2002 Rewind: Game Forty-one


Date:  Wednesday, May 15.

Batting stars:  Jacque Jones was 2-for-5 with two home runs (his sixth and seventh) and four RBIs.  Bobby Kielty was 2-for-3 with a walk.  A. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Mike Jackson retired all four men he faced.  Eddie Guardado pitched as scoreless ninth despite giving up two hits.

Opposition stars:  Mike Sweeney was 4-for-5 with a home run (his fifth) and two doubles.  Carlos Febles was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his fourth.  Neifi Perez was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer.

The game:  Jones led off the game with a home run and Kielty singled home a run later in the inning to give the Twins a 2-0 lead.  Kielty delivered another RBI single in the third to make it 3-0.  The Royals got a run on a wild pitch in the third and Febles delivered a two-run single in the fourth to tie it 3-3.  Sweeney homered in the fifth to put Kansas City up 4-3.  In the sixth, the Twins loaded the bases with one out.  Denny Hocking tied the score with a ground out and Jones followed with a three-run homer to give Minnesota a 7-4 lead.  Perez hit a two-run homer in the seventh to cut the lead to 7-6, but that was as close as the Royals would come.  Hocking contributed another run-scoring ground out in the eighth to provide and insurance run.  Kansas City tried to rally in the ninth.  Guardado came in to start the inning.  Chuck Knoblauch had a one-out single and Sweeney a two-out single to put men on first and second.  They then pulled off a double steal to make it second and third.  Guardado then struck out Carlos Beltran to end the game.

WP:  Eric Milton (5-3).  LP:  Dan Reichert (1-4).  S:  Guardado (14).

Notes:  David Ortiz was at first base, replacing Doug Mientkiewicz.  He went 1-for-5.  Brian Buchanan was the DH and went 0-for-4...Casey Blake was again at third base, going 1-for-4...Hocking was at second base and was 1-for-4...Eric Milton started and got the win despite not pitching very well.  He went 5.1 innings, giving up six runs (five earned) on eight hits and no walks with no strikeouts...Mike Trombley, who had started the season with the Dodgers and been released, made his season debut with the Twins, giving up one hit in one-third of an inning.  Unfortunately, he would make only four more appearances with the Twins before his career came to an end...Torii Hunter was 0-for-4 with a walk and was batting .329...Pierzynski raised his average to .310...Jackson's ERA fell to 1.15...Guardado's ERA was 1.89...Dan Reichert played in the majors for most of three seasons and parts of two others without really doing anything to show he belonged there.  His "best" season, I suppose, was 2000, when he went 8-10, 4.70, 1.62 WHIP, 5.10 FIP.  He appeared in 44 games that year, eighteen of them starts.  It was the lowest ERA and the lowest FIP of his career, although not by much in the latter case.  He came up to the Royals in 1999 and stayed through 2002, going to Toronto in 2003.  For his career he was 21-25, 5.55, 1.68 WHIP, 5.14 FIP in 395.1 innings.  You can't even really call him a AAAA pitcher, because his AAA numbers are 24-19, 4.33, 1.46 WHIP in 363.1 innings.  He had 8.3 strikeouts per nine innings in AAA, which may be why he kept getting chances in the majors.  Whenever I see a guy like this, I think of the players who succeed in AAA year after year and never get a real shot, while someone like this gets chance after chance.  At last report, he was the pitching coach of the Lincoln Saltdogs.

Record:  The Twins were 24-17, in first place by 1.5 games over Chicago.