MINNESOTA 6, TAMPA BAY 2 IN TAMPA BAY
Date: Thursday, April 25.
Batting stars: A. J. Pierzynski was 3-for-4 with a double. Torii Hunter was 2-for-5. Jacque Jones was 1-for-5 with a two-run homer, his fifth.
Pitching stars: Kyle Lohse pitched 6.2 innings, giving up two runs on six hits and a walk with five strikeouts. J. C. Romero and Eddie Guardado each pitched a scoreless inning.
Opposition stars: Tanyon Sturtze pitched eight innings, giving up one run on eight hits and a walk with five strikeouts. Chris Gomez was 3-for-4 with two doubles. Russ Johnson was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his third.
The game: Johnson delivered a two-out RBI single in the second to give the Devil Rays a 1-0 lead. The Twins tied it in the fourth with two singles and a sacrifice fly by Matthew LeCroy. Johnson came through again in the seventh, delivering another two-out RBI single to give Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead. In the eighth, the Devil Rays got a leadoff single and a pair of two-out hit batsmen to load the bases, but Gomez popped up to end the inning. Sturtze had silenced the Twins for eight innings, but he had thrown 114 pitches, so closer Esteban Yan came in to pitch the ninth. He walked LeCroy, but pinch-runner Cristian Guzman was caught stealing. It didn't hurt the Twins, however. A walk and a single were followed by Pierzynski's single to tie the game. Doug Mientkiewicz hit a pinch-hit two-run double to give the Twins the lead and Jones hit a two-run homer to provide some insurance. Guardado came on in the ninth to close out the game.
WP: Mike Jackson (1-0). LP: Yan (1-1). S: None.
Notes: Denny Hocking started at short, replacing Guzman. He went 1-for-4 with a walk...LeCroy started at first base, replacing Mientkiewicz. He was 0-for-2 with a walk...Bobby Kielty was the DH, going 1-for-3 with a walk...Jay Canizaro got the start at second base, going 1-for-3...After starting the year with two very bad starts, this was the second consecutive solid start for Lohse...Romero remained unscored upon in thirteen games (14 innings)...Jones' average dropped to .322...Hunter was batting .384...Dustan Mohr was 1-for-4 to make his average .355...Pierzynski raised his average to .359...Guardado's ERA fell to 1.64...Jackson pitched a third of an inning to make his ERA 1.08...2002 was the only year Tanyon Sturtze led the league in anything. Unfortunately for him, what he led the league in was losses (18), hits allowed (271), earned runs allowed (129), and walks (89). He also led the league in batters faced (2008). Sturtze was in the majors for at least part of twelve seasons despite never having an ERA lower than 4.40, at least not in a season where he pitched more than six innings. His career numbers are 40-44, 5.19, 1.53 WHIP.
Record: The Twins were 14-8, in second place, a game behind Chicago.