DETROIT 9, MINNESOTA 8 IN DETROIT
Date: Saturday, September 27.
Batting stars: Michael Ryan was 4-for-4 with a two-run homer (his fifth) and two runs. Cristian Guzman was 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Jacque Jones was 1-for-3 with a home run, his sixteenth.
Pitching star: Brad Radke pitched five innings, giving up one run on eight hits and one walk, striking out three.
Opposition stars: Craig Monroe was 4-for-5 with a double and three RBIs. Warren Morris was 2-for-5 with a double and three runs. Carlos Pena was 2-for-5 with four RBIs. Brian Schmack pitched three shutout innings of relief, giving up three hits and no walks and striking out one.
The game: The Twins again treated this like a spring training game and it cost them in the end, although they may not have cared. It looked good early. Shannon Stewart reached on a two-base error, went to third on a passed ball, and scored on a sacrifice fly, giving the Twins a run before they had a hit. The Twins had men on second and third with one out in the third but did not score, so it was 1-0 through three.
The Twins appeared to take control in the fourth. Consecutive doubles by Corey Koskie, Torii Hunter, and A. J. Pierzynski made it 3-0. Singles by Ryan and Guzman plated two more runs to make it 5-0. The Tigers left the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth, and the Twins added some more runs in the fifth. Jones led off with a home run, Koskie walked, and Ryan hit a two-out two-run homer to give the Twins an 8-0 lead. Detroit got on the board in the bottom of the fifth, when Morris doubled and scored on a Monroe single, but it was still 8-1 and the game appeared to be well in hand.
It didn't work out that way. In the seventh Morris singled, Bobby Higginson reached on an error, Monroe doubled home one, and Pena singled home two to cut the lead to 8-4. In the eighth, four walks brought home a run, Monroe had an RBI single, and Pena brought home two with a single, tying the score 8-8.
The Twins got a leadoff double from Justin Morneau in the ninth but left him on third. With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Alex Sanchez walked, stole second and third, and scored on a wild pitch. The first Twins run and the last Tigers run scored without a hit, but the last one decided the game in favor of Detroit.
WP: Fernando Rodney (1-3). LP: Jesse Orosco (2-2). S: None.
Notes: It was essentially the regular lineup, with Stewart in left and Ryan in right. As yesterday, however, most of them came out a little over halfway through the game.
Michael Restovich pinch-ran for Stewart in the third inning and stayed in the game in left field. Lew Ford pinch-ran for Hunter in the fourth inning and stayed in the game in center field. Michael Cuddyer pinch-ran for Koskie in the fifth and stayed in the game at third base. Denny Hocking pinch-hit for Luis Rivas in the sixth and stayed in the game at first base. Justin Morneau pinch-hit for DH Jacque Jones in the sixth inning. Alex Prieto replaced Doug Mientkiewicz in the batting order in the sixth inning and went to second base. Rob Bowen replaced Pierzynski behind the plate in the sixth inning. Chris Gomez pinch-hit for Guzman in the seventh and stayed in the game at shortstop.
Ryan was batting .379. Ford was 0-for-3 and was batting .319. Pierzynski was 1-for-3 and was batting .312. Stewart was 1-for-2 and was batting .307. Jones was 1-for-3 and was batting .304.
Bowen was 1-for-2 and was batting .125. Prieto was 0-for-1 and was batting .111.
After Radke was done the Twins went with the B bullpen: Carlos Pulido, Juan Rincon, J. C. Romero, and Orosco. Orosco's ERA went up to 7.68.
Gary Knotts started for Detroit. He pitched 3.2 innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on eight hits and no walks and striking out two.
This was the only year Brian Schmack would be in the majors, and this was the last game of his career. At least he got to end on a high note. He was 29 and had spent three years in AAA. He had been in AA before the Tigers brought him up in late August. He was 1-0, 3.46, 1.39 WHIP in 11 games (13 innings).
The walk Radke gave up was the only walk he allowed in the month of September (35 innings).
Detroit would not set an expansion era record for worst record. They could still tie the record for most losses with a loss in their last game.
Record: The Twins were 90-71, in first place in the American League Central, five games ahead of Chicago. The White Sox had clinched second place.