MINNESOTA 12, FLORIDA 7 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Friday, June 7.
Batting stars: Torii Hunter was 3-for-4 with a triple and three RBIs. Bobby Kielty was 2-for-3 with a home run (his fourth) and two walks, scoring three times. Cristian Guzman was 2-for-3 with two doubles, a hit-by-pitch, and a stolen base, his fifth.
Pitching star: Johan Santana, making his first major league start of the season, struck out eight in 5.1 innings, giving up one run on four hits and two walks.
Opposition stars: Derrek Lee was 3-for-4 with a home run (his tenth) and three runs. Mike Lowell was 2-for-4. Eric Owens was 1-for-3 with two walks.
The game: The Twins jumped on Florida starter Ryan Dempster early, scoring five runs in the first inning. The first run scored on an error, Doug Mientkiewicz and Hunter had RBI singles, David Ortiz hit a sacrifice fly, and Kielty delivered a run-scoring single. Lee homered with two out in the second to get the Marlins on the board, but the Twins got the run back in the bottom of the second on another RBI single by Hunter. Hunter struck again in the fourth, belting a run-scoring triple that made the score 7-1. The Twins eventually built an 11-1 lead through six. The Marlins got two back in the seventh, loading the bases with none out and then getting two run-scoring ground outs. It was 12-3 going to the bottom of the ninth, when Florida got four runs off Bob Wells to make the final score look better.
WP: Santana (1-0). LP: Dempster (3-6). S: None.
Notes: Jacque Jones was 2-for-5 with a triple, raising his average to .313...Hunter's average went up to .311...Kielty raised his average to .336...Pierzynski was 1-for-4 with a walk and his average was now .333...Luis Rivas was 1-for-5 to make his average .381...Marlins starter Ryan Dempster pitched four innings, giving up ten runs on eleven hits and four walks while striking out none...Kielty was batting .336/.450/.551 at this point. He wasn't expected to keep that up all year, and he didn't, but he kept it up quite a while. He was still batting .327/.453/.528 at the end of July. A terrible August, in which he batted just .173/.279/.231, took his average below .300. He still ended up at .291/.405/.484, by far the best numbers he would have in his career...Pitching a scoreless inning for Florida was Oswaldo Mairena, a pitcher of whom I have no memory. He signed with the Yankees in 1996 and was in their farm system through July of 2000, when he was traded to the Cubs for Glenallen Hill. A reliever throughout his career, he had done pretty well for the Yankees up to that point. He did not do very well in AAA Iowa, but still got a September call-up, appearing in two games. That was it for his Cubs career, as he was traded to Florida the following March for Manny Aybar. He did well in AA for the Marlins in 2001 but was pretty terrible in AAA that season. He did somewhat better, but not a lot, in AAA in 2002 and somehow the Marlins thought he deserved half the season in the majors. He did about what you'd expect him to do, going 2-3, 5.35, 1.49 WHIP in 31 games (33.1 innings). He stayed in the Marlins organization through 2003. He was a starter in the Mexican League in 2005, but did not do very well there, either. He continued to pitch for the Nicaraguan national team for some time after that, playing in the 2007 Pan-American games and the 2008 Americas Baseball Cup. Not a great career, but he can boast that he was traded for a couple of pretty decent players.
Record: The Twins were 35-26, in first place by five games over Chicago.