CLEVELAND 9, MINNESOTA 2 IN CLEVELAND
Date: Saturday, July 26.
Batting star: Dustan Mohr was 2-for-4 with a double.
Pitching star: Joe Mays pitched six innings of relief, giving up one run on nine hits and no walks and striking out two.
Opposition stars: Jody Gerut was 3-for-4 with a grand slam, his thirteenth homer. Travis Hafner was 3-for-4 with a double. Victor Martinez was 2-for-4. Ryan Ludwick was 2-for-4. Milton Bradley was 2-for-5 with a double. Coco Crisp was 2-for-5. Billy Traber pitched 6.1 innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on six hits and no walks and striking out six.
The game: The Twins actually got on the board first. With one out in the second inning Matthew LeCroy reached on an error. Consecutive singles by Jacque Jones, Mohr, Chris Gomez, and Cristian Guzman plated two runs and gave the Twins a 2-0 lead.
Then came the bottom of the second. Bradley doubled and Hafner singled, putting men on first and third with none out. Singles by Ludwick, Victor Martinez, and John McDonald gave the Indians a 3-2 lead. An error scored another run, and Coco Crisp singled to load the bases. Casey Blake struck out, but Gerut hit a grand slam, making the score 8-2 Cleveland.
And that was pretty much it. The Twins only threatened once, in the seventh, when they put men on second and third with two out. The Indians added a run in the eighth when Angel Santos tripled and scored on Crisp's single.
WP: Traber (5-5). LP: Kyle Lohse (6-9). S: None.
Notes: LeCroy was behind the plate in place of A. J. Pierzynski. Gomez was at third, as Corey Koskie was still out. Shannon Stewart was the DH.
Alex Prieto made his major league debut in this game, pinch-hitting for Jones in the ninth. He would be with the Twins for about a week, appearing in three games, then would come back as a September call-up. In all, he would play in eight games in 2003 and sixteen in 2004, getting 43 at-bats and batting .209 with one home run. Those were his career totals. He kept playing through 2010, but did not make the majors again.
Lohse started and lasted just 1.2 innings. He allowed eight runs (seven earned) on eight hits and struck out three. He did not walk anyone--maybe he should have. His ERA went to 5.18. His game score was 12, his worst of the season.
Mays lowered his ERA to 6.44.
You can be forgiven if you don't remember Billy Traber. This was his rookie season--he had started in the bullpen, but went into the rotation in early June. He had a few excellent games--a one-hit shutout of the Yankees on July 8, seven shutout innings Cincinnati on June 27 and again against Seattle on August 7. He also had some awful games, though, and for the year he was 6-9, 5.24, 1.54 WHIP. He was injured all of 2004, was in the minors in 2005, but battled his way back to the majors with Washington in 2006. He was never very good, though. He only once posted an ERA below five (4.76 with the Nationals in 2007). The 1.54 WHIP he posted in 2003 was the lowest of his career. He went to the Yankees in 2008 and made one appearance for Boston in 2009. For his career he was 12-14, 5.65, 1.59 WHIP. Whatever he did in those few excellent games, apparently it was not anything he could do consistently.
The Twins once again failed to get above .500.
Record: The Twins were 51-52, in third place in the American League Central, 5.5 games behind Kansas City. They were 1.5 games behind second-place Chicago.