KANSAS CITY 9, MINNESOTA 5 IN MINNESOTA (14 INNINGS)
Date: Thursday, May 15.
Batting stars: Cristian Guzman was 4-for-7 with a triple. Luis Rivas was 2-for-5 with two runs. Corey Koskie was 2-for-5 with two walks. A. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-6 with a triple.
Pitching stars: Juan Rincon pitched a perfect inning. LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk and striking out one. Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning and struck out one. Tony Fiore pitched a scoreless inning, giving up two hits.
Opposition stars: Mike Defelice was 2-for-3 with a triple and a double. Raul Ibanez was 2-for-7 with two runs. Desi Relaford was 2-for-7 with a stolen base, his sixth. Angel Berroa was 2-for-7. Carlos Beltran was 1-for-4 with a home run (his fifth) and three walks.
The game: Michael Tucker led off the game with a double and Beltran hit a one-out home run, putting the Royals up 2-0. The Twins played catch-up the rest of the day.
They got on the board in the third on two-out walks to Doug Mientkiewicz and Koskie and an RBI single by Todd Sears. Kansas City got the run back in the fourth when Ibanez singled, went to third on Ken Harvey's double, and scored on a sacrifice fly. The Twins cut the margin to 3-2 in the fifth on singles by Rivas and Guzman and a sacrifice fly. The tied it in the sixth when Torii Hunter singled and scored on Guzman's triple.
The Royals went back in front in the seventh. Relaford led off with a single and scored on Defelice's triple. A pair of walks loaded the bases with one out and a balk brought home a run to make it 5-3 Kansas City. The Twins got out of the inning with no further damage and got one of the runs back in the bottom of the seventh when Guzman tripled and scored on a ground out. With two out in the eighth Rivas and Guzman singled, Mientkiewicz walked to load the bases, and Koskie walked to bring in the tying run. Denny Hocking struck out to leave the bases loaded. Neither team scored in the ninth, so we went to extra innings.
This was back when men were men, and we didn't have any ridiculous "start the inning with a man on second" nonsense. The Royals put together a couple of threats. A hit batsman and a walk put two on with two out in the ninth. Defelice hit a one-out double in the eleventh. The Twins had men on first and third with one out in the twelfth, but a double play ended the inning. Kansas City had men on first and second with one out in the thirteenth.
The dam finally broke in the fourteenth. Joe Randa led off with a double and Beltran walked. Mike Sweeney singled to load the bases. Raul Ibanez then singled home a run. A sacrifice fly brought home a second, and RBI singles by Relaford and Berroa made it 9-5. The Twins could not rally in the bottom of the inning.
WP: D. J. Carrasco (3-1). LP: Johan Santana (2-1). S: None.
Notes: Sears was again at first base and Mientkiewicz in right field. Dustan Mohr was again in left in place of Jacque Jones. Bobby Kielty was the DH. It seems odd to me that Kielty, an outfielder, would be the DH while Mientkiewicz, a first baseman, was in right field. It's hard to second-guess a decision like that when we're this far removed from it, though, and Gardy may have had a good reason for doing it this way.
Denny Hocking pinch-ran for Sears in the seventh and stayed in the game in right field, with Mientkiewicz going to first base. Jones pinch-hit for Rivas in the twelfth. Chris Gomez came in to play second base in the thirteenth.
Jones was 0-for-1 and was batting .338. Hocking was 0-for-2 and was batting .087.
Kenny Rogers started for the Twins and pitched 6.1 innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on seven hits and a walk and striking out six. J. C. Romero did not give up a run in two-thirds of an inning to make his ERA 3.38. Rincon's ERA was 1.37. Hawkins' ERA was 1.53. Guardado's ERA was 1.72. Johan Santana was charged with all four fourteenth-inning runs in his third inning of work, making his ERA 2.56. Fiore lowered his ERA to 6.16.
Miguel Ascencio started for the Royals. He pitched 5.1 innings, giving up three runs on five hits and three walks and striking out five.
Both starting catchers hit a triple in this game. I don't know how often that's happened, but it certainly seems unusual. Pierzynski had three triples in 2003 and twenty-four for his career. It was Defelice's only triple of the season and one of nine he had in his career.
I had remembered Joe Randa as something of a Twins-killer, but he really wasn't. His career numbers against them are .275/.315/.404, not terrible but nothing special, either. Those are actually below his overall career numbers of .284/.339/.426.
The battle of the top two teams in the division was evenly split, so the Twins remained where they had been before the series.
Record: The Twins were 22-18, in second place in the American League Central, 2.5 games behind Kansas City.