OAKLAND 7, MINNESOTA 5 IN OAKLAND
Date: Sunday, September 1.
Batting stars: Torii Hunter was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his twenty-seventh. Matthew LeCroy was 1-for-3 with a home run (his fifth) and a walk. Corey Koskie was 1-for-3 with a home run (his tenth) and a walk.
Pitching stars: Mike Jackson pitched a perfect inning. Tony Fiore pitched a scoreless inning, walking one.
Opposition stars: Miguel Tejada was 3-for-5 with two home runs (his twenty-ninth and thirtieth) and five RBIs. Ray Durham was 3-for-5. Scott Hatteberg was 2-for-3 with two doubles and a walk.
The game: Oakland loaded the bases with none out in the first but did not score, as their next three batters fanned. They broke through in the third, however, as Tejada hit a two-run homer. The Twins tied it in the sixth when Hunter hit a two-run homer. The tie didn't last long, though, because John Mabry homered leading off the bottom of the sixth and Durham had an RBI single later in the inning to give the Athletics a 4-2 lead. The Twins took the lead in the top of the ninth. LeCroy and Koskie led off the ninth with back-to-back homers to tie it and Michael Cuddyer hit a two-out homer to put the Twins up 5-4. Eddie Guardado came in to pitch the ninth. He walked Ramon Hernandez and gave up a single to Durham, putting men on first and second. Olmedo Saenz was called out on strikes, but Tejada hit a three-run homer to end the game.
WP: Billy Koch (7-2). LP: Eddie Guardado (1-3). S: None.
Notes: Luis Rivas was the leadoff batter, with Jacque Jones on the bench. Rivas was 0-for-4 with a walk. Jones was used as a pinch-hitter and grounded out.
Dustan Mohr played left field, with Michael Cuddyer in right. Cuddyer was 1-for-4. The go-ahead home run was his third of the season.
Tom Prince was the catcher, with A. J. Pierzynski on the bench. Prince was 0-for-2 with two walks.
Joe Mays started and the pitched six innings, giving up four runs on ten hits and two walks and striking out three.
It was Guardado's and last sixth blown save of the season.
The first two Twins home runs in the ninth inning came off Oakland starter Mark Mulder, who was going for a complete game. He pitched eight innings, giving up four runs on five hits and four walks and striking out seven.
The Cuddyer home run came off Oakland closer Billy Koch.
I'd forgotten what a good batter Miguel Tejada was. Seven consecutive seasons with an OPS over .800, and the string was broken in 2007 when his OPS was .799. He hit over 30 homers four times and had 100 or more RBIs six times. He made the all-star team six times and got some sort of MVP consideration seven times, winning the award in 2002 (although it really should have gone to Alex Rodriguez) and finishing fifth in 2004. His career numbers are .285/.336/.456 with 307 home runs and 468 doubles (he led the league in doubles twice). Plus, he played 162 games for six consecutive seasons. I'm not saying he belongs in the Hall of Fame, but he's certainly in the Hall of Very Good.
Record: The Twins were 80-58, in first place, leading Chicago by thirteen games.