2002 Rewind: Game Ninety-nine


Date:  Saturday, July 20.

Batting stars:  Bobby Kielty was 4-for-4 with a home run (his eighth), a triple, and a walk, scoring four times and driving in three.  David Ortiz was 3-for-5 with two home runs (his ninth and tenth), scoring three times and driving in three.  Michael Cuddyer was 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Joe Mays pitched six innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and no walks and striking out two.  J. C. Romero struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Carlos Pena was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his eighth.  George Lombard was 2-for-5 with a home run, his fourth.  Damion Easley was 2-for-5.

The game:  The teams traded two-run homers in the second.  Kielty hit one for the Twins and Pena hit one for the Tigers, leaving the score 2-2.  Bobby Higginson singled home a run in the third to give Detroit a 3-2 lead.  The Twins came back in the fourth, with Kielty tying the game with an RBI triple and scoring on Cuddyer's run-scoring single to put Minnesota up 4-3.  The Twins took control of the game in the fifth.  With two out and a man on first, Ortiz hit a two-run homer.  Two walks followed, then Cuddyer hit a three-run home run to give the Twins a 9-3 lead.  The Twins scored four more in the seventh, with Ortiz hitting his second home run, to make the score 13-3.  Lombard homered in the seventh for the Tigers and the Twins scored their last run in the eighth on an error.

WP:  Mays (1-2).  LP:  Adam Bernero (2-6).  S:  None.

Notes:  Torii Hunter was given the day off, as Kielty played center field.  Cuddyer was in right.

Kielty raised his average to .328.  As you see above, he started with a home run, then tripled, then had a walk and two singles.  It does not look like there was any chance that he could've stretched the last single to a double to get the cycle--it's described as a "Ground Ball through Short RF" and Denny Hocking, who had been on first, stopped at second.

Cuddyer raised his average to .316.

Romero's ERA fell to 2.04.

Mays made his first start since April 14.  While it was nothing great, one assumes that at the time it was considered a success.  He was able to go six innings and throw ninety pitches.  He would remain in the rotation the rest of the season.

I have no memory that there was once a major league pitcher called Adam Bernero, but he actually played in at least part of seven major league seasons.  He was drafted twice, but did not sign either time and was signed as a free agent by the Tigers in May of 1999.  He had less than a year and a half in the minors before making his major league debut on August 1, 2000.  The Tigers, of course, were terrible in those years, and were giving a shot to anyone who even looked like he might be a major league pitcher.  He appeared in twelve games, four of them starts, and did as well as could be expected--4.19 ERA, 1.34 WHIP.  He went back to AAA for 2001 and had a bad year in Toledo (6-11, 5.13, 1.61 WHIP), despite which he was given a September call-up.  He came back to pitch extremely well in nine starts for AAA at the start of 2002, after which he was called up and spent the rest of the season in Detroit.  He was not very good, going 4-7, 6.20.  2003 was his only full season in the majors, and it was no better:  1-14, 5.87.  Not all of that was with the Tigers--he was traded to Colorado in mid-July.  If there's one thing a struggling pitcher probably doesn't need, it's to be traded to Colorado.  He did okay at AAA Colorado Springs, but when he was promoted to the Rockies at the start of July he was no better than he'd been before.  He moved on to Atlanta in 2005, to Philadelphia and Kansas City in 2006, to Boston in 2007, and to Pittsburgh in 2008.  His last major league appearance was for the Royals in 2006.  He pitched quite well in AAA throughout those years, which one assumes is why he kept getting signed.  His AAA stats are 25-25, 3.39, 1.27 WHIP.  In the majors, however, he was 11-27, 5.91, 1.50 WHIP.  He has remained in baseball, however, and in June of 2017 he was hired by the Toronto Blue Jays as a mental performance coach.

Record:  The Twins had won four consecutive games, six out of seven, and eight out of ten.  They were 58-41, in first place, leading Chicago by thirteen games.

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