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2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-five

MINNESOTA 4, CHICAGO 1 IN CHICAGO

Date:  Wednesday, September 10.

Batting stars:  Matthew LeCroy was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Shannon Stewart was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Johan Santana pitched 6.1 innings, giving up one run on six hits and one walk and striking out six.  LaTroy Hawkins pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, walking one and striking out one.  Eddie Guardado struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Jon Garland pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and two walks and striking out five.  Magglio Ordonez was 1-for-2 with a walk.

The game:  The White Sox had two on with two out in the first and did not score.  That was really the only significant threat until the fifth, when the Twins broke the scoreless tie.  Torii Hunter and Corey Koskie singled and A. J. Pierzynski was hit by a pitch, loading the bases.  The Twins didn't get a big inning out of it, but sacrifice flies by Cristian Guzman and Stewart put them up 2-0.

In the sixth singles by Tony Graffanino and Frank Thomas were followed by an Ordonez sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 2-1.  The Twins got the run back in the seventh when Koskie walked, went to second on a ground out, and scored on Stewart's single.

Chicago put men on second and third with one out in the seventh but did not score.  The Twins got an insurance run in the eighth when Doug Mientkiewicz walked and scored from first on LeCroy's double.  The White Sox did not get a hit after that and the Twins won 4-1.

WP:  Santana (10-3).  LP:  Jon Garland (11-11).  S:  Guardado (34).

Notes:  Luis Rivas was back at second base.  Stewart was in left and Jacque Jones in right.  Dustan Mohr pinch-ran for LeCroy in the eighth.

Stewart raised his average to .313.  Mientkiewicz was 1-for-3 and was batting .305.  Jones was 0-for-4 and was batting .303.  Pierzynski was 1-for-3 and was batting .302.

Hawkins lowered his ERA to 1.92.  Guardado got under three at 2.95.

Having lost the first two of the four game series, the Twins needed this win.  They also needed Santana to come up big yet again, and he certainly did.  The bullpen, which had been solid all season, was solid again, too.

The win stopped the Twins' two-game losing streak.  They would have a chance to split the series and move back into a tie for first the next day.  Kansas City won, as they tried to stay in the race.

Record:  The Twins were 77-68, in second place in the American League Central, one game behind Chicago.  They were 2.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty

MINNESOTA 10, TEXAS 7 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Friday, September 5.

Batting stars:  A. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-3 with two runs.  Cristian Guzman was 2-for-4 with a triple and four RBIs.  Jacque Jones was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his thirteenth.  Matthew LeCroy was 1-for-4 with a home run, his sixteenth.

Pitching stars:  Juan Rincon pitched three perfect innings, striking out two.  LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.  Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Michael Young was 3-for-4 with a grand slam, his thirteenth homer.  Jason Jones was 2-for-4 with a double.  Alex Rodriguez was 2-for-4 with a home run, his forty-first.  Shane Spencer was 2-for-5.

The game:  The Twins led all the way, but there were some uneasy moments.  Shannon Stewart led off the bottom of the first with a double, was bunted to third, and scored on a sacrifice fly to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  In the second Jones singled, Corey Koskie walked, Pierzynski and Guzman had RBI singles, and a sacrifice fly made it 4-0 Twins.

The Rangers got on the board in the third.  Three singles loaded the bases, a ground out scored one, and a wild pitch scored another, cutting the lead to 4-2.  But the Twins came roaring back in the bottom of the third.  Jones singled, Koskie walked, Pierzynski singled to load the bases, and Guzman brought them all home on a four-run triple-plus-error, putting the Twins up 8-2.  With Johan Santana on the mound, it looked like an easy win for the Twins.

But Texas had something to say about that.  In the fourth a double and two walks loaded the bases with one out.  Young then hit a grand slam.  Later in the inning Rodriguez homered, and the lead was suddenly down to 8-7.

But as happened so many times in this season, the Twins bullpen came in and shut down the opposition.  The Rangers could come up with only two singles after that, one in the eighth and one in the ninth, and neither man got past first base.  The Twins got some insurance in the sixth.  Rivas tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly, and LeCroy homered later in the inning.

WP:  Rincon (4-6).  LP:  Mickey Callaway (1-6).  S:  None.

Notes:  Stewart was in left with Jones in right.  Doug Mientkiewicz returned to the lineup at first base.

Stewart was 1-for-3 and was batting .312.  Jones was batting .306.   Pierzynski was at .304.

Santana's string of excellent performances came crashing to a halt.  He struck out six in four innings, but allowed seven runs on eight hits and two walks.

Hawkins lowered his ERA to 2.00.

The Twins scored three runs on sacrifice flies.  I have no idea what the record is--I'm sure it's more than three--but three by one team in one game is at least somewhat unusual.

This was the one season of Jason Jones' major league career.  He played in forty games and batted .215/.298/.355.  He had hit all through the minors, and continued to hit in AAA in 2004.  His total minor league numbers were .286/.375/.458, and those numbers are not skewed by huge numbers in the low minors or anything.  The Rangers didn't have a super outfield in 2003--yes, they had Juan Gonzalez, but they also had Shane Spencer and Ryan Christenson.  In 2004 their outfield was David Dellucci, Laynce Nix, and Kevin Mench.  He was a corner outfielder, which limited him some, but still.  There was obviously something the Rangers didn't like about him, and apparently other teams saw it, too.  He retired after spending 2004 in AAA at age twenty-seven.  It seems like he should've gotten more of a chance, but as we've observed before, no one ever promised that baseball or life would be fair.

It was the third straight win for the Twins.  Chicago and Kansas City both won, too, so the Twins did not gain any ground.

Record:  The Twins were 74-66, tied for first with Chicago in the American League Central, 1.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-five

MINNESOTA 2, TEXAS 0 IN TEXAS

Date:  Saturday, August 30.

Batting star:  Corey Koskie returned to the lineup and was 2-for-3 with a walk.

Pitching stars:  Johan Santana pitched six shutout innings, giving up five hits and no walks and striking out four.  Juan Rincon struck out two in 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit.  Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Mark Teixeira was 3-for-4 with two doubles.  Mickey Callaway pitched six innings, giving up two runs on five hits and no walks and striking out four.

The game:  The Rangers had men on first and third with two out in the first but did not score.  Michael Young had a one-out double in the third and Shane Spencer reached on a two-base error in the fourth.  Those were the only men to be in scoring position for either team in the first five innings.

In the sixth, however, A. J. Pierzynski led off with a single, Denny Hocking followed with a double, and Shannon Stewart delivered a two-run single, putting the Twins up 2-0.

And that was all the scoring in the game.  Teixeira led off the bottom of the sixth with a double but stayed on second.  Jacque Jones hit a two-out double in the seventh but had a similar fate.  Teixeira had another double with two out in the eighth and again was stranded.  The Twins put men on first and second with none out in the ninth, but again the score remained 2-0.  Texas went out in order in the bottom of the ninth.

WP:  Santana (9-3).  LP:  Callaway (1-5).  S:  Guardado (31).

Notes:  Hocking was at short in place of Cristian Guzman, who would not return to the lineup until September 2.  Jones was in left and Stewart in right.  Dustan Mohr replaced Stewart in right field in the ninth.

Stewart was 1-for-4 and was batting .313.  Jones was 1-for-4 and was batting .308.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 0-for-3 and was batting .301.

Santana lowered his ERA to 2.72.  He made six starts in the month of August and went 5-0, 1.07, 0.95 WHIP.  He struck out 44 in 42 innings, giving up 30 hits and 10 walks.  His ERA went from 3.49 to 2.72.

LaTroy Hawkins retired the only man he faced to drop his ERA to 2.09.

I remember Mickey Callaway as a manager and pitching coach, and of course he's been in the news lately for other reasons.  But I have no memory of him as a pitcher.  This was his first start as a Texas Ranger--he had been released by the Angels in late July.  Over half his major league appearances came in 2003--he appeared in 40 games, 23 of them this season.  He did not justify it:  he went 1-7, 6.68, 1.78 WHIP.  This was one of the few good games he pitched in his career, and he still didn't get a win for it.  For his career, he went 4-11, 6.27, 1.71 WHIP.  He made 20 starts in his 40 games and pitched 130.2 innings.  His only major league "success" came in 2002, when he made six starts for the Angels at the end of the season and went 2-1, 4.19.

The Twins had won three in a row and five of six.  The White Sox won and Kansas City didn't play (presumably a rainout), so the Twins moved into a tie for second place.

Record:  The Twins were 71-64, tied for second with Kansas City in the American League Central, a half game behind Chicago.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty

MINNESOTA 8, KANSAS CITY 1 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Sunday, August 24.

Batting stars:  Matthew LeCroy was 3-for-5 with three RBIs.  Shannon Stewart was 2-for-4 with a double, a stolen base (his fourth, a walk, and three runs.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 1-for-2 with a double and three walks.  Torii Hunter was 1-for-3 with a home run (his twenty-third) and a walk.

Pitching stars:  Johan Santana struck out ten in six innings, giving up one run on six hits and two walks.  J. C. Romero struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.  Juan Rincon struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Joe Randa was 2-for-4 with a double.  Desi Relaford was 1-for-4 with a home run, his eighth.

The game:  Relaford homered in the second to give the Royals a 1-0 lead.  The Twins got the run back on Hunter's homer in the bottom of the second.  The Twins took the lead in the third.  Walks to Stewart and Luis Rivas and a double steal, putting men on second and third with none out.  LeCroy hit an RBI single, Corey Koskie had a sacrifice fly, Hunter walked, and Jacque Jones delivered an RBI single to make it 4-1 Minnesota.  It went to 5-1 in the fourth when Stewart singled, Mientkiewicz walked, and LeCroy hit another RBI single.

Kansas City loaded the bases in the fifth but did not score.  In the bottom of the fifth Cristian Guzman singled, stole second, went to third on a ground out, and scored on Rivas' squeeze bunt to make it 6-1.  The Twins added two in the eighth.  A. J. Pierzynski singled and Stewart doubled, putting men on second and third.  Rivas hit a sacrifice fly and LeCroy had another RBI single to bring the final score to 8-1.

WP:  Santana (8-3).  LP:  Graeme Lloyd (1-4).  S:  None.

Notes:  Jones was in left and Stewart in right.  Dustan Mohr pinch-ran for Jones in the fifth and went to right field, with Stewart moving to left.

Stewart was batting .313.  Jones was at .308.  Mientkiewicz climbed back to an even .300.

Santana lowered his ERA to 2.85.  In his last five starts he had pitched 36 innings.  He had given up six runs (five earned) on 25 hits and 10 walks while striking out 40.

Royals starter Kevin Appier pitched just two innings, giving up one run on one hit and two walks and striking out one.  He was removed due to injury and would not pitch any more in 2003.  He had been signed by Kansas City in early August to bolster their rotation to make a playoff run, but he was able to make only four starts for them in 2003.

It was a needed win over a team ahead of them in the standings, but the Twins were still in third place as they headed west for a road trip.

Record:  The Twins were 67-63, in third place in the American League Central, 1.5 games behind Chicago.  They were a half game behind second-place Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Twenty-five

MINNESOTA 8, CLEVELAND 2 IN CLEVELAND

Date:  Tuesday, August 19.

Batting stars:  Jacque Jones was 3-for-4 with two doubles and a stolen base, his twelfth.  Cristian Guzman was 3-for-4 with two runs.  Luis Rivas was 2-for-5 with a triple.  Shannon Stewart was 2-for-5.  Matthew LeCroy was 1-for-5 with a three-run homer, his fourteenth.  Dustan Mohr was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his ninth.

Pitching stars:  Johan Santana struck out ten in eight innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and a walk.  He threw 100 pitches.  Grant Balfour struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition star:  Casey Blake was 4-for-4 with a two-run homer (his fifteenth) and a double.

The game:  It was scoreless for four innings, and the only serious threat came from the Indians.  They put men on first and third with none out in the fourth and had the bases loaded with two out, but did not score.  Cleveland got on the board in the fifth, however, when Coco Crisp hit a two-out triple and Blake followed with a two-run homer.

The Twins bounced right back in the top of the sixth.  Guzman singled and scored on a Rivas triple.  Corey Koskie was intentionally walked, but the strategy backfired as LeCroy hit a three-run homer to put the Twins ahead 4-2.  The Twins added another run in the seventh when Guzman got an infield single, went to third on an error, and scored on Stewart's infield single.  They put it out of reach in the eighth.  Doubles by Jones and A. J. Pierzynski plated one run and Mohr hit a two-run homer, making the score 8-2.

WP:  Santana (7-3).  LP:  Jason Davis (7-10).  S:  None.

Notes:  LeCroy was again at first base in place of Doug Mientkiewicz.  Stewart was in left, Mohr in right, and Jones at DH.  Denny Hocking pinch-ran for Koskie in the ninth and stayed in the game at third base.  Michael Ryan pinch-hit for Jones in the ninth.

Ryan was down to .500.  Stewart was batting .311.  Jones was batting .311.

Santana's ERA dropped to 2.92  Balfour went to 2.89.  It was Balfour's first game since July 12.

The Blake home run produced the only earned runs Santana had given up in his last three starts.  He had gone eight innings in each.  In 24 innings he had given up 14 hits, 5 walks, and struck out 23.  It appeared that he had shown he belonged in the starting rotation.

During the off-day on August 18, the Twins had dropped back to third place.  With this win, however, it was shaping up to be quite a three-team race.  A race of mediocrity, some might say, but a race nonetheless.

Record:  The Twins were 64-61, in third place, 1.5 games behind Kansas City.  They were a half game back of second-place Chicago.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Twenty

CLEVELAND 5, MINNESOTA 0 IN MINNESOTA (14 INNINGS)

Date:  Wednesday, August 13.

Batting star:  Jacque Jones was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Johan Santana struck out eight in eight shutout innings, giving up four hits and a walk.  LaTroy Hawkins struck out four in two shutout innings, giving up one hit.  Eddie Guardado pitched two perfect innings, striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Jason Davis struck out six in six shutout innings, giving up two hits and two walks.  Rafael Betancourt struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk.  Terry Mulholland pitched four shutout innings, giving up two hits and striking out two.  Ben Broussard was 3-for-5 with a double and a stolen base, his fourth.  Jhonny Peralta was 2-for-5 with a walk and a stolen base.  Jody Gerut was 2-for-6.

The game:  This is what you would call a pitchers' duel.  Neither team even put two men on base until the seventh, when the Twins got two-out singles from Jones and Torii Hunter.  Neither team got a man to third until the eighth, when Michael Ryan doubled and went to third when Cristian Guzman reached on an error.  That was the closest the Twins came to scoring:  they had men on first and third with none out.  But Shannon Stewart grounded out, Luis Rivas hit into a fielder's choice with Ryan thrown out at the plate, and Corey Koskie grounded out.

It remained scoreless until the fourteenth, when it all fell apart for the Twins.  Juan Rincon was in his second inning of work.  He gave up consecutive singles to Casey Blake, Gerut, and Ryan Ludwick, with the last one bringing home the first run of the game.  J. C. Romero came in.  A bunt moved the runners up, Tim Laker was intentionally walked, Travis Hafner was hit by a pitch to bring in a run, Peralta singled home two, and a ground out brought home the fifth run.  The Twins got a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fourteenth, but that was all.

WP:  Mulholland (2-2).  LP:  Rincon (3-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  Stewart was again in left, with Dustan Mohr in right and Jones at DH.  Ryan pinch-hit for Mohr in the eighth, with MIchael Restovich going to right field.  Denny Hocking pinch-ran for Jones in the ninth.

Ryan had his second consecutive pinch-hit hit and was batting 1.000.  Stewart was 1-for-6 and was batting .317.  Jones was batting .307.  Koskie was 1-for-5 and was batting .301.

Santana lowered his ERA to 2.96.  His game score of 81 was his best of the season.  He now had back-to-back eight-inning starts without giving up an earned run.  It's almost like they should've put him in the rotation sooner or something.

Hawkins lowered his ERA to 2.25.

By games scores, this was tied for Jason Davis' best game of the season.  He equaled his score of 72 of June 18, when he allowed one run in a complete game against Detroit.  For the season, he would go 8-11, 4.68, 1.33 WHIP.  It was the best season of his career, although he did have a decent year pitching out of the bullpen for the Indians in 2006.  For his career, he was 22-26, 4.82, 1.52 WHIP in 461 innings.  He appeared in 144 games, 56 of them starts.

After winning four in a row, the Twins had now dropped two straight and were falling back toward .500.

Record:  The Twins were 61-59, in third place in the American League Central, 3.5 games behind Kansas City.  They were two games behind second-place Chicago.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Fifteen

MINNESOTA 4, DETROIT 3 IN DETROIT

Date:  Friday, August 8.

Batting stars:  A. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-4 with a double.  Shannon Stewart was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his second.  Matthew LeCroy was 1-for-4 with a home run, his tenth.

Pitching stars:  Johan Santana pitched eight innings, giving up an unearned run on two hits and three walks and striking out five.  He threw 118 pitches.

Opposition stars:  Craig Monroe was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his twelfth) and a walk.  Mike Maroth pitched eight innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on seven hits and a walk and striking out two.

The game:  In the third, Pierzynski led off with a double and scored on a Michael Restovich triple.  A sacrifice fly made it 2-0.  Stewart then singled and stole second.  Luis Rivas reached on an error.  Stewart was caught on the front end of a double steal, but Rivas went to second and scored on Doug Mientkiewicz' single to make it 3-0 Twins.  LeCroy homered in the fourth to increase the lead to 4-0.

The Tigers got on the board in the fifth.  Monroe walked and Carlos Pena singled, putting men on first and second with none out.  An error brought home a run, but a double play took away the chance for a bigger inning for Detroit.

It was still 4-1 through eight, and it appeared the Twins had the game well in hand.  In the ninth, however, Dmitri Young hit a one-out double and Monroe followed with a two-run homer, cutting the lead to 4-3.  But a strikeout and a fly out ended the game with the Twins still on the right side of the score.

WP:  Santana (6-3).  LP:  Maroth (6-16).  S:  Guardado (26).

Notes:  Stewart was in left with Restovich in right.

Restovich was 1-for-3 and was batting .333.  Stewart raised his average to .320.  Pierzynski raised his average to .302.  Corey Koskie was 0-for-3 and was batting .300.

In his last two starts, Santana pitched fourteen innings and gave up three runs (two earned) on seven hits and six walks, striking out twelve.  His season ERA was 3.19.

The Twins once again edged one game over .500.  Would they be able to stay over .500 this time?

Record:  The Twins were 58-57, in third place in the American League Central, three games behind Chicago.  They were 2.5 games behind second-place Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Five

BALTIMORE 7, MINNESOTA 5 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Tuesday, July 29.

Batting stars:  Luis Rivas was 2-for-4 with a home run (his third), a walk, and three RBIs.  Shannon Stewart was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Michael Restovich was 2-for-4 with a double.

Pitching star:  James Baldwin pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Jay Gibbons was 2-for-3 with a home run (his sixteenth), a walk, and three RBIs.  Tony Batista was 2-for-4 with a home run, his nineteenth.  Jeff Conine was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs.  Luis Matos was 2-for-5 with a stolen base (his thirteenth) and two runs.

The game:  The Orioles jumped out to a lead in the first inning.  Matos singled and scored from first on Conine's double.  Gibbons hit a two-out two-run homer, and it was 3-0 Baltimore before the Twins even came to bat.

The Twins got on the board in the third when Stewart hit a two-out double and Rivas followed with a two-run homer.  Batista homered leading off the fourth to make it 4-2.  The Twins got that run back in the bottom of the fourth but missed a chance for more.  Torii Hunter led off with a double and went to third on A. J. Pierzynski's single, but Jacque Jones hit into a double play.  It scored the run but took the Twins out of the inning, leaving the Orioles ahead 4-3.

The Twins tied it in the fifth when Chris Gomez singled, was bunted to second, and scored on a Rivas single.  But Baltimore went right back into the lead in the sixth when Matos singled, stole second, and scored on a Gibbons single.  The Twins tied it again in the seventh when Restovich led off with a double and scored on Cristian Guzman's single.

But in the eighth the Orioles went into the lead to stay.  Singles by Conine and Batista put men on first and third and a wild pitch scored a run.  They added an insurance run in the ninth on singles by Larry Bigbie and Deivi Cruz and an error.  The Twins put men on first and second with none out in the eighth and with two out in the ninth, but did not score.

WP:  Hector Carrasco (1-2).  LP:  LaTroy Hawkins (8-3).  S:  Jorge Julio (24).

Notes:  Gomez remained at third in place of Corey Koskie.  Stewart was in left, with Restovich in right and Jones as the DH.

Matthew LeCroy pinch-hit for Jones in the eighth but did not bat.  A pitching change prompted Ron Gardenhire to then bat Todd Sears for LeCroy.

This was Restovich's season debut.  He had appeared in eight games for the Twins in 2002.  After this game, he was batting .500.  Stewart raised his average to .311.  Jones was 0-for-3 and was batting .310.

Johan Santana's transition to the rotation was not going as hoped.  In four starts, he had allowed 14 runs in 24.1 innings.  In this game, he allowed five runs on six hits and no walks in 5.2 innings.  He did strike out seven.

Baldwin lowered his ERA to 2.00.  Hawkins gave up a run in one inning and had an ERA of 2.63.

Stewart was staying hot.  In his last ten games he was 20-for-42 with four doubles, a home run, and five walks.  He raised his average from .289 to .311.

Baltimore players with Twins connections included Tony Batista, Hector Carrasco, and Rick Helling.

The Twins had lost three games in a row and continued to sink more deeply into third place.

Record:  The Twins were 51-54, in third place in the American league Central, 6.5 games behind Kansas City.  They were 3.5 games behind second-place Chicago.

2003 Rewind: Game Ninety-five

MINNESOTA 3, OAKLAND 2 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Friday, July 18.

Batting star:  Chris Gomez was 2-for-4 with a stolen base (his second) and two RBIs.

Pitching star:  Johan Santana pitched 7.1 innings, giving up one run on four hits and a walk and striking out seven.

Opposition stars:  Barry Zito struck out nine in an eight-inning complete game, giving up three runs (two earned) on three hits and four walks.  Terrence Long was 2-for-3.

The game:  There were no hits in the game until the bottom of the third.  Dustan Mohr reached on an error, went to second on a ground out, took third on a wild pitch, and scored on the first hit of the game, a Gomez single.

It stayed 1-0 through seven, with neither team getting a man past first base.  In the eighth, however, the Athletics tied the score.  Eric Chavez singled, went to second on Long's single, and scored on a two-out single by Billy McMillon.  But the Twins came right back in the bottom of the eighth.  Jacque Jones led off with a bunt single and was bunted to second.  Shannon Stewart was intentionally walked.  Gomez then delivered an RBI single.  A ground out scored another run, giving the Twins a 3-1 lead heading to the ninth.

Oakland did not go away quietly.  Miguel Tejada walked, and Chavez delivered a two-out double that cut the lead to 3-2 and put the tying run in scoring position.  But Ramon Hernandez flied to center, and the victory was preserved.

WP:  LaTroy Hawkins (6-2).  LP:  Zito (8-7).  S:  Eddie Guardado (21).

Notes:  Gomez was at third in place of Corey Koskie.  Shannon Stewart pinch-hit for Luis Rivas in the eighth, with Denny Hocking taking over at second base in the ninth.

Jones was 1-for-3 and was batting .306.

Santana lowered his ERA to 2.84.  Hawkins pitched two-thirds of an inning without giving up a run to make his ERA 2.47.

Zito had a fine year, but his won-lost record didn't show it.  He was 14-12, but with an ERA of 3.30 and a WHIP of 1.18.  He also had four complete games and one shutout.  His numbers were not all that far off his Cy Young year of 2002, but he received no votes at all in 2003 due to the won-lost record.

The Twins had won two games in a row for the first time since June 28-29.  In fact, this was only the third game they had won since then.

It seemed likely that Santana would stay in the rotation, as of course he did.

Record:  The Twins were 46-49, in second place in the American League Central, 6.5 games behind Kansas City.  They were a half game ahead of third-place Chicago.

 

2003 Rewind: Game Sixty-five

MINNESOTA 3, ARIZONA 1 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Friday, June 13.

Batting star:  Cristian Guzman was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Johan Santana struck out seven in seven innings, giving up one run on two hits and a walk.  LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless inning, giving up two hits and striking out one.  Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Brandon Webb struck out eight in six innings, giving up three runs on six hits and a walk.  Eddie Oropesa struck out two in two perfect innings.

The game:  The Diamondbacks got two on with one out in the first inning but did not score.  That was the only threat until the sixth, when the Diamondbacks got on the board.  Tony Womack was hit by a pitch, Alex Cintron singled, a bunt moved the runners up, and Junior Spivey hit a sacrifice fly to put Arizona ahead 1-0.

The Twins came back in the bottom of the sixth.  With one out Jacque Jones and Guzman singled.  With two out, Justin Morneau had an RBI single, and on the throw home runners went to second and third.  Torii Hunter then delivered a two-run single, making it 3-1 Twins.

And that was it.  All the scoring came in the sixth inning.  The Diamondbacks opened the eighth with two singles, and a bunt moved the runners to second and third, but a popup and a strikeout ended the inning.  Arizona brought the tying run to the plate with two out in the ninth following a strikeout/wild pitch, but a fly out ended the game.

WP:  Santana (4-1).  LP:  Webb (3-2).  S:  Guardado (19).

Notes:  Denny Hocking was at second base in place of Luis Rivas.  Bobby Kielty was in right field.  Morneau was the DH.

Morneau was 1-for-3 and was batting .545.  Jones was 1-for-4 and was batting .311.

Hocking was 0-for-3 and is batting .167.

Santana lowered his ERA to 2.32.  Hawkins went to 2.27.  Guardado went to 2.51.

Santana, after two excellent starts, was sent back to the bullpen for another month, finally joining the starting rotation to stay on July 11.  At this point in the season, the Twins' rotation was Brad Radke (5-6, 5.61), Kyle Lohse (6-4, 2.91), Kenny Rogers (5-2, 4.67), Rick Reed (3-6, 4.37), and Joe Mays (7-3, 5.21).  I understand that some of those guys are veteran starters.  But with a rotation like that, you can't find starts for Johan Santana?  Reports were that Santana was upset about being sent back to the bullpen, and one can certainly understand why.

This must have been one of the few good games Eddie Oropesa had in the majors.  He was with Philadelphia in 2001 and went 1-0, 4.74, 1.74 WHIP in 30 games.  And he wasn't a young guy they were hoping would get better--he was 29 in his rookie year.  In 2002, with Arizona, he appeared in 32 games and went 2-0, 10.30, 2.13 WHIP.  He was back with the Diamondbacks in 2003 and went 3-3, 5.82, 1.68 WHIP in 47 games.  He moved on to San Diego in 2004 and went 2-1, 11.00, 2.11 WHIP in 16 games.  Add it all together and you get career numbers of 8-4, 7.34, 1.86 in 125 games.  He did not make it back to the majors, but pitched in Mexico in 2005, in the Northern League in 2006, and in the Netherlands in 2007.  You'd think that would be the end, but he came back in 2014 to pitch in 12 games in the Netherlands.  He's a testament to the proposition that if you're a left-handed pitcher, someone will almost always give you a chance.  I also assume that he's probably a really nice guy, because if he was a jerk he wouldn't have kept getting chances, left-handed or not.

Record:  The Twins were 38-27, in first place in the American League Central, five games ahead of Kansas City.