MINNESOTA 6, DETROIT 2 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Friday, September 19.
Batting stars: A. J. Pierzynski was 4-for-4 with a home run (his eleventh), two runs, and two RBIs. Torii Hunter was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs. Luis Rivas was 2-for-4 with a walk. Shannon Stewart was 2-for-5.
Pitching stars: Eric Milton pitched seven shutout innings, giving up two hits and no walks and striking out four. Grant Balfour struck out two in a perfect inning.
Opposition star: Warren Morris was 2-for-3 with a double.
The game: The Twins put men on first and third with two out in the first but did not score. In the second, however, Hunter doubled and Pierzynski followed with a single to make it 1-0. In the second, singles by Shannon Stewart and Doug Mientkiewicz were followed by a pair of productive ground outs to make it 2-0.
The Twins took control in the fourth. Hunter and Pierzynski opened the inning with singles. With one out, Cristian Guzman and Stewart delivered RBI singles. Rivas walked to load the bases and Mientkiewicz walked to force in a run. It was 5-0 Twins.
Milton cruised through his seven innings, throwing just 77 pitches. In the eighth, the bullpen allowed the only two Tiger runs. Carlos Pena walked, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a Morris single. With two out, singles by Alex Sanchez and Shane Halter produced another run. A walk to Bobby Higginson loaded the bases, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate. But Dmitri Young flied to center to end the inning. Pierzynski homered leading off the ninth to make it 6-2, Detroit went down in order in the ninth.
WP: Milton (1-0). LP: Jeremy Bonderman (6-19). S: None.
Notes: Stewart was in left, Michael Ryan in right, and Jacque Jones was the DH. Dustan Mohr replaced Ryan in right in the ninth.
Ryan was 0-for-3 and was batting .356. Pierzynski raised his average to .311. Stewart went up to .308. Jones was 1-for-4 and was batting .306. Mientkiewicz was 0-for-3 and was batting .302.
Milton lowered his ERA to 1.50.
Bonderman pitched 3.1 innings, giving up five runs on ten hits and a walk and striking out two.
Tiger players with Twins connections included Morris, Fernando Rodney, and Craig Monroe.
The Twins did not have a letdown after sweeping the White Sox. The win was their seventh in a row. The White Sox were playing the Royals, so one of them had to lose. It was the Royals, as the White Sox tried to stay in the race.
Record: The Twins were 85-69, in first place in the American League Central, 3.5 games ahead of Chicago. They were 5.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.