MINNESOTA 3, OAKLAND 2 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Friday, July 18.
Batting star: Chris Gomez was 2-for-4 with a stolen base (his second) and two RBIs.
Pitching star: Johan Santana pitched 7.1 innings, giving up one run on four hits and a walk and striking out seven.
Opposition stars: Barry Zito struck out nine in an eight-inning complete game, giving up three runs (two earned) on three hits and four walks. Terrence Long was 2-for-3.
The game: There were no hits in the game until the bottom of the third. Dustan Mohr reached on an error, went to second on a ground out, took third on a wild pitch, and scored on the first hit of the game, a Gomez single.
It stayed 1-0 through seven, with neither team getting a man past first base. In the eighth, however, the Athletics tied the score. Eric Chavez singled, went to second on Long's single, and scored on a two-out single by Billy McMillon. But the Twins came right back in the bottom of the eighth. Jacque Jones led off with a bunt single and was bunted to second. Shannon Stewart was intentionally walked. Gomez then delivered an RBI single. A ground out scored another run, giving the Twins a 3-1 lead heading to the ninth.
Oakland did not go away quietly. Miguel Tejada walked, and Chavez delivered a two-out double that cut the lead to 3-2 and put the tying run in scoring position. But Ramon Hernandez flied to center, and the victory was preserved.
WP: LaTroy Hawkins (6-2). LP: Zito (8-7). S: Eddie Guardado (21).
Notes: Gomez was at third in place of Corey Koskie. Shannon Stewart pinch-hit for Luis Rivas in the eighth, with Denny Hocking taking over at second base in the ninth.
Jones was 1-for-3 and was batting .306.
Santana lowered his ERA to 2.84. Hawkins pitched two-thirds of an inning without giving up a run to make his ERA 2.47.
Zito had a fine year, but his won-lost record didn't show it. He was 14-12, but with an ERA of 3.30 and a WHIP of 1.18. He also had four complete games and one shutout. His numbers were not all that far off his Cy Young year of 2002, but he received no votes at all in 2003 due to the won-lost record.
The Twins had won two games in a row for the first time since June 28-29. In fact, this was only the third game they had won since then.
It seemed likely that Santana would stay in the rotation, as of course he did.
Record: The Twins were 46-49, in second place in the American League Central, 6.5 games behind Kansas City. They were a half game ahead of third-place Chicago.