MINNESOTA 3, DETROIT 0 IN DETROIT
Date: Thursday, April 3.
Batting stars: Corey Koskie was 2-for-4 with a triple and a double. A. J. Pierzynski was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk.
Pitching stars: Kyle Lohse pitched eight shutout innings, giving up two hits and no walks and striking out five. Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit and striking out one.
Opposition stars: Adam Bernero pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits and one walk and striking out one. Omar Infante was 1-for-3 with a double.
The game: With one out in the first inning Cristian Guzman tripled and scored on a ground out to give the Twins a 1-0 lead. With two out in the fourth, Koskie tripled and scored on a Bobby Kielty single.
Meanwhile, the Tigers did not have a baserunner for the first five innings. The streak ended with one out in the sixth when Infante doubled, but he did not advance past second. They got another hit in the seventh when Dmitri Young got a one-out single.
The Twins added a run in the eighth when Jacque Jones and Torii Hunter walked, Jones stole third, and Koskie hit into a force out to bring home a run. Shane Halter hit a two-out single in the ninth and stole second (one suspects hometown scoring in giving him a stolen base rather than defensive indifference), but Bobby Higginson flied out to end the game.
WP: Lohse (1-0). LP: Bernero (0-1). S: Guardado (1).
Notes: Chris Gomez was at second base in place of Luis Rivas. Kielty was the DH. He had the second-most games at DH on the team, behind Matthew LeCroy.
Denny Hocking pinch-ran for Koskie in the eighth and remained in the game at third base.
Small sample size stats are fun. Koskie was batting .571 with an OPS of 1.143. Pierzynski was batting .400 with an OPS of 1.335. Hocking was batting .333 with an OPS of 1.000.
As with Joe Mays, Kyle Lohse could not sustain the success he had in this first game. By game scores, this would be the best game he would pitch all season, narrowly beating out a complete game shutout against Tampa Bay in May.
This was also one of the best games Adam Bernero would pitch all season, even if he didn't get rewarded for it. For the season he would go 1-14 with a 5.87 ERA. He would also be traded to Colorado for Ben Petrick. Overall, he pitched in parts of seven major league seasons and never had a good one. His career record was 11-27, 5.91, 1.50 WHIP in 376 innings. He appeared in 150 games, starting 37 of them. He was pretty good in AAA--25-25, 3.39, 1.27--which is probably why he kept getting chances. But for whatever reason, he simply could not make the jump to the majors.
We probably got excited about the Twins sweeping this opening series, especially with the Twins pitchers giving Detroit just two runs. We could not have realized just how awful the Tigers would turn out to be. On the other hand, Detroit fans probably realized very quickly that getting swept at home, and being outscored 14-2, was a sign that this was going to be a long season.
Record: The Twins were 3-0, tied for first place in the American League Central with Kansas City.