MINNESOTA 2, CLEVELAND 0 IN CLEVELAND
Date: Saturday, September 13.
Batting stars: Cristian Guzman was 1-for-3 with a home run. Torii Hunter was 1-for-4 with a home run, his twenty-fifth.
Pitching stars: Kyle Lohse struck out nine in 7.1 scoreless innings, giving up six hits and a walk. Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.
Opposition stars: Jason Stanford pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on four hits and a walk. Rafael Betancourt struck out three in two shutout innings, giving up two hits. Jody Gerut was 2-for-4.
The game: Neither team even got a man to third base for five innings. Doug Mientkiewicz hit a two-out double in the first. Travis Hafner hit a two-out single in the second and went to second on a wild pitch. Those were the only players to even reach second base in the first five innings.
Guzman put that all to rest by leading off the sixth with a home run, the first home run he had hit all season. In the seventh, Hunter homered with one out to make it 2-0 Twins.
That was all the Twins would need. The Indians put men on first and second with two out in the seventh and with one out in the eighth, but did not score either inning.
WP: Lohse (13-11). LP: Stanford (0-2). S: Guardado (35).
Notes: Shannon Stewart was in left and Jacque Jones in right. Lew Ford replaced Jones in right in the fifth inning--presumably Jones injured himself in the prior half-inning trying to break up a double play. He would pinch-hit in the next game and be back in the lineup after that, although he was often removed late in the game. Dustan Mohr then replaced Ford in the ninth. Michael Restovich pinch-ran for Matthew LeCroy in the eighth.
Ford was 0-for-1 and was batting .327. Stewart was 1-for-4 and was batting .312. Mientkiewicz was 1-for-3 and was batting .306. Jones was 1-for-2 and was batting .302. A. J. Pierzynski was 0-for-3 and was batting .301.
Lohse had been mediocre-to-poor since mid-June, but he came up big in this game. His game score of 74 was his highest since May 8 and his first over 60 since June 11. In a pennant race where every game counts, he chose the right time to have an excellent game.
LaTroy Hawkins retired both men he faced to drop his ERA to 1.90. Guardado lowered his ERA to 2.90.
This was the fifth start of Jason Stanford's career. He did pretty well in a small sample size in 2003: 1-3, 3.60, 1.28 WHIP in 50 innings (13 games, 8 starts). He started 2004 with Cleveland and In two starts was excellent: 0-1, 0.82 in 11 innings, although with a 1.55 WHIP. He then was injured and was never the same pitcher. He had a couple of mediocre years in AAA with the Indians and got 26.1 more major league innings with the in 2007. He played for a few minor league teams in 2008, then his playing career came to an end. He came to the majors late and was 27 when he got hurt, so he probably wouldn't have been a superstar or anything. But he might well have been a useful pitcher if not for the injury.
The White Sox and Royals both won, so the Twins did not gain any ground on their closest rivals. On the other hand, they didn't lose any ground, either.
Record: The Twins were 79-69, tied for first with Chicago in the American League Central, 3.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.