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2002 Rewind: Game Ninety-four


Date:  Monday, July 15.

Batting stars:  Torii Hunter was 3-for-4 with a home run (his twenty-second) and a stolen base (his sixteenth).  Luis Rivas was 3-for-4 with two doubles.  Cristian Guzman was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his fifth.

Pitching stars:  LaTroy Hawkins retired all five batters he faced.  Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning, striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Troy Glaus was 3-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Garret Anderson was 1-for-4 with a double.  Tim Salmon was 0-for-3 with two walks.

The game:  The Twins got on the board in the second, but the third inning was a disaster for them, as they gave the Angels five runs.  With one out a walk, a single, and a walk loaded the bases.  An error scored one run and another error scored a second.  A sacrifice fly made it 3-1, Glaus had an RBI single, and a wild pitch made it 5-1.  It the fifth, Shawn Wooten hit a two-run single to increase the lead to 7-1. The Twins got back in the game in the bottom of the fifth, as Rivas had an RBI double, Doug Mientkiewicz singled home two, and another run scored on a ground out, cutting the margin to 7-5.  Glaus had another RBI single in the seventh to make it 8-5.  Hunter hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh to pull the Twins within one at 8-7.  The first two Twins went out in the eighth, but singles by Rivas and Bobby Kielty were followed by Guzman's three-run homer to put the Twins in front to stay.  The Angels did not get a baserunner after Glaus' seventh-inning single.

WP:  Hawkins (4-0).  LP:  Scott Schoeneweis (7-7).  S:  Guardado (29).

Notes:  Michael Cuddyer played right field, with both Kielty and Dustan Mohr on the bench.  He went 0-for-4.  Kielty and Mohr were both used as pinch-hitters.

Hunter raised his average to .310.

A. J. Pierzynski was 1-for-3 and was batting .307.

Hawkins lowered his ERA to 1.43.

Johan Santana started.  He pitched 4.2 innings, giving up seven runs (three earned) on four hits and seven walks while striking out three.  It was the most walks he had given up in a game all season.  He would not walk more than three in any game the rest of the year.  His ERA was still good at 2.80.

Santana was relieved by Kevin Frederick, who was making his major league debut.  He pitched 1.2 innings, giving up a run on two hits.  He would appear in eight games for the Twins that season, giving up at least one run in six of them.  This was his only season with the Twins.  He got back to the majors with Toronto in 2004, but unfortunately did not fare significantly better.

John Lackey started for Anaheim.  He pitched six innings, giving up five runs (three earned) on seven hits and a walk and striking out five.

Shawn Wooten was the catcher in this game.  He never really did have a defined position.  He was used at first base more than anywhere in the majors, but he also caught, played first, and played third.  He actually started more games at DH than he did anywhere else.  He came up with the Angels in mid-August of 2000 at age twenty-seven but played in just seven games and started only one of them.  He was a part-time player for Anaheim through 2003, never getting more than 300 plate appearances.  He actually did pretty well through 2002, batting .312/.340/.464 in 343 at-bats.  It seems like that would've earned him more playing time, especially since he didn't have a big platoon split.  My first thought was that he was probably terrible in the field and didn't hit enough to be a DH.  That might be, but the Angels main DH in 2001 was Orlando Palmeiro, who batted .243/.319/.322.  It's hard to think Wooten wouldn't have done better than that.  Wooten fell off in 2003, though, batting just .243/.303/.349, and as he was now thirty the Angels let him become a free agent.  He signed with Philadelphia for 2004, but the National League is no place for a man without a position.  He was in the majors over half the season but got just fifty-three at-bats, batting .170.  He got one more at-bat with Boston in 2005, then his major league career was over.  He played in the minors a few more seasons, though.  In fact, I see that I've missed him in our Twins biographies, as he was a Rochester Red Wing in 2006.  He was in the minors for both San Diego and the Mets in both 2007 and 2008 before ending his playing career.  For his career, he batted .272/.314/.398 in 669 at-bats.  He has stayed in baseball as a minor league coach and manager, and most recently has been the batting coach of the Oklahoma City Dodgers from 2016-2017.  As one who remembers the days of the Oklahoma City 89ers, I find it a bit depressing that their AAA team is now boringly called the Dodgers.

Record:  The Twins were 54-40, in first place, leading Chicago by ten games.