NEW YORK 7, MINNESOTA 3 IN NEW YORK
Date: Tuesday, April 8.
Batting stars: Torii Hunter was 1-for-2 with a double, a walk, and two RBIs. Jacque Jones was 1-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two runs. Cristian Guzman was 1-for-3 with a walk.
Pitching star: Tony Fiore pitched three shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out two.
Opposition stars: Nick Johnson was 2-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base. Robin Ventura was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his third. Hideki Matsui was 1-for-3 with a grand slam, a walk, and two runs. Antonio Osuna struck out three in 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up a walk.
The game: The Yankees opened the scoring in the second. Jorge Posada hit a one-out double and Raul Mondesi delivered a two-out single, putting New York up 1-0. The Twins tied it in the fourth. Jones led off with a double, Corey Koskie drew a one-out walk, and Hunter hit a run-scoring double. The Twins still had men on second and third with one out, but Matthew LeCroy hit a grounder to third and Koskie was thrown out at the plate on what we assume was the contact play. Doug Mientkiewicz grounded out and the threat was over.
It cost them, because the Yankees went into the lead to stay in the bottom of the fourth. Matsui led off the inning with a walk and Ventura hit a one-out two-run homer, making the score 3-1 New York. With one out in the fifth Johnson singled and Jason Giambi singled Johnson to third, with Giambi moving to second on the throw. Bernie Williams was intentionally walked and Matsiu followed with a grand slam, making it 7-1 Yankees.
The Twins tried to get back into it in the sixth. Jones and Guzman led off the inning with walks. A forceout put men on first and third and Hunter's sacrifice fly scored a run. A passed ball moved Guzman to second and he scored on LeCroy's single. Mientkiewicz singled and a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third. A hit could've moved the Twins to within two, but Michael Cuddyer struck out to end the inning and leave the score 7-3.
That was pretty much it. The Twins had only one baserunner the rest of the game, a two-out walk to Hunter in the eighth.
WP: Andy Pettitte (2-0). LP: Joe Mays (1-1). S: None.
Notes: Cuddyer was in right field, as he was for most of the month of March. The Twins did not make any lineup substitutions.
Koskie was batting .375. Jones was batting .357.
The Twins had five regulars batting below .200 in the young season. Hunter was at .174. A. J. Pierzynski was also at .174. Cuddyer was batting .167. LeCroy was batting .143. Luis Rivas was at .118. You don't win many games that way, and of course this was the Twins' fourth loss in a row. But that's why you don't make judgments after seven games.
After a solid first outing, Mays again lasted five innings, but this time allowed seven runs on eight hits and two walks. He struck out three. He did fairly well except for the home runs, but that's a little like saying the Titanic did fairly well except for that big hole in the side. Fiore did an excellent job of saving the bullpen, though, and that should not be overlooked.
Yankee starter Andy Pettitte pitched 5.2 innings, giving up three runs on five hits and three walks and striking out two.
The Twins had started with three wins, but now had four losses.
Record: The Twins were 3-4, in third place in the American League Central, three games behind Kansas City.