MINNESOTA 10, DETROIT 4 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Friday, August 1.
Batting stars: A. J. Pierzynski was 3-for-4 with two doubles. Shannon Stewart was 3-for-5 with a home run (his ninth), a double, and two RBIs. Cristian Guzman was 2-for-4 with a double. Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-4 with a walk.
Pitching stars: Kyle Lohse pitched six innings, giving up three runs on six hits and no walks and striking out two. James Baldwin pitched three innings, giving up one run on five hits.
Opposition stars: Ben Petrick was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer. Carlos Pena was 2-for-4. Alex Sanchez was 2-for-5 with a stolen base, his thirtieth.
The game: Sanchez led off the game with a single, went to third on a pair of ground outs, and scored on a Kevin Witt single to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. The Twins responded with five in the bottom of the first. Stewart led off with a home run. Rivas singled, stole second, and scored on a Mientkiewicz single. Jacque Jones singled to put men on first and third and then stole second. A sacrifice fly scored a run, Michael Restovich walked, and Denny Hocking delivered a single-plus-error that scored two runs, making the score 5-1 Minnesota.
The Twins added three more in the third. Torii Hunter and Pierzynski singled and Restovich followed with a two-run triple. Hocking then hit a sacrifice fly to make it 8-1.
It was pretty much over from there. Petrick hit a two-run homer in the fourth to make it 8-3. Ramon Santiago homered in the seventh to make it 8-4. The Twins added a run in the seventh when Hunter walked and scored on a Pierzynski double. The last run came in the eighth when Guzman doubled and scored on a Stewart single.
WP: Kyle Lohse (7-9). LP: Jeremy Bonderman (4-15). S: Baldwin (1).
Notes: Hocking was at third in the continuing absence of Corey Koskie. Stewart was in left and Restovich in right. Jones was the DH.
Alex Prieto pinch-hit for Rivas in the eighth and stayed in the game at second base.
Restovich was batting .375. Stewart was batting .319. Jones was 1-for-5 and was batting .310. Pierzynski was batting .303.
Lohse's ERA was 5.15. Baldwin's ERA was 2.25. The three-inning save was the first save of Baldwin's career. He would get one more, with Texas in 2005.
Stewart was 27-for-56 in his last thirteen games.
Pierzynski was 7-for-10 in his last two games.
Kevin Witt was the Tigers' cleanup hitter. If you don't remember him, it's understandable. 2003 was the only year he got significant major league playing time, playing in 93 games and getting 270 at-bats. He wasn't awful, batting .263/.301/.407 with 10 homers, but he wasn't really good, either. He was 27 that year, so that was probably as good as it was going to get, and as first baseman/DH he wasn't going to contribute enough on defense to get by with that level of offense. He played a couple of years in Japan and really didn't get much accomplished there, either. He has been a minor league coach for several seasons, and was with the Jupiter Hammerheads at last report.
When your team needed to get well in 2003, it was good to play Detroit.
The Twins had once again gotten back to .500. Could they get over the hump this time?
Record: The Twins were 54-54, in third place in the American League Central, 3.5 games behind Kansas City and Chicago, who were in a virtual tie for first.