MINNESOTA 6, CLEVELAND 5 IN CLEVELAND
Date: Friday, July 25.
Batting stars: Doug Mientkiewicz was 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs. Shannon Stewart was 3-for-5 with a double. Torii Hunter was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.
Pitching star: Eddie Guardado struck out two in a perfect inning.
Opposition stars: Milton Bradley was 3-for-4 with a double. Ryan Ludwick was 2-for-4 with a home run, a double, and two RBIs. Coco Crisp was 2-for-5.
The game: It was all Indians early. In the first Crisp doubled, an error put men on first and third, and Bradley hit a two-run double to put Cleveland up 2-0. In the second, Ben Broussard walked, went to second on a ground out, and scored on Crisp's single to make it 3-0. In the third Bradley singled and scored from first on Ludwick's double to increase the lead to 4-0.
The Twins started coming back in the fourth. Singles by Hunter, A. J. Pierzynski, and Jacque Jones loaded the bases with one out. All the Twins could do, though, was score on a ground out to cut the lead to 4-1. They scored again in the fifth, but again missed a chance to do more damage. Cristian Guzman walked and scored on Stewart's double. Luis Rivas walked and Mientkiewicz singled to again load the bases, this time with none out. But again, all the Twins could do was score on a ground out, so they remained behind at 4-3.
Ludwick homered leading off the bottom of the sixth to make it 5-3. In the seventh the first two Twins struck out, but Rivas walked and scored from first on a Mientkiewicz double and Hunter followed with an RBI single to tie it 5-5.
The Twins took their only lead in the ninth. Guzman singled and stole second. With two out Mientkiewicz came through with a double to make it 6-5 Twins. The Indians went down in order in the bottom of the ninth.
WP: LaTroy Hawkins (8-2). LP: Danys Baez (0-7). S: Guardado (24).
Notes: Denny Hocking was at third base in the continued absence of Corey Koskie. Stewart was again in right and Morneau was again the DH.
Stewart raised his average to .310. Jones was 1-for-4 and was also batting .310.
Kenny Rogers pitched six innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on eight hits and a walk and striking out four. James Baldwin pitched two-thirds of an inning without giving up a run to make his ERA 2.35. Hawkins retired both men he faced to make his ERA 2.55.
Jake Westbrook started for Cleveland. He pitched 6.2 innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and three walks and striking out six.
Stewart was 15-for-27 in his last seven games. He had three doubles, a home run, and four walks over that stretch. He had also scored at least one run in each of those games.
This was Ludwick's first home run as an Indian. He had hit one for Texas the year earlier, when he was up for a month. He wouldn't get regular playing time in the majors until 2007, when he was St. Louis. He ended with 154 major league homers, with a high of 37 in 2008. That was the year he made his only all-star team and also won his only Silver Slugger award. That year really stands out for him. He batted .299/.375/.591, compared to career numbers of .260/.330/.451. His next highest numbers in all those categories came in 2012, when he batted .275/.346/.531 with 26 homers.
Despite the chances they missed, the Twins stranded just seven and went 4-for-14 with men in scoring position.
The win moved the Twins back to .500. Could they get above it this time?
Record: The Twins were 51-51, in third place in the American League Central, 5.5 games behind Kansas City. They were 1.5 games behind second-place Chicago.