MINNESOTA 4, CLEVELAND 3 IN CLEVELAND
Date: Wednesday, August 20.
Batting star: A. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-3 with a walk.
Pitching stars: Brad Radke pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on eight hits and no walks and striking out four. Eddie Guardado struck out two in a perfect inning.
Opposition stars: Jody Gerut was 3-for-4 with a double. Ryan Ludwick was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer (his sixth) and a double. Brian Anderson pitched seven innings, giving up four runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks and striking out five.
The game: With one out in the first, Matt Lawton and Gerut singled and Ludwick hit a three-run homer, giving the Indians a 3-0 lead. The Twins went down in order in the first two innings, but in the third, Pierzynski walked and Dustan Mohr reached on an error. With one out Shannon Stewart reached on an error to bring home a run. Luis Rivas had an infield single to drive home a second run, and with two out Matthew LeCroy delivered an RBi single to it 3-3.
Cleveland put men on second and third with one out in the third, but did not score. That was the only threat until the seventh, when Hunter and Pierzynski led off the inning with singles. Mohr' sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third. Guzman then popped up to shallow center field. It was caught by the second baseman, but Hunter tagged up and scored, giving the Twins a 4-3 lead.
The Indians got a two-out double in the seventh and again in the eighth but could do nothing with them. They went down in order in the ninth and the victory was preserved for the Twins.
WP: Radke (9-10). LP: Anderson (9-10). S: Guardado (28).
Notes: LeCroy remained at first base in the absence of Doug Mientkiewicz. Stewart remained in left, Mohr in right, and Jacque Jones at DH. Denny Hocking replaced LeCroy at first base in the eighth inning.
Stewart and Jones were each 0-for-4 and each was batting .308.
Radke's ERA went to 5.04. LaTroy Hawkins pitched a third of an inning without giving up a run and lowered his ERA to 2.20.
Ludwick was quite the Twins killer in 2003. In 42 at-bats he batted .310/.356/.667 with four home runs and three doubles. His total numbers that year were .247/.299/.438 with seven homers and eight doubles, meaning that more than half his home runs and nearly half his doubles came against the Twins. For his career against the Twins he batted .264/.316/.560 with seven homers and six doubles in 91 at-bats.
On Guzman's sacrifice popup, the play-by-play simply says "Popfly: 2B/Sacrifice Fly (Short CF); Hunter Scores; Pierzynski to 3B" I don't really know what happened. It could be that Hunter simply made a heads-up baserunning play and caught Cleveland by surprise, and that Pierzynski alertly went to third when the Indians threw home. Or, it could be that second baseman John McDonald made some sort of spectacular diving catch and could not get up in time to make a throw. Or, it could be that he collided with center fielder Coco Crisp and couldn't make a throw. I don't have time to look into it, and I certainly don't remember, but it would be interesting to know.
The Twins had a two-game sweep in Cleveland, giving them some "momentum" as they went into a big four-game series at home against first-place Kansas City.
Record: The Twins were 65-61, in third place in the American League Central, a half game behind Chicago and Kansas City, who were tied for first.