CHICAGO 8, MINNESOTA 6 IN CHICAGO
Date: Tuesday, September 9.
Batting stars: Corey Koskie was 3-for-3 with a double, two walks, and two runs. Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-4.
Pitching star: Jesse Orosco pitched a scoreless inning despite giving up a hit and two walks. He struck out one.
Opposition stars: Carlos Lee was 3-for-4 with a home run (his twenty-eighth), a double, a stolen base (his seventeenth), two runs, and two RBIs. Joe Crede was 2-for-4 with a double. Magglio Ordonez was 2-for-5 with a home run (his twenty-seventh), two runs, and two RBIs. Roberto Alomar was 1-for-4 with a home run (his fifth) and a walk. Mark Buehrle pitched six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and three walks and striking out two.
The game: The White Sox opened the scoring in the second inning. Lee singled and Paul Konerko walked, putting two men on with one out. Crede doubled home a run, a sacrifice fly brought in another, and Tony Graffanino singled in a third to make it 3-0 Chicago.
The Twins got back into it in the fourth. Mientkiewicz and Koskie singled, Torii Hunter had an RBI double, and a ground out cut the lead to 3-2. It went to 4-2 in the fifth when Ordonez homered. The Twins had three baserunners in the sixth, but did not score because they lost two runners on the bases.
The White Sox took control in the seventh. The first two batters went out, but then Alomar homered, Frank Thomas doubled, Ordonez had an RBI single, and Lee hit a two-run homer to give Chicago an 8-2 lead.
The Twins loaded the bases in the eighth but didn't score. It cost them, because they did get back into the game in the ninth. Lew Ford led off with a double, Denny Hocking had an RBI triple, and Justin Morneau drove in a run with a single. With one out, walks to Koskie and Hunter loaded the bases. A sacrifice fly made it 8-5 and Jacque Jones singled. It was 8-6 with the tying run on base and the winning run at bat in Michael Cuddyer. He struck out, however, and the game was over.
WP: Buehrle (12-13). LP: Carlos Pulido (0-1). S: Tom Gordon (11).
Notes: Chris Gomez was at second base in the continuing absence of Luis Rivas. Shannon Stewart was in left with Dustan Mohr in right.
The Twins used five pinch-hitters. Michael Ryan pinch-hit for Gomez in the seventh, with Hocking going in to play second base. Cuddyer pinch-hit for Cristian Guzman in the eighth and stayed in the game at second base, with Hocking moving to short. Ford pinch-hit for Stewart in the ninth. Morneau pinch-hit for Mientkiewicz in the ninth. Jones pinch-hit for Mohr in the ninth.
Ryan was 0-for-1 and was batting .375. Ford was 1-for-1 and was batting .333. Stewart was 0-for-3 and was batting .311. Mientkiewicz was batting .305. Jones was 1-for-1 and was batting .305. A. J. Pierzynski was 1-for-3 and was batting .302.
With various Twins starters either injured or ineffective, the Twins turned to Pulido for the start in this game. He pitched three innings, allowing three runs on four hits and two walks and striking out one. His ERA was 2.38. Rick Reed came in and pitched three solid innings but fell apart in his fourth inning, so his line is 3.2 innings, three runs, four hits, and a walk. His ERA was 5.08. Orosco's scoreless inning lowered his ERA to 7.47.
The Twins scored their runs in the ninth off Jose Paniagua. This was his only major league appearance in 2003 and the last of his career. A sad way to end: one-third of an inning, four runs, three hits, one walk. He continued to pitch for several more years--in the minors, in winter ball, in independent ball, in foreign countries--not ending his playing career until 2008. In his major league career, he went 18-21, 4.49, 1.52 WHIP. He pitched 357 innings in 270 games (14 starts).
It came as a surprise to me that Carlos Lee had 125 stolen bases in his career. He had 18 in 2003, one shy of his career mark of 19 in 2006. He had double-digit stolen bases in seven seasons.
The Twins had dropped two in a row to the division leaders. Kansas City lost again, so the Twins had no worries about dropping to third.
Record: The Twins were 76-68, in second place in the American League Central, two games behind Chicago. They were 2.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.