2002 Rewind: Game Sixty-three

FLORIDA 6, MINNESOTA 3 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Sunday, June 9.

Batting stars:  Jacque Jones was 3-for-5 with a double.  Cristian Guzman was 2-for-5.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 1-for-2 with three walks.

Pitching star:  LaTroy Hawkins pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Andy Fox was 3-for-5 with three runs and a stolen base, his eleventh.  Derrek Lee was 2-for-4 with two home runs, his eleventh and twelfth.  Julian Tavarez pitched six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and three walks and striking out four.

The game:  Corey Koskie had an RBI triple in the first to put the Twins ahead 1-0.  Lee tied it with a home run in the second and the Marlins took the lead in the third on a single by Mike Lowell.  Lee homered again in the fourth and took a 3-1 lead.  The Marlins added two more in the fifth, getting run-scoring singles by Lowell and Kevin Millar.  The teams traded sacrifice flies in the seventh, making the score 6-2.  The Twins got one more in the eighth on a home run by A. J. Pierzynski, but did not threaten to get back into the game.

WP:  Tavarez (4-3).  LP:  Rick Reed (6-3).  S:  Vladimir Nunez (15).

Notes:  Jones raised his average to .321...Torii Hunter was 0-for-5 to make his average .308...Dustan Mohr was 0-for-4 and dropped to .327...Pierzynski was 1-for-4 and was batting .330.  The home run was his second...Reed made it through 6.1 innings, but he gave up six runs on ten hits and two walks, striking out three...The Twins stranded eleven runners and went 0-for-10 with men in scoring position...This was the only season Vladimir Nunez got as close, and he couldn't hold the job.  He came up with Arizona, getting a September call-up in 1998.  He was pitching pretty well for them in 1999 when he was traded to Florida in a deal that included Brad Penny and Matt Mantei.  He had been a starter in the minors and the Marlins tried to move him back to that role, but when it didn't go well for the rest of 1999 and didn't go much better in AAA in 2000, they moved him back to the bullpen.  He was very good in a set-up role in 2001 and became the closer and the start of the 2002 season.  He was doing well in that role through this game.  He would blow saves in three of his next five chances, however, and by the end of June he had lost the closer job to Braden Looper.  He was awful for Florida in 2003, did not get a lot better in AAA, and then started bouncing around, playing (mostly in AAA) for Colorado, Texas, St. Louis, Arizona, Pittsburgh, and the White Sox.  He was not in the majors from 2005-2007, but made it back with Atlanta in 2008 and had a half-decent two and a half months with them.  He made just one more big league appearance, in 2009, was in the minors in 2010, and then was done.  For his career he was 21-34, 4.83, 1.42 WHIP, 21 saves in 442 innings (254 games).  It appears that he is now working for The Hot Corner, a baseball instructional facility in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Record:  The Twins were 36-27, in first place by five games over Chicago.

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