How the hell did the Twins pull off Game 163?

Sports producer Declan Goff reveals his latest I'm 24 and Single column.
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If you're not familiar, I'm 24 and Single and have a sick obsession with binge-watching sports. Earlier this year, I went through a year's worth of WWF Wrestling in a five-month span just so I could tell you about the crap you've probably forgotten about. 

In order to cool-proof myself further, I sat my butt on my $28 Bungee Chair from Target for 4 hours and 37 minutes to rewatch Game 163 between the Twins and Tigers from 2009. 

Without incredible performances (and luck) from players you've likely forgotten, the Twins wouldn't have had the opportunity to get swept by the Yankees five days later. 

Here's how the Twins got it done.

1. Gomez, Casilla and Tolbert won the game. Wait ... what?

Justin Morneau was injured in September of 2009, though the Twins still had MVP Joe Mauer, veteran outfielder Michael Cuddyer and a guy named Jason Kubel having career years. 

But it was Carlos Gomez, Alexi Casilla and Matt freaking Tolbert who were unlikely heroes in Game 163. 

Gomez scored the winning run in the bottom of the 12th on Casilla's pinch-hit single, which wouldn't have been possible without Tolbert's game-tying RBI single in the 10th. 

Think about that: Casilla and Tolbert, who had career batting averages of .247 and .230, respectively, were key to the win. 

Tolbert's career was over just 135 at-bats later, and he still hasn't received a bronze statue on Target Field Plaza.

2. The Tigers sealed their fate when they pulled Porcello

Jim Leyland was one of the best managers out there, but I don't know what the hell he was thinking when he took out his starting pitcher, Rick Porcello, in the bottom of the sixth inning. 

Porcello, the 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner, was a 20-year-old rookie in 2009 and he had the Twins wrapped around his finger that night. 

With the Tigers leading 3-1 in the sixth, Porcello got the the first two Twins batters out before giving up a solo blast to Kubel and walking Cuddyer. That's when Leyland went to the bullpen. 

Look, it's a do-or-die game, I get it. But Porcello had sent down nine in a row and had eight strikeouts before Kubel and Cuddyer rattled him a bit. And at 92 pitches Leyland called to the 'pen for one of his worst options, Zach Miner, who immediately gave up a single to Delmon Young and then beaned Brendan Harris. 

Miner got Tolbert to fly out with the bases loaded to end the sixth-inning threat, but Leyland trotted him out again for the seventh and he gave up a 2-run bomb to Orlando Cabrera that gave the Twins a 4-3 lead. 

In my mind, Porcello should've finished the sixth and possibly started the seventh. It was without a doubt the turning point in the game. 

3. The legend of Bobby Keppel

A lot of us know obscure sports trivia questions but here's a freebie: Who was the winner of Game 163? Bobby. Keppel.

The Tigers should've busted the door wide open in the top of the 12th against Keppel. Miguel Cabrera worked a one-out walk, Don Kelly singled and Keppel intentionally walked Ryan Raburn to load the bases.

Yeah. Bases loaded, one out. It was grim. The dream was dead. 

And then it got even crazier. 

First, Keppel magically got away with plunking Brandon Inge on the first pitch, which would've given Detroit the lead. Home plate umpire, Randy Marsh – no, not Stan's Dad from South Park – really screwed the pooch on this one. 

He even called Jim Leyland in the offseason to apologize for missing the call

Keppel eventually got Inge to bounce into a fielder's choice at home, keeping a run off the board and the bases loaded with two outs.

Up next was Tigers catcher Gerald Laird, who couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat. Keppel struck him out, giving Laird an 0-6 day and setting the stage for the Twins to win in the bottom half of the 12th.

Believe it or not, it was the only win of Keppel's three-year MLB career. 

Why you should re-watch Game 163.

It's on YouTube and you can watch it right now. Just be prepared to settle in for about five hours. 

But it's worth it because it's the most exciting game Twins fans have had in over a decade. Minnesota hasn't won a playoff game – not series, game – since 2004, despite multiple trips. 

It was the final win ever recorded in the Metrodome, too.

Pro tip: If you do this, I highly recommend doing so with a few bottles of Rolling Rock and some Pizza Rolls.

If you have any suggestions on epic sports games for Declan to rewatch, please send them his way at DGoff@GoMN.com.

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