MINNESOTA 7, COLORADO 4 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Wednesday, June 11.
Batting stars: Corey Koskie was 4-for-4 with two doubles and a walk. Justin Morneau was 3-for-4 with a walk. Jacque Jones was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and two runs. Luis Rivas was 2-for-4 with a double. Cristian Guzman was 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs.
Pitching stars: Kyle Lohse struck out seven in six innings, giving up one run on six hits and a walk. LaTroy Hawkins struck out two in 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit. Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit and striking out one.
Opposition stars: Preston Wilson was 3-for-5. Jay Payton was 2-for-5 with a home run (his eighth), two runs, and two RBIs. Todd Helton was 2-for-5. Larry Walker was 2-for-5.
The game: Guzman singled, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on Morneau's single to put the Twins on the board in the first inning. It went to 4-0 in the third. Rivas led off the inning with a single, Jones doubled, Guzman delivered a two-run single, Koskie singled, and Torii Hunter knocked in a run with a ground out.
Payton homered leading off the fourth to cut the lead to 4-1. The Twins put two on with two out in the bottom of the fourth, but did not score. In the fifth, however, the Twins started the inning with consecutive singles by Koskie, Morneau, Hunter, and Doug Mientkiewicz, plus a wild pitch, taking a 6-1 lead.
The Rockies loaded the bases with two out in the sixth but did not score. The Twins added a run in the bottom of the sixth on doubles by Jones and Koskie to go ahead 7-1.
Colorado came back in the seventh. Charles Johnson walked, Juan Uribe hit a one-out double, and Payton singled to drive in a run. Helton also had an RBI single, and Walker delivered a two-out single, cutting the lead to 7-4.
But that was as close as the Rockies would come. They got a single in each of the last two innings, but did not bring the tying run to the plate.
WP: Lohse (6-4). LP: Aaron Cook (2-6). S: Guardado (18).
Notes: Morneau was again at DH. There were no in-game lineup substitutions.
Morneau made an immediate impact, going 5-for-8 in his first two games for a .625 batting average. Jones raised his average to .312.
Lohse lowered his ERA to 2.91. This was the last time it would be under three--within a month it would be over four and in about six weeks it would be over five. He sure kept the rotation afloat for the first two and a half months of the season, though.
Micheal Nakamura pitched again, so he started his career pitching in four consecutive games. I wonder if that's close to some kind of record. I'm sure it would take more time to figure that out than I'm willing to take, but if someone wanted to do the work, it would be appreciated.
Hawkins lowered his ERA to 2.35. Guardado cut his ERA to 2.60.
I had forgotten that there was a pitcher named Nelson Cruz. He pitched in parts of six seasons, 1997 and 1999-2003. He was pretty good for two of those seasons, going 5-2, 3.07, 1.27 WHIP for Detroit in 2000 and 3-3, 4.15, 1.17 WHIP for Houston in 2001. This was his last season, and he was not very good: 3-5, 7.21, 1.42 WHIP. He gave up a run in two innings in this game.
Despite going 3-for-5, Preston Wilson did not drive in a run in this game. I mention that simply because he led the league in RBIs in 2003, with 141.
Cook was the starter for Colorado. He pitched four innings, giving up six runs on eleven hits and three walks and striking out two.
Justin Speier finished the game on the mound for the Rockies. He is the son of Chris Speier, who played for the Twins briefly in 1984.
Record: The Twins were 36-27, in first place in the American League Central, 4.5 games ahead of Kansas City.