MINNESOTA 4, DETROIT 2 IN DETROIT
Date: Sunday, July 21.
Batting stars: David Ortiz was 2-for-3 with a walk and a home run, his eleventh. Dustan Mohr was 2-for-4. Corey Koskie was 2-for-5.
Pitching stars: Eric Milton pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and a walk and striking out six. LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk and striking out one. Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning.
Opposition stars: Shane Halter was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk. Ramon Santiago was 2-for-4 with a double. Carlos Pena was 1-for-3 with a triple and a walk.
The game: Doubles by Brandon Inge and George Lombard gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the third. Ortiz homered in the fourth to tie it 1-1. The Twins loaded the bases with none out in the fifth, but could only score once, on a sacrifice fly by Denny Hocking, to take a 2-1 lead. They again loaded the bases in the sixth, this time with two out, and an error on shortstop Santiago allowed two runs to score, putting the Twins up 4-1. Pena's RBI triple in the bottom of the sixth cut the margin to 4-2. That was as close as they would come, though, as Milton, Hawkins, and Guardado held off the Tigers the rest of the way.
WP: Milton (12-7). LP: Steve Sparks (4-10). S: Guardado (32).
Notes: Hocking played second base, replacing Luis Rivas. He went 1-for-4. He batted leadoff, as Jacque Jones was also given the day off.
Ortiz was at first base, replacing Doug Mientkiewicz. Matthew LeCroy was the DH, going 0-for-4.
Ortiz hit his fourth home run in three games and his fifth in five games.
Michael Cuddyer was in right field, with Bobby Kielty in center as Torii Hunter was also not in the lineup. Mohr completed the outfield in left. Cuddyer was 0-for-2 with a walk.
Tom Prince was the catcher in place of A. J. Pierzynski. He was 0-for-4.
Kielty was 0-for-1 with three walks and was batting .326.
Mohr raised his average to .303.
Milton got his ERA under five for the first time since May 26 at 4.98.
Hawkins lowered his ERA to 1.38.
Detroit starter Sparks struck out nine in 6.2 innings, giving up four runs (two earned) on five hits and five walks.
George Lombard was a highly touted outfield prospect when he was with Atlanta. A very fast man, he stole 318 bases in the minors but only 23 in the majors. He got a September call-up with the Braves in 1998 after a fine year at AA Greenville. He had a poor year in 1999 with AAA Richmond, but got another September call-up anyway. He had a solid AAA season in 2000 and was promoted to the majors in late July. He didn't get much of a chance, though, as he was used mostly as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement. He played in 27 games but got only 39 at-bats. He apparently was injured most of 2001, as he played in just thirteen games, all in AAA. He got off to a good start in 2002 and was traded to Detroit in mid-June. They placed him in their starting lineup and he stayed there the rest of the season, playing both left and center. He batted .241/.300/.373. He was twenty-six that season, and he would never get another real chance. The Tigers waived him and he was claimed by Tampa Bay for 2003. He had a solid season in AAA but was in the majors for only about three weeks, getting just 37 at-bats. He was with Boston in 2004 and 2005, but never got called to the majors despite putting up good minor league numbers. He moved on to the Nationals organization for 2006 and had a fine year, earning a September call-up. He again did not get much of a chance, playing in 20 games but getting just 21 at-bats, and that was the end of his major league career. He played a few more seasons in the minors, with Washington in 2007, the Dodgers and Florida in 2008, and Cleveland in 2009. He hit .256/.356/.451 in 2271 AAA at-bats, but just .220/.281/.340 in 350 at-bats in the majors. Basically, he got one chance to show what he could do and he didn't take advantage of it. He remained in baseball, and has been the first base coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers the last two seasons.
Record: The Twins were 59-41, in first place, leading Chicago by thirteen games.