2003 Rewind: Game One


Date:  Monday, March 31.

Batting stars:  Dustan Mohr was 2-for-3 with a two-run homer.  A. J. Pierzynski was 1-for-3 with a home run.

Pitching stars:  Brad Radke pitched 6.2 innings, giving up one run on three hits and one walk and striking out three.  J. C. Romero pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit.  Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition star:  Mike Maroth pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits and no walks and striking out three.

The game:  Michael Cuddyer hit a one-out single in the second and Mohr hit a two-out two-run homer to give the Twins a 2-0 lead.  After that, neither team got a baserunner until the fifth and neither team got a man to second until the sixth.

The Twins missed a chance to add to their lead in that sixth inning.  Jacque Jones led off with a double and Cristian Guzman singled to put men on first and third.  With the contact play on (my assumption), Torii Hunter grounded to third and Jones was thrown out at the plate.  Matthew LeCroy then grounded into a double play and the chance was gone.

It looked like it might cost them.  In the seventh, Omar Infante singled with one out.  With two down, Bobby Higginson walked and Dean Palmer delivered an RBI single, cutting the lead to 2-1.  The go-ahead run was on and the tying run was in scoring position, but Craig Paquette grounded out to end the threat.

In the eighth Pierzynski homered to give the Twins an insurance run.  The Tigers did not get a man past first base after that.

WP:  Radke (1-0).  LP:  Maroth (0-1).  S:  Guardado (1).

Notes:  Michael Cuddyer was at third base in place of Corey Koskie.  Cuddyer would mostly play right field when he played, but he would spend much of the season in Rochester, as we will see as this series progresses.  Sorry if I should've spoilered that.

Other than that, the Twins used what would be their regular lineup for 2003.  Denny Hocking went to third base in the seventh, replacing Cuddyer for defense.  Chris Gomez pinch-ran for LeCroy in the ninth.

This was the year Detroit lost 119 games and Maroth lost 21 games.  This one was a tough luck loss, but overall he did not pitch well in 2003--5.73 ERA, 1.45 WHIP.  Still, he made 33 starts and pitched nearly 200 innings, due mostly to the fact that the Tigers had no one better to replace him with.  Of the six Detroit pitchers who started ten or more times, only one had an ERA under five (Nate Cornejo) and two had ERAs over six.  Remarkably, they were not last in the league in ERA--they were next to last at 5.30, but Texas was dead last at 5.67.

Maroth was actually in the Twins farm system for a time in 2010.  Most of that time was spent on the disabled list.  Another Tiger in this game with a Twins connection is Eric Munson, who went to spring training with the Twins in 2005.

Record:  The Twins were 1-0, tied for first place in the American League Central with Kansas City.

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