DETROIT 4, MINNESOTA 3 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Saturday, September 15.
Batting star: Nick Punto was 2-for-3 with a stolen base (his sixteenth) and two runs.
Pitching stars: Johan Santana pitched eight innings, giving up four runs on six hits and two walks and striking out seven. Matt Guerrier struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up a walk.
Opposition stars: Ivan Rodriguez was 1-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. Joel Zumaya pitched 1.2 perfect innings.
The game: The Tigers scored all of their runs in the first inning. Ryan Raburn and Placido Polanco led off with singles. With one out Magglio Ordonez walked to load the bases. Carlos Guillen singled home a run and Rodriguez hit a three-run double. It was 4-0 Detroit before the Twins came to bat.
The Twins spent the rest of the game trying to come back and could not get there. In the third Punto singled, went to third on a Jason Bartlett single, and scored on a wild pitch. In the fifth Luis Rodriguez led off with a double, went to third on a fly ball, and scored on a ground out, cutting the lead to 4-2.
The Twins had their best chance to tie it in the seventh. Punto singled and Bartlett walked. With one out Jason Kubel reached on an error, making the score 4-3 and leaving men on first and second. But Joe Mauer hit into a double play, ending the inning. The Twins had only one baserunner, a two-out walk to Brian Buscher in the ninth, after that.
WP: Zumaya (2-3). LP: Santana (15-12). S: Todd Jones (36).
Notes: Rodriguez was at second base. Luis Castillo had been the regular second baseman, but he was traded at the July deadline. Alexi Casilla became the regular second baseman after that.
Garrett Jones was the DH, one of the 31 games he played as a Twin. He would go on to have a few fairly good years for Pittsburgh. The Twins did not have a regular DH in 2007. Players used there included Kubel (36 games), Jason Tyner (26), Jeff Cirillo (24), Mauer (19), Rondell White (19), Mike Redmond (18), Justin Morneau (14), and Jones (13).
Matthew LeCroy pinch-hit for Jones in the sixth. Tyner pinch-hit for LeCroy in the ninth. Buscher pinch-hit for Punto in the ninth. Casilla pinch-ran for Buscher in the ninth.
LeCroy was at the end of his career. He had spent the season in Rochester and hadn't done very well, but was given a September call up anyway, probably for sentimental reasons. He was 1-for-3 at this point, and so was the only Twin over .300 at .333, but ended up 3-for-20. They had four players in the .290s. Buscher was at .294--he would finish at .244. Tyner was at .292--he would finish at ,286. Mauer was at .291--he would finish at .293. Torii Hunter was at .290--he would finish at .287.
Santana's ERA was 3.14. He would finish at 3.33. Guerrier's ERA was 2.29. He would finish at 2.35.
Detroit's starter was Yorman Bazardo. He pitched 4.2 innings, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks and striking out two.
This was the third of a four-game losing streak for the Twins.
Record: The Twins were 72-76, in third place in the American League Central, 15 games behind Cleveland. They would finish 79-83, in third place, 17 games behind Cleveland.
The Tigers were 82-67, in second place in the American League Central, 5.5 games behind Cleveland. They would finish 88-74, in second place, 8 games behind Cleveland.