MINNESOTA 3, CHICAGO 1 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Friday, September 27.
Batting stars: Luis Rivas was 2-for-3 with a stolen base, his ninth. Corey Koskie was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his fifteenth.
Pitching stars: Joe Mays pitched six innings, giving up one run on five hits and a walk and striking out four. Tony Fiore pitched two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk. Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.
Opposition stars: Jon Rauch, who is tall, pitched seven innings, giving up one run on five hits and no walks and striking out four. Jose Valentin was 2-for-4 with a double. Aaron Rowand was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk.
The game: The White Sox took the lead in the first inning, as Valentin doubled and scored on a Magglio Ordonez single. Chicago put men on first and third with none out in the second but failed to increase their lead. The Twins tied it in the sixth on three consecutive singles, the last a bunt single by Cristian Guzman that tied the score 1-1. In the eighth, Koskie hit a two-out two-run homer to put the Twins up 3-1. The White Sox had men on first and second with one out in the ninth, but Willie Harris popped up and Miguel Oliva fanned to end the game.
WP: Fiore (10-3). LP: Gary Glover (7-8). S: Guardado (44).
Notes: Jacque Jones returned to the lineup and to the leadoff spot, going 1-for-3.
A. J. Pierzynski was 0-for-2 to lower his average to .300.
The Twins used three different first basemen. Doug Mientkiewicz started, Matthew LeCroy came in to start the sixth, and Todd Sears started the ninth. There do not appear to be any injuries involved, and there were no pinch-hitters or pinch-runners. One surmises that Mientkiewicz was simply being given half the game off, and that Sears was brought in for defense once the Twins got ahead.
Guardado lowered his ERA to 2.97.
This was Rauch's best game of the season, although it didn't have a lot of competition. For 2002, his rookie year, he was 2-1, 6.59. He was a starting pitcher until July of 2004, when the White Sox traded him to Montreal. He made two starts for the Expos and one the next season for the Nationals, but was primarily a reliever after the trade. For all of that time, however, he remained tall.
Record: The Twins were 92-67, in first place, leading Chicago by 11.5 games.