DETROIT 5, MINNESOTA 2 IN DETROIT
Date: Sunday, July 24.
Batting stars: Shannon Stewart was 2-for-4. Joe Mauer was 1-for-4 with a home run, his seventh.
Pitching star: Matt Guerrier pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and a walk.
Opposition stars: Jeremy Bonderman pitched eight innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and two walks and striking out six. Magglio Ordonez was 3-for-4 with two doubles and a walk. Chris Shelton was 3-for-5 with two doubles. Curtis Granderson was 2-for-3 with a home run (his second), a triple, a walk, and two RBIs. Ivan Rodriguez was 2-for-4. Carlos Guillen was 2-for-5 with a home run, his third.
The game: With two out in the first, Shelton singled and scored from first on Ordonez' double, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead. The Twins tied it in the third when Michael Cuddyer tripled and scored on a Stewart single.
Detroit went back in the front in the fourth when Rodriguez singled and Granderson delivered a two-out RBI triple. The Tigers extended their lead in the fifth. Guillen led off the inning with a home run, Shelton followed with a double, and Ordonez had a run-scoring single, making the score 4-1. Granderson homered leading off the sixth, increasing the lead to 5-1.
The Twins did very little offensively from the fourth through the seventh. They put two men on with one out in the eighth, but a pair of strikeouts ended the threat. Mauer led off the ninth with a home run. Torii Hunter then singled and Jacque Jones walked, bringing the tying run to the plate. But Matthew LeCroy hit into a double play and Justin Morneau grounded out, and the game was over.
WP: Bonderman (13-6). LP: Kyle Lohse (7-9). S: Kyle Farnsworth (5).
Notes: Bret Boone was at second base in one of the fourteen games he played for the Twins. Luis Rivas started the season at second, but the Twins had lost patience with him by this point and he lost the job. Nick Punto played the most games at second, with 73. Rivas had 53, Luis Rodriguez 40, Brent Abernathy 17, Boone 14, and Michael Cuddyer 11.
Juan Castro was at shortstop. He was the regular there for the first half of the season, but at this point he was just about to lose the job to Jason Bartlett. Castro played a few more games at short, 73 to 68. Punto played 34 games there and Rodriguez 10. One of those ten is this game, as will be seen below.
Lew Ford pinch-hit for Castro in the eighth. Rodriguez then entered the game at shorstop.
Mauer was batting .311. He would finish at .294. The Twins did not have a .300 hitter unless you count players with fewer than 150 at-bats. The Twins batted .259, which was next-to-last in the league. Boston led at .281.
Jones led in home runs with 23, with Morneau right behind at 22. LeCory hit 17, Hunter 14, Cuddyer 12, and Stewart 10. The Twins were 12th in the league in home runs with 134. Texas led with 260.
Lohse pitched 5.2 innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on eleven hits and three walks. He struck out two. Johan Santana was clearly the staff ace, going 16-7, 2.87, 0.97 WHIP. Along with Brad Radke (9-12, 4.04, 1.18) and Carlos Silva (9-8, 3.34, 1.17), the Twins had three pretty good starters. Lohse wasn't awful as a fourth, going 9-13, 4.18, 1.43. Joe Mays was the fifth starter pretty much all season even though he was awful, going 6-10, 5.65, 1.56 WHIP. There were only three other pitchers who started games for the Twins, Scott Baker with nine, Francisco Liriano with four, and Dave Gassner with two. The Twins were fifth in the league in ERA at 3.71; Cleveland led at 3.61. They were second in WHIP at 1.23; Cleveland led at 1.22.
The Twins had a very good bullpen, with three relievers with ERAs under three, Joe Nathan, Jesse Crain, and Juan Rincon. Two more were under four, Guerrier and J. C. Romero. I know ERA isn't all that in evaluating relivers, but still, that's pretty good.
Chris Shelton had a couple of pretty good years as a part-time first baseman, batting .299/.360/.510 in 388 at-bats in 2005 and .273/.340/.466 in 373 at-bats in 2006. Despite that, the Tigers chose to go with Sean Casey (.296/.353/.393) at first base in 2007. Shelton spent the entire 2007 season in Toledo and never did get another real chance in the majors.
This game started a stretch in which the Twins would lose eight of nine.
Record: The Twins were 53-45, in second place in the American League Central, 11.5 games behind Chicago. They would finish 83-79, in third place, 16 games behind Chicago.
The Tigers were 49-49, in fourth place in the American League Central, 15.5 games behind Chicago. They would finish 71-91, in fourth place, 28 games behind Chicago.
Rewind Record: The Twins are 39-39 in Random Rewind games.