Tag Archives: losing streak

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-Four

CHICAGO 8, MINNESOTA 6 IN CHICAGO

Date:  Tuesday, September 9.

Batting stars:  Corey Koskie was 3-for-3 with a double, two walks, and two runs.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-4.

Pitching star:  Jesse Orosco pitched a scoreless inning despite giving up a hit and two walks.  He struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Carlos Lee was 3-for-4 with a home run (his twenty-eighth), a double, a stolen base (his seventeenth), two runs, and two RBIs.  Joe Crede was 2-for-4 with a double.  Magglio Ordonez was 2-for-5 with a home run (his twenty-seventh), two runs, and two RBIs.  Roberto Alomar was 1-for-4 with a home run (his fifth) and a walk.  Mark Buehrle pitched six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and three walks and striking out two.

The game:  The White Sox opened the scoring in the second inning.  Lee singled and Paul Konerko walked, putting two men on with one out.  Crede doubled home a run, a sacrifice fly brought in another, and Tony Graffanino singled in a third to make it 3-0 Chicago.

The Twins got back into it in the fourth.  Mientkiewicz and Koskie singled, Torii Hunter had an RBI double, and a ground out cut the lead to 3-2.  It went to 4-2 in the fifth when Ordonez homered.  The Twins had three baserunners in the sixth, but did not score because they lost two runners on the bases.

The White Sox took control in the seventh.  The first two batters went out, but then Alomar homered, Frank Thomas doubled, Ordonez had an RBI single, and Lee hit a two-run homer to give Chicago an 8-2 lead.

The Twins loaded the bases in the eighth but didn't score.  It cost them, because they did get back into the game in the ninth.  Lew Ford led off with a double, Denny Hocking had an RBI triple, and Justin Morneau drove in a run with a single.  With one out, walks to Koskie and Hunter loaded the bases.  A sacrifice fly made it 8-5 and Jacque Jones singled.  It was 8-6 with the tying run on base and the winning run at bat in Michael Cuddyer.  He struck out, however, and the game was over.

WP:  Buehrle (12-13).  LP:  Carlos Pulido (0-1).  S:  Tom Gordon (11).

Notes:  Chris Gomez was at second base in the continuing absence of Luis Rivas.  Shannon Stewart was in left with Dustan Mohr in right.

The Twins used five pinch-hitters.  Michael Ryan pinch-hit for Gomez in the seventh, with Hocking going in to play second base.  Cuddyer pinch-hit for Cristian Guzman in the eighth and stayed in the game at second base, with Hocking moving to short.  Ford pinch-hit for Stewart in the ninth.  Morneau pinch-hit for Mientkiewicz in the ninth.  Jones pinch-hit for Mohr in the ninth.

Ryan was 0-for-1 and was batting .375.  Ford was 1-for-1 and was batting .333.  Stewart was 0-for-3 and was batting .311.  Mientkiewicz was batting .305.  Jones was 1-for-1 and was batting .305.  A. J. Pierzynski was 1-for-3 and was batting .302.

With various Twins starters either injured or ineffective, the Twins turned to Pulido for the start in this game.  He pitched three innings, allowing three runs on four hits and two walks and striking out one.  His ERA was 2.38.  Rick Reed came in and pitched three solid innings but fell apart in his fourth inning, so his line is 3.2 innings, three runs, four hits, and a walk.  His ERA was 5.08.  Orosco's scoreless inning lowered his ERA to 7.47.

The Twins scored their runs in the ninth off Jose Paniagua.  This was his only major league appearance in 2003 and the last of his career.  A sad way to end:  one-third of an inning, four runs, three hits, one walk.  He continued to pitch for several more years--in the minors, in winter ball, in independent ball, in foreign countries--not ending his playing career until 2008.  In his major league career, he went 18-21, 4.49, 1.52 WHIP.  He pitched 357 innings in 270 games (14 starts).

It came as a surprise to me that Carlos Lee had 125 stolen bases in his career.  He had 18 in 2003, one shy of his career mark of 19 in 2006.  He had double-digit stolen bases in seven seasons.

The Twins had dropped two in a row to the division leaders.  Kansas City lost again, so the Twins had no worries about dropping to third.

Record:  The Twins were 76-68, in second place in the American League Central, two games behind Chicago.  They were 2.5 games ahead of third-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-three

ANAHEIM 8, MINNESOTA 3 IN ANAHEIM

Date:  Sunday, July 13.

Batting starsA. J. Pierzynski was 3-for-4.  Torii Hunter was 2-for-3 with a home run (his fourteenth), a walk, and two runs.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-4.  Chris Gomez was 2-for-5 with a triple.

Pitching star:  Juan Rincon struck out four in three shutout innings, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Benji Gil was 2-for-3.  Garret Anderson was 2-for-4 with a home run (his twenty-second), a stolen base (his fifth), and two runs.  Bengie Molina was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.  Troy Glaus was 2-for-4 with two runs.  John Lackey pitched six innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and two walks and striking out five.

The game:  The Twins got a pair of one-out singles in the second, but a double play took them out of the inning.  The Angels then got on the board in the third when Adam Kennedy walked, was bunted to second, and scored on a Scott Spiezio double.

The Twins took their only lead of the game in the fourth, when Bobby Kielty got a two-out single and Hunter followed with a two-run homer.  The lead lasted until the first batter of the next half inning, as Anderson led off the bottom of the fourth with a home run.  Later in the inning Glaus singled, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on Molina's double.  Gil followed with an RBI single, and that quickly it was 4-2 Anaheim.

The Twins stayed in the game thanks to Rincon's fine relief pitching.  They got closer in the sixth, when Mientkiewicz singled, Hunter walked, and Pierzynski had an RBI single to cut the lead to 4-3.  Hunter was thrown out trying to go third on the single, however, so the inning ended with the Twins still trailing by a run.  In the seventh, the Twins managed to get a walk and three singles and not score.  Justin Morneau drew the walk leading off the inning but was erased by a double play.  Luis RivasGomez, and Denny Hocking then got consecutive singles, but Rivas was thrown out trying to score on Hocking's single, so again the score remained 4-3.  The Twins put men on first and third with two out in the eighth, but again could not tie the score.

The Angels finally put the game away in the bottom of the eighth.  Singles by Tim Salmon, Anderson, and Glaus brought home one run.  Jeff DaVanon walked to load the bases, Molina singled home a run, a wild pitch brought home another, and a sacrifice fly brought the score to 8-4.  The Twins got a two-out triple in the ninth, but 8-4 was where it ended.

WP:  Lackey (7-8).  LP:  Kyle Lohse (6-8).  S:  None.

Notes:  Gomez was at short in place of Cristian Guzman.  Hocking was at third in the continued absence of Corey Koskie.  Dustan Mohr remained in left in the absence of Jacque Jones.  Bobby Kielty was in right.  Morneau was the DH.

Lew Ford pinch-ran for Morneau in the seventh and remained in the game at DH.  Matthew LeCroy pinch-hit for Ford in the eighth.  Guzman pinch-hit for Mohr in the ninth.

Ford was the only Twin with an average over .300, and he did not bat.

Lohse struck out four in four innings, but allowed four runs on five hits and a walk.  LaTroy Hawkins pitched just a third of an inning, but also allowed four runs.  His ERA jumped from 1.79 to 2.56.  He would eventually get it back below two, but it would take a couple of months.

This would be Kielty's last game as a Twin.  He would be traded to Toronto over the all-star break for Dave Gassner and Shannon Stewart.

There was probably no team happier to see the all-star break come than the Twins.  They had lost eight in a row and twelve of thirteen.  They had also finally fallen into third place.

Record:  The Twins were 44-49, in third place in the American League Central, 7.5 games behind Kansas City.  They were a half-game behind second-place Chicago.

2003 Rewind: Game Ninety-two

ANAHEIM 6, MINNESOTA 1 IN ANAHEIM

Date:  Saturday, July 12.

Batting star:  Denny Hocking was 1-for-3 with a home run, his second.

Pitching star:  Brad Radke struck out seven in 6.1 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on eight hits and a walk.

Opposition stars:   Jerrod Washburn pitched seven innings, giving up one run on five hits and one walk and striking out five.  Francisco Rodriguez struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up a walk.  Scott Spiezio was 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs.  Jeff DaVanon was 2-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base (his tenth) and two runs.

The game:  There was no score, and not much in the way of threats, until the fifth, when Hocking hit a one-out homer.  Radke had given up just three harmless singles through five innings, so it looked like the one run might hold up.  In the sixth, however, Spiezio reached third on a single-plus-error and scored on a Troy Glaus double, tying the score.

The Angels took control in the seventh.  DaVanon and Adam Kennedy opened the inning with singles.  With one out, Darin Erstad tripled them both home to make it 3-1.  Consecutive singles by Spiezio, Tim Salmon, and Garret Anderson increased the lead to 5-1, and there it stayed.  The Twins had only one hit after Hocking's home run, a one-out single by Doug Mientkiewicz in the sixth.

WP:  Washburn (8-9).  LP:  Radke (5-9).  S:  None.

Notes:  Chris Gomez was at short in place of Cristian Guzman, who may have been battling a minor injury.  Denny Hocking was at third in place of Corey Koskie, who was also injured.  Dustan Mohr remained in left in place of Jacque Jones, with Bobby Kielty in right.

Matthew LeCroy was 1-for-4 and was batting .301.

Radke's ERA came down to 5.49.  J. C. Romero gave up a run while retiring no one and had an ERA of 5.20.  James Baldwin retired both men he faced and had an ERA of 2.70.

This was Rodriguez' rookie season, although he'd appeared in five games in 2002.  The Angels had a tremendous bullpen:  closer Troy Percival had the highest ERA of the bunch.  It was Brendan Donnelly (1.58, 1.07 WHIP); Ben Weber (2.69, 1.32); Scot Shields (2.85, 1.19), Rodriguez (3.03, 0.99), and Percival (3.47, 1.14).  Plus, the had Scott Schoeneweis (3.96, 1.22) in long relief, and in September they called up Derrick Turnbow (0.59, 0.65).  On the other hand, Washburn had the best starters' ERA at 4.43.  If you were going to beat Anaheim, you'd better get them early.

The Twins had lost seven in a row and eleven of twelve.  The only good news was that Kansas City wasn't playing all that well, and third-place Chicago was playing just about as poorly as the Twins.

Record:  The Twins were 44-48, 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 Ninety-one

ANAHEIM 5, MINNESOTA IN ANAHEIM

Date:  Friday, July 11.

Batting star:  Luis Rivas was 1-for-2 and was hit by a pitch.

Pitching stars:  Johan Santana pitched six inning, giving up three runs on five hits and no walks and striking out four.  Juan Rincon pitched a scoreless inning, striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Ramon Ortiz pitched six shutout innings, giving up three hits and four walks and striking out five.  Garret Anderson was 2-for-4.  Tim Salmon was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his fourteenth.  Scott Spiezio was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his ninth.  Brendan Donnelly pitched two perfect innings, striking out one.

The game:  The Twins got two on with one out in the third and loaded the bases with two out in the fourth, but could not get on the board.  They only had one hit in those innings, with the other baserunners coming from walks and a hit batsman.  The Angels got on the board in the fourth when Anderson singled, was balked to second, and scored on a Troy Glaus double.

The Twins had men on first and third with two out in the fifth, but again could not score.  In the sixth Darin Erstad doubled and Salmon hit a two-run homer to make it 3-0.  Anaheim got two more in the eighth when Erstad walked and Spiezio hit a two-run homer.  The Twins got only one hit in the last four innings, a one-out single by Rivas in the seventh.

WP:  Ortiz (11-6).  LP:  Santana (4-2).  S:  Donnelly (2).

Notes:  Chris Gomez was at short in place of Cristian Guzman.  Guzman entered the game in the fourth inning in the spot of Corey Koskie, due to injury.  Gomez moved to third base.  Koskie would not return to the lineup until August 4.  Dustan Mohr remained in left in place of Jacque Jones, with Bobby Kielty in right.  Denny Hocking was in center in place of Torii Hunter.

Matthew LeCroy was 1-for-4 and was batting .302.

Santana entered the rotation at this point, taking the spot of Joe Mays.  His ERA was an even 3.00.  Rincon's ERA went down to 3.33.

The Twins were again shut down by an average pitcher.  Yes, Ortiz was 11-6, but his ERA at this point was 4.41.  He'd had a fine year in 2002, going 15-9, 3.77, 1.18 WHIP, but in 2003 a shiny won-lost record hid the fact that he wasn't very good.  He wouldn't get better in the second half, either:  he ended the season 16-13, 5.20, 1.51 WHIP.  He would continue to pitch for another ten years, but he never had a good year in the majors again.

Anaheim's closer, of course, was Troy Percival, but Donnelly was really good, too.  He didn't give up an earned run until May 22, his twenty-first game.  This was the thirty-ninth game he'd appeared in, and he'd still given up a grand total of one earned run, giving him an ERA of 0.38.  He didn't keep that up, of course, but he ended the season with an ERA of 1.58 and a WHIP of 1.07.  This was the second of three saves he had for the season.  He made his only all-star team this season.  He was a fine reliever until 2007, when he blew out his elbow.  He tried to come back in 2008 and was terrible, but he bounced back to have a strong season in 2009.  That was his last good season, though, and after 2010 he was done.

The Twins had lost six games in a row and ten of eleven.

Record:  The Twins were 44-47, second in the American League Central, 5.5 games behind Kansas City.  They were one game ahead of third-place Chicago.

2003 Rewind: Game Ninety

TEXAS 9, MINNESOTA 4 AT TEXAS

Date:  Thursday, July 10.

Batting starsCorey Koskie was 3-for-5.  Denny Hocking was 2-for-2.  A. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-5 with two doubles.  Matthew LeCroy was 2-for-5.

Pitching star:  Joe Mays pitched a scoreless inning of relief, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  John Thomson pitched seven innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on eight hits and two walks and striking out four.  Michael Young was 3-for-4 with a three-run homer (his ninth), a double, and two runs.  Juan Gonzalez was 2-for-4 with two home runs (his twenty-second and twenty-third) and four RBIs.  Mark Teixiera was 2-for-4 with a home run, his thirteenth.

The game:  Young and Hank Blalock opened the game with singles, and later in the first Gonzalez hit a three-run homer to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead.  The Twins got on the board in the third when Cristian Guzman reached on an error and scored on a Doug Mientkiewicz single.  Gonzalez homered in the fourth to make it 4-1, but the Twins got the run back in the fifth when Mientkiewicz walked, went to third on a Koskie single, and scored on a ground out, cutting the margin to 4-2.

But it was downhill from there.  In the bottom of the fifth, Laynce Nix and Einar Diaz singled and Young hit a three-run homer.  In the sixth Teixeira homered and another run scored on a sacrifice fly.  It was 9-2 and the game was pretty much gone.

The Twins put two on in the seventh, but nothing came of it.  They did add two in the eighth.  LeCroy singled, Bobby Kielty walked, and an error loaded the bases.  A double play scored a run and Hocking singled home another, but that was all the Twins could do.  They got a two-out double in the ninth, but no more, and it ended 9-4.

WP:  Thomson (6-9).  LP:  Rick Reed (4-9).  S:  None.

Notes:  Dustan Mohr remained in left and Kielty in right in the absence of Jacque Jones.  Hocking pinch-hit for Cristian Guzman in the seventh and remained in the game at shortstop.

LeCroy raised his average to .303.  Koskie raised his average to .300.

Reed lasted 4.1 innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits and a walk and striking out three.  His ERA went to 5.03.

James Baldwin made his Minnesota Twins debut in this game.  He had signed with the Twins on June 10.  He would stay for a little over a month, then be released.  In this game he pitched 2.1 innings and gave up two runs (one earned) on two hits.

The Twins offense was again shut down by a mediocre pitcher.  Thomson would go 13-14, 4.85 in 35 starts for Texas in 2003.  He had been mediocre for Colorado in 1997 and 1998, but people made allowances for his youth and the thin air of Denver.  He was horrible in 1999, then was injured (or maybe he was injured and then was horrible), missed all of 2000, and came back to be fairly good in 2001.  He only had one good year after that, though:  with Atlanta in 2004.  Not that he was terrible; he just was, as we said mediocre.  For his career he was 63-85, 4.68.

The Twins had lost five in a row and nine of ten.  They're only consolation was that Kansas City and Chicago weren't doing much, either.  They had to feel like the all-star break couldn't come fast enough, but there were three games to play in Anaheim first.

Record:  The Twins were 44-46, in second place in the American League Central, 4.5 games behind Kansas City.  They were one game ahead of third place Chicago.

2003 Rewind: Game Eighty-nine

TEXAS 4, MINNESOTA 1 IN TEXAS

Date:  Wednesday, July 9.

Batting star:  Torii Hunter was 1-for-4 with a home run, his thirteenth.

Pitching star:  LaTroy Hawkins pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Joaquin Benoit pitched seven innings, giving up one run on four hits and three walks and striking out five.  Ryan Ludwick was 2-for-3 with a double.  Alex Rodriguez was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his twenty-second) and a walk.  Mark Teixiera was 1-for-3 with a home run (his twelfth).

The game:  Teixiera homered in the second inning to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.  The Twins did not mount a threat until the fifth, when Dustan Mohr hit a one-out double.  He got to third with two down, but was stranded there.  In the sixth, however, Hunter hit a two-out homer to tie it 1-1.

That was as good as it got for the Twins.  In the bottom of the sixth, Donnie Sadler walked and Rodriguez followed with a two-run homer.  In the seventh, Ludwick doubled and scored on a Michael Young single.  The Twins got a man to second in the seventh and eighth, but did not bring the tying run up to bat.

WP:  Benoit (4-4).  LP:  Kenny Rogers (7-5).  S:  Ugueth Urbina (26).

Notes:  Mohr remained in left and Bobby Kielty in right in the continued absence of Jacque Jones.  Justin Morneau was the DH.

The Twins had no one batting over .300 in their lineup.  The highest average was Doug Mientkiewicz at .296.

Rogers didn't pitch badly other than the home runs.  His line was seven innings, four runs, seven hits, three walks, and one strikeout.

Hawkins lowered his ERA to 1.79.

By stifling the Twins offense, Benoit lowered his ERA to 5.27.  A month later he would be out of the rotation.  By 2005 he became a full-time reliever, and he had some very good years out of the bullpen.  For his career, he was 14-19, 6.06, 1.58 WHIP as a starter.  As a reliever, he was 44-30, 53 saves, 2.06, 1.12 WHIP.  He only had one season when he was the closer, 2013 for Detroit, but was a valuable member of major league bullpens for several years.  I think we can say he found his niche.

The Twins had lost four in a row and eight of nine.  They fell below .500 for the first time since April.

Record:  The Twins were 44-45, in second place in the American League Central, 4.5 games behind Kansas City.  They remained one game ahead of third-place Chicago.

2003 Rewind: Game Eighty-eight

TEXAS 8, MINNESOTA 6 IN TEXAS

Date:  Tuesday, July 8.

Batting stars:  Luis Rivas was 2-for-3 with a stolen base, his eighth.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-5.

Pitching star:  Grant Balfour pitched three shutout innings, giving up a walk and striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Michael Young was 3-for-5 with two runs.  Kevin Mench was 2-for-2 with two doubles and a hit-by-pitch.  Todd Greene was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs.  Hank Blalock was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Rafael Palmeiro was 1-for-4 with a home run (his twenty-first) and a walk.  Juan Gonzalez was 1-for-4 with a home run (his twenty-first) and two RBIs.  Jay Powell pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and striking out one.

The game:  After a scoreless first, the Twins scored five runs in the second inning.  Bobby Kielty and Justin Morneau walked, Chris Gomez had an RBI single, and A. J. Pierzynski was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  A sacrifice fly scored a run, Lew Ford's double scored two more, and Mientkiewicz singled home another to give the Twins a 5-0 lead.

The lead lasted until the Rangers batted in the bottom of the second.  Palmeiro led off the inning with a home run.  The next two batters went out, but Mench and Mark Teixiera hit back-to-back doubles, Greene had an RBI single, Young singled and Blalock walked to load the bases, and Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run double to tie it 5-5.  Gonzalez homered leading off the third, and that quickly it was 6-5 Texas.

The Twins opened the fourth with singles, but nothing came of it.  The Rangers scored on a sacrifice fly to make it 7-5.  In the fifth, Greene doubled and scored on a Young single to increase the lead to 8-5.

The Twins did not threaten until the ninth.  Rivas led off with a single and stole second.  Mientkiewicz singled with one out to bring the tying run to the plate.  A sacrifice fly brought home a run, but it was the second out.  Torii Hunter walked to bring the winning run to the plate and a wild pitch moved the tying run into scoring position.  But Bobby Kielty lined to center to end the game.

WP:  Powell (2-0).  LP:  Kyle Lohse (6-7).  S:  Ugueth Urbina (25).

Notes:  Gomez was at short in place of Cristian Guzman.  Ford was in left in the continuing absence of Jacque Jones, with Kielty in right.  Morneau was the DH.

Matthew LeCroy pinch-hit for Morneau in the eighth.

Ford was 1-for-4 and was batting .314.  Mientkiewicz raised his average to .301.  LeCroy was 1-for-1 and was batting .300.

Lohse lasted just three innings and allowed seven runs on ten hits and a walk.  He struck out three.  Whatever magic he'd had early in the season was clearly gone:  in his last five starts, he had pitched 23 innings and allowed 29 earned runs.  His ERA went from 2.91 to 4.63.

The Texas starter was Tony Mounce.  He also pitched just three innings, allowing five runs on five hits and three walks and striking out none.  This was the only major league season of his career.  He made 11 starts and went 1-5, 7.11, 1.78 WHIP.  He was 3-10, 4.41, 1.56 WHIP in 149 AAA innings and 31-21, 4.26, 1.46 WHIP in 431 AA innings.  There was obviously something about him that the Rangers liked, but it's also obvious that he was just not good enough to be a major league pitcher.

The Twins had now lost three in a row and seven of eight.  Another loss would drop them below .500.

Record:  The Twins were 44-44, in second place in the American League Central, 2.5 games behind Kansas City.  They were one game ahead of third-place Chicago.

2003 Rewind: Game Eighty-seven

CLEVELAND 5, MINNESOTA 3 IN MINNESOTA (10 INNINGS)

Date:  Sunday, July 6.

Batting stars:  A. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-5 with two doubles.

Pitching star:  Brad Radke pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits and a walk and striking out four.

Opposition stars:  Matt Lawton was 3-for-5 with a home run (his fourteenth) and three runs.  Shane Spencer was 2-for-4 with a home run (his fifth) and three RBIs.  Milton Bradley was 2-for-5 with a triple.  Jason Stanford pitched five innings, giving up two runs on five hits and four walks and striking out one.

The game:  Bradley hit a two-out triple in the first but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a home run.  That enabled the Twins to take the early lead in the second on a walk to Torii Hunter and a single-plus-error by Dustan Mohr.  It went to 2-0 in the third on back-to-back two-out doubles by Bobby Kielty and Mientkiewicz.

The Indians got on the board in the fourth when singles by Lawton and Bradley were followed by a sacrifice fly.  The Twins loaded the bases in the fourth and put men on first and second in the fifth but did not score.  They did get one more in the sixth when Pierzynski doubled and scored on a Luis Rivas single.

Cleveland got that run back in the seventh when Casey Blake doubled and scored on a Victor Martinez single.  Lawton homered in the eighth to tie it 3-3.  It stayed tied until the tenth, when Lawton singled and Spencer hit a two-run homer.  The Twins went down in order in the bottom of the tenth, and did not get a hit after the seventh.

WP:  David Riske (2-1).  LP:  Eddie Guardado (1-4).  S:  Danys Baez (20).

Notes:  Mohr remained in left in the absence of Jacque Jones, with Kielty in right.  Justin Morneau pinch-hit for Matthew LeCroy in the seventh and remained in the game at DH.

Corey Koskie was 0-for-5 and dropped to an even .300.

By game scores, this was Radke's best game since April 24.

LaTroy Hawkins gave up a run in two innings to raise his ERA to 1.84.

Cleveland used three players with Twins connections:  Lawton, Casey Blake, and Jack Cressend.

The Twins had lost two in a row and six of seven.

Record:  The Twins were 44-43, in second place in the American League Central, 3.5 games behind Kansas City.  They were one game ahead of third-place Chicago.

2003 Rewind: Game Eighty-four

CLEVELAND 4, MINNESOTA 1 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Thursday, July 3.

Batting star:  Matthew LeCroy was 2-for-4 with a home run, his eighth.

Pitching star:  Kenny Rogers pitched 6.2 innings, giving up three runs on six hits and four walks and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  C. C. Sabathia pitched a complete game, giving up one run on four hits and one walk and striking out five.  Shane Spencer was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.  Coco Crisp was 2-for-5 with a stolen base (his fifth) and two runs.  Jody Gerut was 1-for-4 with a home run, his ninth.

The game:  Crisp led off the game with a bunt single and scored from first on Milton Bradley's double to give the Indians a 1-0 lead.  The Twins put men on second and third with one out in the second, but a strikeout and a ground out ended the inning.  In the third, ex-Twin Matt Lawton and Bradley drew two-out walks and Spencer singled home a run to make it 2-0.

Crisp scored again in the fifth.  He had a one-out single, stole second, and scored on Spencer's single to make it 3-0.  The Twins put two on with two out in the fifth, but again could do nothing with it.  In the eighth, Gerut hit a leadoff home run to increase the lead to 4-0.

The Twins did not threaten to get back into the game.  Their lone run came on LeCroy's home run with one out in the ninth, but all that did was spoil Sabathia's shutout.

WP:  Sabathia (8-3).  LP:  Rogers (7-4).  S:  None.

Notes:  The Twins used their B lineup against Sabathia, if that's any consolation.  Tom Prince was behind the plate in place of A. J. Pierzynski.  LeCroy was at first base in place of Doug Mientkiewicz.  Dustan Mohr was again in left and Bobby Kielty in right, with Jacque Jones still out.  Lew Ford was in center field, with Torii Hunter as DH.

Ford was 0-for-3 to drop his average to .333.  Corey Koskie was 1-for-3 and was batting .305.

Grant Balfour made his season debut with the Twins in this game, striking out five in 2.1 innings.  He gave up one run on two hits and a walk.  It was not his major league debut--he had appeared in two games in 2001.  He was not a good pitcher for the Twins, but he would become one in 2008 with Tampa Bay and would make the all-star team with Oakland in 2013.  He didn't have his first good season until he was thirty--I guess he's an example of "sometimes it takes guys a while to figure it out."

Sabathia had 38 complete games in his career.  Ten of them came in 2008, and seven of them came in the half-season he pitched for Milwaukee.

The Twins had now lost four in a row and six of eight.  They were starting to be in danger of dropping below .500.  They were also in danger of dropping to third place.

Record:  The Twins were 43-31, in second place in the American League Central, 2.5 games behind Kansas City.  They were just one game ahead of third-place Chicago.