ARIZONA 9, MINNESOTA 2 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Saturday, June 14.
Batting stars: Corey Koskie was 2-for-3 with two walks. Cristian Guzman was 2-for-5.
Pitching star: Juan Rincon struck out four in 3.1 scoreless innings of relief, giving up two hits and no walks.
Opposition stars: Miguel Batista struck out seven in six innings, giving up an unearned run on four hits and three walks. Alex Cintron was 3-for-4 with two doubles, a walk, and three runs. Luis Gonzalez was 3-for-5 with a double and four RBIs. Carlos Baerga was 2-for-4 with two doubles, two runs, and two RBIs. Rod Barajas was 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs.
The game: Cintron hit a one-out double and scored on Gonzalez' two-out single to put the Diamondbacks on the board in the first inning. The Twins had a pair of singles in the bottom of the first but did not score. Back-to-back doubles by Baerga and Barajas made it 2-0 in the second. The Twins again put two on in the bottom of the second but did not score.
Arizona broke it open in the fifth. Tony Womack singled, Cintron walked, and Junior Spivey was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Gonzalez doubled in two runs. An intentional walk to Mark Grace re-loaded the bases. A force out at home made two outs, but back-to-back ground-rule doubles by Baerga and Barajas brought in four more runs, making the score 8-0 Diamondbacks.
The Twins got on the board in the sixth. Koskie singled and an error put men on first and third with none out, but Torii Hunter's RBI ground out produced the only run of the inning. In the seventh, consecutive one-out singles by Luis Rivas, Lew Ford, and Guzman produced another run. Koskie walked to load the bases, but Justin Morneau grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Arizona added a run in the ninth on a double by Cintron and a single by Gonzalez.
WP: Batista (4-3). LP: Joe Mays (7-4). S: None.
Notes: Matthew LeCroy was behind the plate in place of A. J. Pierzynski. Morneau was the DH.
Ford replaced Jacque Jones in left field in the sixth inning. Tom Prince pinch-hit for Doug Mientkiewicz in the sixth and stayed in the game behind the plate, with LeCroy moving to first base.
Morneau was 0-for-4 and was batting .400. Jones was 0-for-3 and was batting .307.
Mays started for the Twins and pitched 4.2 innings. As you can see, he didn't do badly for the first four, but his line was eight runs, eight hits, two walks, and four strikeouts.
Guzman had two hits in each of the last four games. He was 8-for-19 with a triple. He raised his average from .255 to .268.
The Twins stranded 10 and were 1-for-9 with men in scoring position.
I remember Batista, but I'd forgotten he was around so long. He played in eighteen seasons, playing until he was 41. 2003 was right about in the middle of his career. He never had a season in which he didn't have at least one relief appearance, but he was primarily a starter through 2008 with the exception of 2005, when he made 71 appearances out of the bullpen for Toronto. 2003 was probably his best season: he was 10-9, 3.54, 1.33 WHIP. He was never great, but with a few exceptions he was never really bad, either. For his career he was 102-115, 4.48, with an ERA+ of 100. He appeared in 658 games, 248 of them starts. He pitched 1956.1 innings. Control, or rather a lack of it, contributed to keeping him from being better: he walked 4.1 per nine innings and the only things he ever led the league in were walks (96 in 2004) and wild pitches (14 in 2006). A guy who can be counted on to be average has value, and that value kept Miguel Batista in the majors for quite a long time.
Record: The Twins were 38-28, in first place in the American League Central, five games ahead of Kansas City.