MINNESOTA 9, OAKLAND 4 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Saturday, July 19.
Batting stars: Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-3 with a two-run homer (his eighth), a walk, and three runs. Matthew LeCroy was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, two runs, and three RBIs. Dustan Mohr was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.
Pitching star: Juan Rincon struck out three in two shutout innings, giving up a walk.
Opposition stars: Terrence Long was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer (his eleventh), a walk, a stolen base (his second) and two runs. Ramon Hernandez was 2-for-4 with a home run, his twelfth. Scott Hatteberg was 2-for-4 with a walk.
The game: The Twins put runners on second and third with one out in the second but did not score. The Athletics took advantage of that, taking the lead in the top of the third. Mark Ellis drew a one-out walk and Long homered, making it 2-0 Oakland. It went to 3-0 in the fourth when Hernandez homered.
The Twins came back in the bottom of the fourth. Mientkiewicz led off with a single and LeCroy drew a one-out walk. With two down, Chris Gomez and Mohr hit back-to-back doubles that plated three runs, tying the score. The Athletics got the lead back in the fifth when Long walked, stole second, and scored on a Miguel Tejada single. But the Twins took their first lead in the bottom of the fifth when Shannon Stewart led off with a walk and Mientkiewicz hit a two-run homer, making it 5-4 Minnesota.
The Twins took control of the game in the seventh. Cristian Guzman singled and Stewart walked. A bunt moved the runners up and Mientkiewicz was intentionally walked to load the bases. It looked like the strategy might work, as Torii Hunter hit into a force out at the plate for the second out. But LeCroy foiled the strategy with a bases-clearing double, putting the Twins up 8-4. An error brought home one more run and the Twins were in command. Oakland put two on in the eighth and one in the ninth, but did not come close to getting the tying run up to bat.
WP: Brad Radke (6-9). LP: Mark Mulder (12-7). S: None.
Notes: LeCroy was behind the plate in place of A. J. Pierzynski. Denny Hocking was at second in place of Luis Rivas. Chris Gomez was at third in the continuing absence of Corey Koskie. Stewart was the DH.
Rivas replaced Hocking for defense in the eighth inning.
Jones was 1-for-4 and was batting .305. LeCroy raised his average back to .300.
Radke pitched 6.2 innings, but allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks and struck out five. His ERA was 5.49. J. C. Romero did not give up a run, despite allowing two hits and a walk in a third of an inning. His ERA was 5.02. Rincon had an ERA of 3.00.
Mulder pitched six innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and two walks and striking out five. Mulder had a fine year in 2003, going 15-9, 3.13, leading the league in complete games with nine and in shutouts with two, and making his first all-star team. This was the first time he had a game score below fifty in about six weeks.
Stewart got his first hit as a Twin, going 1-for-3 with two walks.
This was the Twins' third consecutive win. It was the first time they had won three in a row since June 11-13.
Record: The Twins were 47-49, in second place in the American League Central, 6.5 games behind Kansas City. They were a half game ahead of third place Chicago.