Tag Archives: battle for first place

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Twenty-four


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.


Random Rewind: 2010, Game Seventy-six


Date:  Monday, June 28.

Batting stars:  Jim Thome was 2-for-3 with a home run (his seventh), a triple, a walk, two runs, and two RBIs.  Justin Morneau was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Delmon Young was 2-for-4.  Orlando Hudson was 2-for-5 with a double.

Pitching star:  Jesse Crain struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Ramon Santiago was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Miguel Cabrera was 2-for-4 with two doubles, a walk, and two RBIs.  Austin Jackson was 2-for-4 with a hit-by-pitch and three runs.  Danny Worth was 2-for-4.  Gerald Laird was 1-for-4 with a home run, his second.

The game:  The Tigers jumped out early, scoring four runs in the first before a man was retired and never trailing after that.  Jackson was hit by a pitch.  Singles by Santiago and Ryan Raburn loaded the bases, and Cabrera and Brandon Boesch each hit a two-run double, giving Detroit a 4-0 lead.

The Twins got one back in the bottom of the first when Denard Span was hit by a pitch, went to third on Hudson's double, and scored on a sacrifice fly.  One was all they got, though, and the Tigers moved their lead back to four in the second when Jackson singled, stole second, went to third on Santiago's single, and scored on a ground out.

The Twins started getting back into it in the fourth.  Michael Cuddyer led off with a single, Thome tripled, and Young singled, cutting the lead to 5-3.  In the sixth Thome homered, narrowing the margin to 5-4.

In the seventh Jackson singled, was bunted to second and scored on a Raburn single.  The Twins got the run back in the bottom of the seventh when Hudson singled, went to second on a pickoff error, and scored on Jason Kubel's single, bringing the margin again down to one at 6-5.

But that was as good as it got for the Twins.  Laird homered in the eighth to make it 7-5.  The Twins went down in order in both the eighth and the ninth and went down to defeat.

WP:  Jeremy Bonderman (4-5).  LP:  Francisco Liriano (6-6).  S:  Jose Valverde (18).

Notes:  Justin Morneau was at first base.  As you probably recall, he was having an awesome year until he was injured in early July, bringing his season to a premature end and affecting his entire career.  Cuddyer actually played the most games at first base that season, 84 to 77.

Nick Punto was at shortstop in place of J. J. Hardy, who was out due to injury.  Cuddyer was at third base in place of Danny Valencia, who was out for a few games.

The Twins did not make any position player substitutions.

Morneau was batting .350.  He would end the season at .345.  Mauer was batting .300.  He would finish at .327.  Valencia batted .311.  The Twins were third in batting at .273.  Texas led the league at .276.

Thome led the team with 25 home runs.  Kubel and Young were tied for second with 21.  Others in double figures were Morneau (18) and Cuddyer (14).  The Twins were ninth in home runs with 142.  Toronto led the league with 257, which was 46 more than the second place team (Boston).

Liriano pitched six innings and allowed six runs on nine hits and two walks.  He struck out six.  He had a fine year in 2010, even if you couldn't tell it from this game:  14-10, 3.62, 1.26 WHIP.  He and Carl Pavano (17-11, 3.75) were clearly a step above the others in the rotation:  Scott Baker (12-9, 4.49), Kevin Slowey (13-6, 4.45), and Nick Blackburn (10-12, 5.42).  Brian Duensing joined the rotation in late July and did very well--as a starter he was 7-2, 3.05.  The Twins were fifth in the league in ERA at 3.95--Oakland led at 3.56.  They were fourth in WHIP at 1.29--Tampa Bay led there, at 1.26.

Detroit used two pitchers with connections to the Twins, Brad Thomas and Joel Zumaya.  Thomas was in his second act in MLB.  He had last pitched in the majors with the Twins in 2004.  He then went to Japan and to Korea before making it back to the big leagues with Detroit in 2010.  He made the most of the opportunity, going 6-2, 3.89 in 49 apperaances (69.1) innings.  It was the only good year he would have.  He kept pitching, though, going to his native Australia and to Taiwan before ending his playing career in 2014.  He has going back to Australia and appears to have a number of successful business interests there, some related to baseball and some not.

This was the middle of a three-game losing streak for the Twins.  They were in a stretch where they would win just two of eight.  This game was a battle for first place in the division at the time, as you'll see below.

Record:  The Twins were 41-35, in second place in the American League Central, a half game behind Detroit.  They would finish 94-68, in first place, six games ahead of Chicago.

The Tigers were 41-34, in first place in the American League Central, a half game ahead of Minnesota.  They would finish 81-81, in third place, 13 games behind Minnesota.

Rewind Record:  The Twins are 39-38 in Random Rewind games.