Last August the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals played in the inaugural Little League Classic, which took place at Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. There will be a second Little League Classic in Williamsport this August between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets.