Random Rewind: 2004, Game Thirty-one


Date:  Tuesday, May 11.

Batting stars:  Luis Rivas was 3-for-5 with a triple and a double.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 3-for-6.  Cristian Guzman was 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs.  Torii Hunter was 1-for-2 with a two-run homer (his third), a walk, and a hit-by-pitch.

Pitching stars:  Carlos Silva pitched seven innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on eleven hits and no walks and striking out four.  Joe Roa pitched a scoreless inning, giving up two hits and a walk.  Aaron Fultz pitched two shutout innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Joel Piniero pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on six hits and a walk and striking out three.  Randy Winn was 3-for-5.  Dan Wilson was 3-for-5.  Jolbert Cabrera was 2-for-2 with a stolen base.  Rich Aurilia was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Scott Spiezio was 3-for-6 with a triple and three RBIs.  Bret Boone was 2-for-6.

The game:  It was actually a pitchers' duel most of the game.  In the top of the first Ichiro Suzuki reached on an error, went to second on Boone's single, and scored on an Edgar Martinez single to put the Mariners up 1-0.  The Twins tied it in the bottom of the first on singles by Guzman and Mientkiewicz and a ground out by Corey Koskie.

Seattle got a pair of one-out singles in the second, but it stayed tied until the fourth, when singles by Aurilia, Winn, and Spiezio put the Mariners up 2-1.  The Twins tied it in the sixth when Hunter homered to make it 2-2.

J. C. Romero came on to start the eighth.  John Olerud singles and was bunted to second.  Singles by Wilson, Winn, and Suzuki made it 4-2.  Roa then came on and gave up a two-run triple to Spiezio to give Seattle a 6-2 lead.

It looked bad for the Twins, but they came right back in the bottom of the eighth.  Bert Blyleven's favorite pitcher, Shigatoshi Hasegawa, came in to pitch.  Guzman and Mientkiewicz led off with singles, followed by walks to Michael Cuddyer and Hunter.  Mike Myers came in and hit Jacque Jones with a pitch, making the score 6-4.  J. J. Putz came in.  Lew Ford hit a sacrifice fly and with two out Rivas singled home the tying run.

Each team put two on with one out in the ninth, but the game went to extras.  In the bottom of the eleventh, Shannon Stewart walked and was bunted to second.  Mientkiewicz then delivered an RBI single to win the game for the Twins.

WP:  Fultz (1-1).  LP:  Ron Villone (3-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Hunter was at DH, with Lew Ford in center field.  The Twins didn't really have a regular DH in 2004.  Jose Offerman had the most games there, with 39.  Matthew LeCroy had 30, Ford 26, Stewart 21, and a variety of others with eleven or fewer.

This was the year Joe Mauer was injured most of the season, so Henry Blanco was the regular catcher.

Corey Koskie started the game at third base but came out in the fourth inning, replaced by Cuddyer.  He apparently was injured, as he would not play again until May 27.

Michael Ryan pinch-ran for Hunter in the eighth.  Offerman pinch-hit for Blanco in the eighth.  LeCroy came in to catch in the ninth.

It was kind of a typical Sliva game--two runs, eleven hits, no walks.  He threw 104 pitches.

Romero was a good reliever most of the time in 2004, but he had a few major meltdowns, and this was one of them.  Four earned runs in one-third of an inning.  Roa didn't help him, obviously, but Romero didn't help himself, either.

The teams combined to strand twenty-three runners.  The Twins were 2-for-15 with men in scoring position.

Record:  The Twins were 18-13, tied for first in the American League Central with Chicago.  They would finish 92-70, in first place, nine games ahead of Chicago.

The Mariners were 12-20, in fourth (last) place in the American League West, 9.5 games behind Anaheim.  They would finish 63-99, in fourth (last) place, twenty-nine games behind Anaheim.