MINNESOTA 13, CLEVELAND 6 IN CLEVELAND
Date: Monday, September 15.
Batting stars: A. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-3 with a double, a stolen base (his third), a hit-by-pitch, and two runs. Jacque Jones was 2-for-4. Torii Hunter was 2-for-5 with a home run (his twenty-sixth), a double, two runs, and five RBIs. Cristian Guzman was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his second.
Pitching stars: Jesse Orosco pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit. Juan Rincon struck out two in a perfect inning. Carlos Pulido pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk.
Opposition stars: Casey Blake was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two runs. Chris Magruder was 2-for-4 with a home run. Coco Crisp was 2-for-4.
The game: It was close for five innings. Neither team scored in the first two, but each team scored once in the third. The Twins got doubles from Pierzynski and Shannon Stewart to get on the board, but the Indians tied it with Magruder's home run. Cleveland took the lead in the fourth. Blake walked and was picked off first, but an error on Johan Santana moved him to second. With one out Santana picked Blake off second but again made an error, sending Blake to third. Victor Martinez then doubled to make it 2-1 Indians.
But the Twins took control of the game in the sixth. With one out Stewart walked, Luis Rivas singled, and Doug Mientkiewicz walked, loading the bases. Jones tied the score with an RBI single, but Rivas was thrown out at the plate for the second out. An intentional walk to Corey Koskie loaded the bases. Then Hunter hit a two-run double, Pierzynski had an RBI single and stole second, Michael Ryan had a two-run single, and Guzman killed the rally with a two-run homer. The Twins scored eight in the inning to take a 9-2 lead.
Cleveland didn't quit, though. Two walks, an error, and a sacrifice fly brought home two runs in the bottom of the sixth. The Twins got one in the seventh when Rivas was hit by a pitch, stole second, and scored on Koskie's single. The Indians came back with two in the bottom of the seventh when Crisp singled, Casey doubled, and a pair of productive outs made the score 10-6.
Cleveland did not get a hit after that, however. The Twins put it away in the ninth when Michael Restovich singled, Koskie walked, and Hunter hit a three-run homer.
WP: Santana (11-3). LP: Jason Davis (8-11). S: None.
Notes: Stewart was in left with Ryan in right. Jones was the DH.
Restovich pinch-ran for Jones in the seventh. Justin Morneau pinch-hit for Rivas in the eighth, when Denny Hocking coming in to play second. Matthew LeCroy pinch-hit for Pierzynski in the ninth and stayed in the game at catcher. Lew Ford replaced Stewart in left field in the ninth.
Ryan was 1-for-5 and was batting .375. Restovich was 1-for-1 and was batting .326. Stewart was 1-for-3 and was batting .312. Pierzynski was up to .305. Mientkiewicz was 0-for-4 and was also batting .305. Jones raised his average to .302.
Santana pitched well for four innings, but his line was five innings, four runs (three earned), four hits, four walks, and six strikeouts.
Pulido lowered his ERA to 2.19. He still had not given up a run when used in relief.
Davis started for the Indians. He pitched 5.2 innings, allowing seven runs on six hits and three walks and striking out two.
Guzman had not hit a home run all year, then hit two in three games. That's baseball.
This was the only major league home run Chris Magruder would hit in 2003. He would hit eleven in his career. He had batted .328/.391/.474 in 41 games in AAA in 2003, then batted .346/.433/.61 in nine games for Cleveland. The Indians were so impressed that they allowed him to become a free agent. They were apparently right, as he spent a couple of mediocre-to-poor seasons with Milwaukee and then was done.
The Royals won, but the White Sox were idle, so the Twins moved into first place going into a big three-game series with the White Sox in Minnesota.
Record: The Twins were 81-69, in first place in the American League Central, a half game ahead of Chicago. They were 3.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.