CLEVELAND 3, MINNESOTA 2 IN CLEVELAND (14 INNINGS)
Date: Sunday, July 27.
Batting stars: Doug Mientkiewicz was 3-for-5 with two doubles and a walk. Jacque Jones was 2-for-4. Luis Rivas was 2-for-5 with a double. Shannon Stewart was 2-for-7.
Pitching stars: Rick Reed pitched seven innings, giving up one run on six hits and no walks and striking out four. LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit. Juan Rincon pitched four innings, giving up one run on four hits and three walks and striking out one.
Opposition stars: Tim Laker was 3-for-5. Coco Crisp was 3-for-7. Casey Blake was 2-for-6 with two doubles. Jhonny Peralta was 1-for-6 with a home run. Jason Davis pitched nine innings, giving up two runs on ten hits and two walks and striking out four. Ex-Twin Jack Cressend pitched two innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.
The game: Lots of missed opportunities early. The Twins put men on first and second with one out in the first. The Indians put a man on second with one out in the first and had men on second and third with one out in the second. The Twins finally got on the board in the third, but missed a chance for more. Stewart led off with a single and Luis Rivas followed with a double, putting men on second and third with none out. They could only score once, however, and that was on a wild pitch which gave the Twins a 1-0 lead. Cleveland promptly tied it in the bottom of the third when Peralta led off the inning with a home run.
The Twins got the lead back in the sixth when A. J. Pierzynski led off with a double and scored on Stewart's single. They held the lead until the ninth, when the Indians tied it without getting a hit. Milton Bradley walked and Ben Broussard reached on an error on a bunt. Laker sacrificed the men to second and third, Ryan Ludwick was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Victor Martinez hit a sacrifice fly, tying the score 2-2.
The Twins got a man to third with two out in the tenth but did not score. The Indians loaded the bases with two out in the tenth but did not score. The Twins had a man on second with two out in the twelfth and did not score. Cleveland had men on first and second with one out in the twelfth and a man on second with one out in the thirteenth and did not score.
The game ended in the fourteenth. Casey Blake hit a one-out double and went to third on a ground out. Bradley was intentionally walked and took second on defensive indifference and Zach Sorensen walked. Laker then singled to left to bring home the deciding run.
WP: Rafael Betancourt (1-1). LP: Rincon (2-4). S: None.
Notes: Chris Gomez was again at third in place of Corey Koskie. Stewart was in right. Todd Sears was the DH.
Dustan Mohr replaced Jones in left in the eighth. I don't know if Jones was hurting or if it was simply a defensive substitution, but Jones did not miss any games. Justin Morneau pinch-hit for Mohr in the thirteenth, with Denny Hocking going to left.
Jones raised his average to .313. Stewart was batting .309.
Reed's game score of 65 is one that he topped only once in 2003, when he pitched a three-hit shutout of Kansas City in May.
Hawkins lowered his ERA to 2.50.
Cressend came up to the Indians on July 1 and had a tremendous half-season, going 2-1, 2.51, 1.14 WHIP in 33 games (43 innings). It seemed as if, at age twenty-eight, he had finally found something. If he did, though, he lost it again the next year. He went 0-1, 6.32, 2.04 in eleven games (15.2 innings) in 2004 and never made it back to the majors after that.
The Twins had three players on their roster, Mientkiewicz, Morneau, and Sears, whose primary position was first base. They also had Matthew LeCroy, who could play some first base. That's really not the recommended way to construct a roster.
With the loss, the Twins feel deeper into third place.
Record: The Twins were 51-53, in third place in the American League Central, 6.5 games behind Kansas City. They were 2.5 games behind second-place Chicago.