MINNESOTA 11, BOSTON 7 IN BOSTON
Date: Friday, May 2.
Batting stars: Torii Hunter was 3-for-5. Dustan Mohr was 2-for-3 with a home run (his third), a walk, two runs, and four RBIs. Chris Gomez was 2-for-4 with a double. Matthew LeCroy was 2-for-5 with two home runs (his second and third) and three RBIs. Cristian Guzman was 2-for-5.
Pitching stars: Kyle Lohse pitched 6.1 innings, giving up two runs on five hits and five walks and striking out two. Juan Rincon pitched a perfect inning, striking out one.
Opposition stars: Manny Ramirez was 2-for-3 with a double, two walks, and two runs. Bill Mueller was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Trot Nixon was 2-for-5. Nomar Garciaparra was 2-for-5 with a double.
The game: It was a pitchers' duel early on, with neither team even getting a hit until the third inning. The Red Sox got a pair of walks in the second, but nothing came of it. They loaded the bases in the third, but again came up empty. They loaded the bases again in the fourth, but again the game remained scoreless.
It was the Twins who started the scoring, in the fifth. A single and a forceout put Bobby Kielty on first with one out. A wild pitch moved him to second, Todd Sears singled to put men on first and third, and a ground out gave the Twins a 1-0 lead. With two out in the sixth Corey Koskie walked and LeCroy hit a two-run homer to make it 3-0. In the seventh Kielty singled and Mohr hit a two-run homer to put the Twins up 5-0.
It was looking good, but Boston broke through in the seventh, and they did it in a big way. Johnny Damon led off with a walk. With one out Garciaparra singled, Ramirez hit an RBI double, consecutive run-scoring singles by Kevin Millar, Nixon, and Mueller made it 5-4, and Shea Hillenbrand had an RBI double to tie the score. A walk loaded the bases and Damon hit a sacrifice fly (presumably tying a record for most plate appearances in an inning without an official at-bat) to put the Red Sox up 6-5. Another walk loaded the bases again, but Boston did no more damage that inning.
The Twins were apparently not worried about their "loss of momentum", as they got all six runs back in the eighth. LeCroy homered with one out to tie the score. Hunter singled and Kielty walked. Michael Cuddyer and Mohr followed with RBI singles, Chris Gomez had a run-scoring double, and Jones and Guzman had RBI singles. It was 11-6 Twins.
The Red Sox got one more run in the eighth. Ramirez led off with a single and scored on a two-out double by Mueller. But that was the last hit Boston got, and the Twins had their fourth consecutive victory.
WP: Johan Santana (1-0). LP: Ramiro Mendoza (1-1). S: None.
Notes: LeCroy was behind the plate, one of twenty-two games he caught that season. Sears was at first base, one of fourteen games he played at first that season. Gomez was at second. Kielty was the DH.
Cuddyer pinch-hit for Sears in the eighth. Tom Prince replaced LeCroy behind the plate in the eighth.
Gomez raised his average to .333. Jacque Jones was 1-for-5 and was batting .318. Kielty was 1-for-4 and was batting .316.
Mohr raised his average to .178.
Romero gave up two runs and retired no one, raising his ERA to 5.11. LaTroy Hawkins gave up two runs and retired no one, raising his ERA to 1.80. Santana gave up a run in 1.2 innings, making his ERA 1.30. Juan Rincon lowered his ERA to 1.80.
The Twins used four pitchers in the seventh--Lohse started the inning, Hawkins faced two batters and gave up two hits, Romero faced four batters and gave up three hits and a walk, and Santana finally retired the side. But the Red Sox also used four pitchers in the eighth. Kevin Tolar retired the first batter, Mendoza faced three batters and gave up two hits and a walk, Alan Embree faced four batters and gave up four hits, and Jason Shiell finally came in to retire the side.
Boston was 6-for-19 with men in scoring position, which is a) a good batting average and b) a heck of a lot of at-bats with men in scoring position. Still, they stranded thirteen, and it had to be frustrating for them to leave the bases loaded three times. The Twins were an amazing 7-for-11 with men in scoring position, stranding just five.
Record: The Twins were 14-14, third in the American League Central, five games behind Kansas City. They were just a half game behind second place Chicago.