MINNESOTA 6, ATLANTA 5 IN MINNESOTA (15 INNINGS)
Date: Monday, June 10.
Batting stars: Matthew LeCroy was 3-for-6. Corey Koskie was 2-for-5. A. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-5.
Pitching stars: Mike Jackson pitched two shutout innings, giving up two hits and a walk and striking out one. J. C. Romero pitched two shutout innings, giving up two hits. Tony Fiore struck out three in three shutout innings, giving up one hit and three walks.
Opposition stars: Vinny Castilla was 4-for-6. Chipper Jones was 3-for-5 with a two-run homer (his seventh), a double, and two walks. Kevin Gryboski struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up only a walk.
The game: The Twins jumped on Atlanta starter Greg Maddux early, scoring five first-innings runs. They opened the inning with five consecutive singles. Then came a sacrifice fly, a stolen base-plus-error, then another single. Maddux then settled down, giving up just three singles and a walk over the next six innings. Atlanta came back with three in the fifth on a double, three singles, and a ground out. They tied it in the sixth on Jones' two-run homer. There was then no more scoring, and really not a lot of big threats, until the fifteenth. The first two Twins were retired. Tom Prince. who came into the game in the thirteenth inning after Brian Buchanan pinch-ran for Pierzynski, singled to left. Cristian Guzman then hit a long double to deep right and Prince was able to score from first with the winning run.
WP: Fiore (4-1). LP: Kerry Ligtenberg (0-3). S: None.
Notes: Jacque Jones was 1-for-6, dropping his average to .318...LeCroy, who had been out for nearly a month, raised his average to .338...Torii Hunter was 1-for-6 and was batting .304...Dustan Mohr was 1-for-6 and was batting .321...Pierzynski raised his average to .332...Luis Rivas was 0-for-4 and was batting .333...The Twins had fourteen hits, thirteen of them singles. Their only extra-base hit was Guzman's double to end the game...Eric Milton pitched seven innings, giving up five runs on six hits and a walk and striking out two...Jackson dropped his ERA to 0.99...Romero's ERA fell to 0.73...Maddux was thirty-six in 2002, but he showed no signs of losing anything. He went 16-6, 2.62, 1.20 WHIP. You obviously don't need me to tell you the Greg Maddux was a great pitcher, but what strikes me when I look at his record is how long he was a great pitcher, and how incredibly consistent he was. He had fifteen or more wins every year from 1993-2004 and double digit wins for three years after that. His ERA was under 3.60 (often well under) from 1993-2002. He pitched over 190 innings every year from 1993-2008. His WHIP was less than 1.35 (often well under) in every year of that span. He only once walked more than three batters per nine innings over that span, and that was when he walked 3.1 in 1994. He won four Cy Young awards and finished in the top five five other times. He got the benefit of a wide strike zone sometimes, and that was frustrating, but he was still an incredible pitcher for a very long time.
Record: The Twins were 37-27, in first place, six games ahead of Chicago.