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2003 Rewind: Game Fifty-five

SEATTLE 9, MINNESOTA 5 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Sunday, June 1.

Batting stars:  Corey Koskie was 2-for-3 with a walk.  A. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer (his sixth) and a double.  Jacque Jones was 1-for-5 with a home run, his sixth.  Lew Ford was 1-for-1 with a home run.

Pitching stars:  Tony Fiore pitched five innings of relief, giving up two runs on three hits and no walks and striking out three.  J. C. Romero pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.  Eddie Guardado struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Edgar Martinez was 4-for-5 with a home run (his fourteenth), a double, three runs, and two RBIs.  Greg Colbrunn was 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs.  Bret Boone was 2-for-5 with a home run (his fifteenth), two runs, and two RBIs.  Mike Cameron was 2-for-5.

The game:  The Mariners scored six runs in the first inning before anyone was out.  Oddly enough, Brad Radke was not the Twins' starting pitcher.  They started the game with five singles:  Randy Winn, Carlos Guillen, Boone, Martinez, and Cameron all singled.  Colbrunn then hit a two-run triple and Jeff Cirillo singled, bringing the score to 6-0.  Jones led off the bottom of the first with a home run, but Boone led off the second with a home run, making the score 7-1.

To the Twins' credit, they battled to try to make a game of it.  In the second Doug Mientkiewicz doubled and Pierzynski hit a two-run homer, making it 7-3.  In the third, singles by Cristian Guzman and Koskie and a walk to Torii Hunter brought the tying run to the plate with one out.  All the Twins could manage was a sacrifice fly, though, and it was 7-4.

That was as good as it got for the Twins.  Martinez homered it the fourth to make it 8-4.  In the eighth Martinez doubled, went to third on a fly ball, and scored on a sacrifice fly to make it 9-4.

The Twins got one more in the ninth.  With two out Ford pinch-hit for Luis Rivas and hit a home run, his first major league homer.  That brought the score to 9-5, and that's where it stayed.

WP:  Freddy Garcia (5-6).  LP:  Kenny Rogers (4-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  With the home run, Ford was batting .500.  Jones dropped his average to .327.  Dustan Mohr was 0-for-3 and was batting .315.

Ford was the only lineup substitute.

Rogers lasted just 1.1 innings, allowing seven runs on ten hits and no walks.  He struck out one.  He had a game score of seven, which was by far his worst game of the season.

Garcia pitched seven innings for the Mariners, giving up four runs on seven hits and three walks and striking out seven.  I remember him as being better than he was.  Not that he was bad or anything, but he was average to slightly above average for most of his career.  He started out really well, though, which may have skewed my memory.  He finished second to Carlos Beltran in Rookie of the Year voting in 1999, going 17-8, 4.07, although with a 1.47 WHIP.  He made the all-star team in 2001 and again in 2002.  2001 was his best year:  he was 18-6, 3.05, 1.12 WHIP.  He led the league in ERA, innings, and home runs per nine innings, the only times he ever led the league in anything except for 2005, when he led the league in wild pitches.  He finished third in Cy Young voting that year to Roger Clemens and Mark Mulder, and while I can't say that the voters were wrong it looks like his season was every bit as good as theirs.  For his career he was 156-108, 4.15, 1.30 WHIP and had a lifetime ERA+ of 107.  He appeared in 376 games, 357 of them starts, and pitched 2264 innings.  He was durable, pitching over 200 innings seven times.  Not a Hall of Famer or anything, but certainly a respectable career.

As mentioned above this was Lewwwwww's first home run.  He would hit 35 in his career, with a career high of 15 in 2004.

Ex-Twin Greg Colbrunn's triple was the last of his major league career.  He hit 12 of them, with a career high of three in 1999.

After playing so well for almost the entire month of May, the Twins had now lost four in a row.  They were swept at home, the first time that had happened since the Yankees series in April.  Luckily, second-place Kansas City was struggling, too, and had slipped to an even .500.

Record:  The Twins were 31-24, in first place in the American League Central, 3.5 games ahead of Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game Fifty-two

SEATTLE 10, MINNESOTA 6 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Thursday, May 29.

Batting starsJacque Jones was 2-for-3 with a home run, his fifth.  Luis Rivas was 2-for-4 with a double.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 1-for-4 with a home run, his fifth.  Torii Hunter was 1-for-2 with a home run (his eighth) and a walk.  A. J. Pierzynski was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his fifth.

Pitching star:  Johan Santana pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Carlos Guillen was 4-for-6 with two doubles, two runs, and two RBIs.  Edgar Martinez was 3-for-5 with two RBIs.  Bret Boone was 3-for-6 with a home run (his fourteenth), two doubles, two runs, and four RBIs.  Mike Cameron was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and a stolen base, his fifth.  John Olerud was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Ichiro Suzuki was 2-for-5 with a walk, a stolen base (his tenth) and three runs.

The game:  Seattle scored two in the first inning.  Suzuki led off with a single and scored from first on Cameron's double.  Martinez then hit a one-out RBI single to make it 2-0.

Jones homered leading off the bottom of the first to make it 2-1.  It stayed there until the fifth, when the Mariners struck again.  Suzuki again started the rally with a single, and Boone hit a one-out two-run homer.  With two out, Olerud and Cameron hit back-to-back doubles to increase the lead to 5-1 Mariners.

Mientkiewicz led off the bottom of the fifth with a homer to make it 5-2, but Seattle again added to its lead in the sixth inning.  Walks to Mark McLemore and Suzuki were followed by a wild pitch, putting men on second and third with one out.  Guillen singled in a run and Boone doubled in another, increasing the lead to 7-2.

Hunter led off the seventh inning with a home run, making the score 7-3.  The Mariners again added to their lead in the eighth.  Back-to-back one-out doubles by Guillen and Boone brought home one run and Martinez singled in another.  Olerud singled and Cameron walked, loading the bases.  With two out Mark McLemore singled home one more run, making the score 10-3.

The Twins got one back in the eighth when Rivas doubled and Denny Hocking singled.  They added two in the ninth to make the final score look better.  Dustan Mohr doubled and Pierzynski hit a two-run homer, bringing us to the final score of 10-6.

WP:  Gil Meche (7-2).  LP:  Brad Radke (5-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  Kielty was again at DH.

Lewwwwwww Ford made his major league debut in this game, replacing Hunter in center field in the eighth inning.  He had his first major league at-bat in the ninth and lined a single to right.

Hocking pinch-hit for Jones in the eighth and stayed in the game in left field.  Matthew LeCroy pinch-hit for Kielty in the eighth.

Jones raised his average to .339.  Mohr was 1-for-4 and was batting .314.  LeCroy was 0-for-1 and was batting .300.

Radke pitched five innings, giving up five runs on eleven hits and no walks and striking out three.  His ERA was 5.71, as he continued to struggle.  Tony Fiore allowed two runs in one-third of an inning, raising his ERA to 5.55.

Juan Rincon allowed three runs in two innings, raising his ERA to 2.31.  Santana lowered his ERA to 2.75.  It was the first time in five games that he had not given up a run.

The Twins batted 1.000 with men in scoring position.  Unfortunately, that was only 2-for-2.

Gil Meche started for Seattle and pitched seven innings, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk and striking out four.

Coming into this game, Shigetoshi Hasegawa had allowed only one earned run all season (27.2 innings).  He allowed two in the ninth here, raising his ERA to 0.94.

The loss snapped a four-game winning streak by the Twins.

Record:  The Twins were 31-21, in first place in the American League Central, 4.5 games ahead of Kansas City.

Happy Birthday–August 12

Christy Mathewson (1880)
Ray Schalk (1892)
Harlond Clift (1912)
Fred Hutchinson (1919)
Bob Buhl (1928)
Kevin Cooney (1950)
Matt Clement (1974)
Lew Ford (1976)
Zach Cosart (1985)
Chris Owings (1991)

A notoriously bad hitter, even for a pitcher, Bob Buhl had a lifetime average of .089 and went the entire 1962 season without getting a hit (0-for-70).  Oddly, he equaled his career high in walks that year with six, which goes to show something or other.

Kevin Cooney was an eleventh round draft choice of the Twins in 1972.  He pitched in the Twins’ organization for two seasons, then a shoulder injury ended his playing career.  He then became a college baseball coach.  He was the head coach at Montclair State from 1984-1987 and at Florida Atlantic from 1988-2008.

We would like to wish a happy birthday to MagUidhir's niece and nephew.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–August 12