Tag Archives: big win

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-five


Date:  Wednesday, September 10.

Batting stars:  Matthew LeCroy was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Shannon Stewart was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Johan Santana pitched 6.1 innings, giving up one run on six hits and one walk and striking out six.  LaTroy Hawkins pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, walking one and striking out one.  Eddie Guardado struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Jon Garland pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and two walks and striking out five.  Magglio Ordonez was 1-for-2 with a walk.

The game:  The White Sox had two on with two out in the first and did not score.  That was really the only significant threat until the fifth, when the Twins broke the scoreless tie.  Torii Hunter and Corey Koskie singled and A. J. Pierzynski was hit by a pitch, loading the bases.  The Twins didn't get a big inning out of it, but sacrifice flies by Cristian Guzman and Stewart put them up 2-0.

In the sixth singles by Tony Graffanino and Frank Thomas were followed by an Ordonez sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 2-1.  The Twins got the run back in the seventh when Koskie walked, went to second on a ground out, and scored on Stewart's single.

Chicago put men on second and third with one out in the seventh but did not score.  The Twins got an insurance run in the eighth when Doug Mientkiewicz walked and scored from first on LeCroy's double.  The White Sox did not get a hit after that and the Twins won 4-1.

WP:  Santana (10-3).  LP:  Jon Garland (11-11).  S:  Guardado (34).

Notes:  Luis Rivas was back at second base.  Stewart was in left and Jacque Jones in right.  Dustan Mohr pinch-ran for LeCroy in the eighth.

Stewart raised his average to .313.  Mientkiewicz was 1-for-3 and was batting .305.  Jones was 0-for-4 and was batting .303.  Pierzynski was 1-for-3 and was batting .302.

Hawkins lowered his ERA to 1.92.  Guardado got under three at 2.95.

Having lost the first two of the four game series, the Twins needed this win.  They also needed Santana to come up big yet again, and he certainly did.  The bullpen, which had been solid all season, was solid again, too.

The win stopped the Twins' two-game losing streak.  They would have a chance to split the series and move back into a tie for first the next day.  Kansas City won, as they tried to stay in the race.

Record:  The Twins were 77-68, in second place in the American League Central, one game behind Chicago.  They were 2.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.

Random Rewind: 1963, Game One Hundred Thirty-two


Date:  Thursday, August 29.

Batting stars:  Bernie Allen was 3-for-5 with a home run (his seventh) and three RBIs.  Jimmie Hall was 3-for-5 with a home run (his twenty-seventh) and two runs.  Rich Rollins was 3-for-5.  Zoilo Versalles was 2-for-4 with a home run (his tenth), a triple, a walk, and three runs.  Earl Battey was 2-for-4.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-5 with a two-run homer, his thirty-second.

Pitching star:  Dwight Siebler pitched a complete game, giving up one run on three hits and two walks and striking out four.

Opposition stars:  Don Rudolph struck out three in three shutout innings of relief, giving up two hits and a walk.

The game:  Allen led off the game with a home run to put the Twins up 1-0.  They later put men on second and third with none out, but left them there.  It did not cost them.  In the second Versalles tripled and scored on Allen's single to make it 2-0.

The Twins took control in the third.  Hall opened with a home run.  Don Mincher walked and went to third on two wild pitches.  The next two batters went out, but Battey had an RBI single, Versalles walked, Siebler contributed a two-run single-plus-error, and Allen delivered an RBI single.  It was 7-0 Twins and they were not threatened after that.

It went to 9-0 in the fourth when Killebrew hit a two-run homer and 10-0 in the fifth when Versalles homered.  The lone Senators run came in the sixth.  Don Rudolph walked, went to third on a single by Don Blasingame, and scored on a double play.

WP:  Siebler (1-0).  LP:  Jim Duckworth (4-11).  S:  None.

Notes:  This was the second game of a doubleheader.  The Twins had won the first game 14-2, giving them a 24-3 margin for the day.

Despite the fact that this was the second game of a doubleheader, the only substitution from the first game to the second was that Mincher was at first base rather than Vic Power.  They also didn't make a lot of substitutions during the game, even though it was a blowout.  In the eighth, Jerry Zimmerman replaced Battey behind the plate and Lenny Green went to center field, with Hall moving to left and Killebrew coming out of the game.  I know, but always forget, that Killebrew was the Twins' regular left fielder from 1962-1964.

This was the second game, first start, first complete game, and first win of Siebler's career.  He had pitched two-thirds of an inning of relief three days earlier.  We don't have pitch counts for these games.  It's hard to imagine a guy making his first career start being allowed to pitch a complete game, especially in a blowout like this.  Incidentally, Lee Stange threw a complete game in the first game of the doubleheader.  Men were men in 1963.

Duckworth was the starter for Washington.  He pitched 2.2 innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits and two walks and striking out three.

The Senators really had a woeful lineup.  They had one batter with an average over .250 (Chuck Hinton, .279) and three guys with an OPS over .720.  (Hinton, Blasingame, and Don Lock).  Yes, it was the 1960s, and yes, they were a third-year expansion team, but that's still pretty bad.  And they weren't using a bunch of scrubs because it was the second game of the doubleheader--this was pretty much their regular lineup.  As they used to say, first in war, first in peace, last in the American League.

This is more like it, random.org.

Record:  The Twins were 74-58, in third place in the American League, 11.5 games behind the Yankees.  They would finish 91-70, in third place, thirteen games behind the Yankees.

Washington was 48-85, in tenth (last) place in the American League, thirty-eight games behind the Yankees.  They would finish 56-106, in tenth (last) place, 48.5 games behind the Yankees.

2019 Recap: Game One Hundred Thirty-one


Date:  Tuesday, August 27.

Batting stars:  Nelson Cruz was 2-for-4.  Marwin Gonzalez was 1-for-3 with a home run, his fifteenth.  Jonathan Schoop was 1-for-4 with a home run, his nineteenth.

PItching stars:  Michael Pineda struck out eight in five innings, giving up one run on four hits and a walk.  Sam Dyson pitched a perfect inning.  Tyler Duffey pitched a scoreless inning, giving up two hits.  Sergio Romo struck out the side in a perfect inning.  Taylor Rogers pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Lucas Giolito struck out nine in six innings, giving up two runs on four hits and three walks.  Yolmer Sanchez was 2-for-3.  Tim Anderson was 1-for-4 with a home run, his fourteenth.

The game:  The Twins put two on with one out in the first, as Jorge Polanco walked and Cruz singled, but nothing came of it.  In the second, however Gonzalez led off with a home run and Schoop hit a two-out homer, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead.  Pineda got through the first three innings without allowing a hit, but that changed when Anderson led off the fourth with a home run, cutting the margin to 2-1.  The White Sox also got a pair of two-out singles in the inning, but a ground out ended the threat.

Chicago got a threat going in the seventh, getting singles from Ryan Goins and Sanchez with one out.  Matt Skole struck out and Leury Garcia lined to third to end the inning.  The Twins got an insurance run in the eighth on singles by PolancoCruz, and Eddie Rosario.  The last eight White Sox were retired and the game belonged to the Twins.

WP:  Pineda (10-5).  LP:  Giolito (14-7).  S:  Rogers (21).

Notes:  Jake Cave was in center in the continued absence of Byron BuxtonGonzalez was in right in place of Max Kepler.  Kepler pinch-hit for Gonzalez in the eighth and went to center field, with Cave moving to right.  Rosario returned to the lineup in left field.

Duffey has an ERA of 2.80.  Rogers has an ERA of 2.47.

Pineda pitched well, but threw just five innings and eighty-nine pitches when he was removed from the game.  When that decision was made, we knew that either one of our top three relievers would pitch more than one inning or that we'd see Tyler Duffey with the game on the line.  Rocco clearly decided that was a better option than trying to push Pineda into a sixth inning, and he was proven to be right.  Duffey was a little shaky, but got the job done.

Duffey has, in fact, pitched very well lately.  He hasn't given up a run in over a month.  On July 23 his ERA was 3.82 and today it is 2.80.  That's fourteen appearances and twelve innings.  He has given up just six hits and five walks.  I still not sure how much I trust him with the game on the line, but he's been getting the job done.

This felt like a big game to win.  Time will tell if it actually is, of course.  But while the White Sox are not a good team, Giolito is a really good pitcher and he had shut the Twins down just last week.  The pitching matchups for the rest of the series seem much more favorable, although as we've said many times, it's baseball and you never know.  That means the Twins should have a good chance to sweep the series.  That would be good, because Cleveland is playing Detroit, and the Indians don't seem to be having any trouble taking care of business against the weak teams of the league.  As we approach September, the Twins need to do the same.

Record:  The Twins are 80-51, in first place in the American League Central, 3.5 games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 111-51!

2019 Recap: Game One Hundred Nineteen


Date:  Tuesday, August 13.

Batting stars:  Marwin Gonzalez was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer (his fourteenth) and two runs.  Eddie Rosario was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and two runs.  Mitch Garver was 1-for-5 with a two-run homer, his twenty-second.

Pitching stars:  Martin Perez pitched six innings, giving up an unearned run on six hits and four walks and striking out three.  Tyler Duffey pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.  Sam Dyson pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.  Sergio Romo pitched a scoreless inning.

Opposition stars:  Yasmani Grandal was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer (his twentieth) and a walk.  Manny Pina was 2-for-4 with a double and a hit-by-pitch.  Keston Hiura was 2-for-4 with a walk.

The game:  Each team missed chances early.  The Brewers had men on first and third in each of the first two innings and did not score.  The Twins put men on first and second with one out in the second and did not score.  In the third, however, Max Kepler led off with a walk and Garver followed with a two-run homer.  With one out, Rosario walked, went to third on a Miguel Sano single, and scored on a ground out to put the Twins up 3-0.

Milwaukee again put two men on in the third and did not score.  They got on the board in the fourth, though.  Hernan Perez got a one-out single.  Chase Anderson's bunt should have resulted in an inning-ending double play, but an error instead put men on first and third with one out.  A force out brought home a run, cutting the lead to 3-1.  The Brewers again missed a chance in the fifth, as they failed to do anything with a leadoff double.

The Twins got an insurance run in the seventh, as Gonzalez singled, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on Ehire Adrianza's pinch-hit double.  It was 4-1 and looking good for the visitors.  In the bottom of the seventh, however, Hiura led off with a single and scored on a Christian Yelich double.  Catcher's interference put men on first and second and Grandal delivered a three-run homer, giving Milwaukee its first lead at 5-4.  Suddenly, things weren't looking so good for the visitors after all.

But the Twins would not be denied.  Rosario led off the eighth with a double and Sano walked.  The next two batters went out, but Gonzalez came through with a three-run homer for the Twins, putting them up 7-5.  Dyson and Romo came in to slam the door and make it a Minnesota victory.

WP:  Duffey (2-1).  LP:  Drew Pomeranz (2-10).  S:  Romo (19).

Notes:  It remained Kepler in center and Gonzalez in right, with Byron Buxton remaining out.

Luis Arraez was 1-for-3 with a walk and is batting .350.

Perez got through six innings and gave up just an unearned run.  It wasn't pretty, as the Brewers had a threat in pretty much every inning.  For the game, Milwaukee stranded twelve runners and went 1-for-12 with men in scoring position.  It's hard to tell whether Perez actually pitched better or just got lucky.  Whatever it was, though, we'll take it.

It may well be that this is well-known and I just missed it (I went to bed before the ninth), but I don't know why Romo was used to close the game rather than Taylor Rogers.  I saw a game story that said Rogers was "apparently unavailable", but it didn't say why.  It worked out, but the Twins definitely need a healthy Taylor Rogers coming down the stretch.

This felt like a really big win for the Twins.  Yes, momentum is as good as the next day's starting pitcher, and if the Twins go on to lose five of the next six this game won't mean much of anything.  But when the Twins lost the lead in the seventh, a lot of people (including me) thought, "Here we go again".  Another winnable game lost.  Another game blown by the bullpen.  Couple that with Cleveland appearing to come back on Boston, and it looked like the Twins would lose yet another game in the standings.  Instead, they gained a game and find themselves back in first place.  Time will tell how big this game actually was, but it feels pretty big right now.

Record:  The Twins are 72-47, first in the American League Central, a half game ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 115-47!