KANSAS CITY 5, MINNESOTA 4 IN KANSAS CITY
Date: Sunday, August 17.
Batting stars: Matthew LeCroy was 1-for-2 with a home run, his thirteenth. Shannon Stewart was 1-for-4 with a home run, his twelfth. Luis Rivas was 1-for-4 with a home run, his sixth.
Pitching stars: Joe Mays pitched four shutout innings of relief, giving up three hits. LaTroy Hawkins pitched a perfect inning.
Opposition stars: Joe Randa was 2-for-4 with a home run, his twelfth. Raul Ibanez was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his sixteenth. Angel Berroa was 2-for-4 with two runs. Mike Sweeney was 2-for-4. Darrell May pitched 6.1 innings, giving up three runs on six hits and no walks and striking out three.
The game: The Twins couldn't overcome one big inning. Rivas started the scoring with a first-inning home run. The Royals got the run back on consecutive singles by Berroa, Sweeney, and Carlos Beltran. The Twins went back in front in the top of the third when Cristian Guzman singled, went to second on a ground out, and scored on a Doug Mientkiewicz single.
But in the bottom of the third, Kansas City went into the lead to stay. Singles by Berroa and Sweeney and a sacrifice fly by Beltran tied the score. Then came back-to-back homers by Ibanez and Randa, giving the Royals a 5-2 lead.
The Twins got one back when Stewart homered in the fifth. They had men on first and second with one out in the seventh but did not score. LeCroy homered in the eighth to pull the Twins within one at 5-4. Michael Ryan hit a two-out double in the ninth, but he could not get beyond second base.
WP: May (6-6). LP: Reed (5-12). S: Curtis Leskanic (1).
Notes: Stewart was again in left, Michael Restovich in right, and Jones at DH.
Mientkiewicz came out of the game in the third inning, presumably due to injury. LeCroy replaced him at first base. Mientkiewicz would miss the next few games and be back in the lineup August 22.
Ryan pinch-hit for Restovich in the seventh and stayed in the game in right field.
Ryan was 1-for-2 and was batting .600. Stewart was 1-for-4 and was batting .310. Restovich was 0-for-2 and was also batting .310. Jones was 0-for-4 and was batting .306.
Reed lasted just three innings, allowing five runs on nine hits. He neither walked nor struck out anyone. His ERA went to 5.10. Mays lowered his ERA to 6.12. Hawkins' ERA went down to 2.21.
Reed's game score was not his worst of the season. It was not even his second worst. In fact, it was only tied for third-worst. After this game, Ron Gardenhire had finally seen enough. It would be Reed's last start, not just for the season but for his career. He would spend September in the bullpen, and it would be his last season. Kind of a sad end to a pretty decent career, but on the other hand, it's hard to argue that he deserved better.
Ex-Twin Curtis Leskanic had 55 saves over his career. He was never "the closer" for an extended period of time, but he always managed to pick up a few saves here and there. His high was 17 with Milwaukee in 2001. He had 12 with Milwaukee in 2000 and 10 with Colorado in 1995. He had come to the Royals in July of this season. This was the first of two saves he would have for them in 2003.
Despite the loss it was a good series for the Twins, taking two of three from the first place team in their ballpark. They would go to Cleveland for two, then host the Royals for four games in the Metrodome.
Record: The Twins were 63-61, tied for second with Chicago in the American League Central, three games behind Kansas City.