2003 Rewind: Game Twenty-six

MINNESOTA 8, TAMPA BAY 5 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Wednesday, April 30.

Batting stars:  Jacque Jones was 3-for-5 with a double and two runs.  Torii Hunter was 1-for-3 with a three-run homer (his third) and a walk.

Pitching star:  Johan Santana struck out three in 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Carl Crawford was 2-for-4 with a triple, a double, a walk, and three runs.  Rey Ordonez was 2-for-4.  Rocco Baldelli was 2-for-5 with a home run, a double, and five RBIs.  Travis Harper pitched two perfect innings of relief.

The Devil Rays opened the game with back-to-back doubles by Crawford and Baldelli to take a 1-0 lead.  The Twins responded with four in the bottom of the first.  Jones led off with a single, Corey Koskie hit a one-out single, Todd Sears contributed an RBI double, and Hunter hit a three-run homer, making the score 4-1 Minnesota.

The Twins added two more in the second.  Tom Prince was hit by a pitch.  Luis Rivas had an RBI triple and scored on a Jones single, increasing the Twins' lead to 6-1.  Tampa Bay got back into the game in the third.  Ordonez singled, Crawford walked, and Baldelli hit a three-run homer to cut the margin to 6-4.

The Twins got some insurance in the fourth.  Rivas walked and Jones doubled, putting men on second and third with none out.  Koskie's fielder's choice plated one run and a ground out brought home another, making the score 8-4.

The Devil Rays threatened in the sixth, as with two out they loaded the bases on two hit batsmen and a walk, but Ordonez flied to right to end the inning.  They got a run in the ninth when Crawford tripled and scored on a ground out, but never got the tying run as far as the on-deck circle again.

WP:  Brad Radke (2-3).  LP:  Seth McClung (2-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Prince was behind the plate, replacing A. J. Pierzynski.  Bobby Kielty was in right field.  Sears was the DH.  There were no in-game lineup substitutions.

Jones raised his average to .326.  Kielty was 0-for-3 and fell to .324.

Radke pitched well other than the three-run homer, but his line was 5.2 innings, four runs, seven hits, one walk, and three strikeouts.  His season ERA was 6.29.  It would not be that high again the rest of the season, but it would be a long time before he got it below five.

Santana lowered his ERA to 0.95.  Tony Fiore gave up one run in one inning to make his ERA 6.59.

McClung started for Tampa Bay, but lasted just 1.1 innings.  He allowed six runs on six hits and no walks and struck out one.

Sears had hit very well in AAA Edmonton for two seasons, but had the misfortune to be a first baseman who was ready for the majors when the Twins already had Doug Mientkiewicz and had Justin Morneau coming up.  As a result, he only got seventy-seven at-bats with the Twins, fourteen of them as a pinch-hitter.  He batted .260/.326/.390 in that time.  The Twins traded him to San Diego in September.  He bounced around for several years before his playing career ended after the 2007 season.

Record:  The Twins were 12-14, in third place in the American League Central, six games behind Kansas City.

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