My wife and I hit Target Field Wednesday afternoon, our second time there.
This time our seats were a bit beyond third base, just four rows in from the field. (For the home opener we were in the right field bleacher seats.) We weren't quite close enough to see Nick Punto sweat, but we were close.
The overwhelming takeaway of the fan experience from this one: Hot and sunny. No shade reached that deep into the bowl for a noon start. We went heavy with the sunscreen. As somebody seated near us said, the Dome was cooler and shadier.
I got to do a bit more exploring of the park this time (we were there when the gates opened), but I'll wait to comment on that until after tomorrow, when we take a tour.
As for the game: Francisco Liriano was good. Lots of strikeouts, command still an issue. Same as it ever was, of course. But he kept the ball in the infield, got double plays, and seven shutout innings are seven shutout innings. And he did throw first-pitch strikes to 20 of his 28 batters.
As I predicted some time ago, Joe Mauer didn't play. Drew Butera caught, started the decisive four-run rally with a bloop double and appeared to handle Liriano well.
Indians rookie Carlos Santana, who I expect to write about at greater length either here or in the Monday print column, also didn't catch. He DH'd, and poorly, striking out three times.
Jim Thome had an interesting game. He came to the plate four times and walked four times.
And, of course, Anthony Slama got to make a low-pressure debut with a six-run lead. Single, strikeout, strikeout, ground out. He got three swing-and-misses, which is a pretty strong number for 18 pitches.