MINNESOTA 13, OAKLAND 2 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Tuesday, August 19.
Batting stars: Brian Buscher was 3-for-4 with a home run (his fourth), two runs, and five RBIs. Justin Morneau was 3-for-4 with two doubles and three runs. Brendan Harris was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Randy Ruiz was 2-for-4 with a walk, two runs, and two RBIs. Nick Punto was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk. Carlos Gomez was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his sixth.
Pitching stars: Kevin Slowey struck out twelve in seven innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on five hits and no walks. Brian Bass pitched two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk.
Opposition stars: Mark Ellis was 2-for-4. Kurt Suzuki was 1-for-3 with a home run, his seventh.
The game: Suzuki homered leading off the second to give the Athletics a 1-0 lead. It was all Twins after that. In the bottom of the second Jason Kubel singled, Buscher hit a two-run homer, Harris singled, and Denard Span tripled, giving the Twins a 3-1 lead. In the third Joe Mauer singled, Morneau had an RBI double, Ruiz hit a run-scoring single, and Harris had an RBI double, putting the Twins up 6-1.
Oakland got one back in the fifth on a run-scoring double by Jack Hannahan. In the fifth, however, Morneau doubled, Ruiz walked, Buscher had an RBI single, Harris hit a sacrifice fly, and Gomez delivered a two-run homer, making the score 10-2. In the sixth, Punto doubled, Mauer walked, Morneau singled to load the bases, Ruiz had an RBI single, and Buscher drove in two with a single, bringing the score to 13-2. The Twins apparently got tired of running around the bases at that point, because that's how the score ended.
WP: Slowey (10-8). LP: Sean Gallagher (4-6). S: None.
Notes: Punto was at second in place of Alexi Casilla, who was out for three weeks. That put Harris at shortstop--Punto played 61 games at short and Harris 55, with Adam Everett playing 44. Kubel was in left in place of Delmon Young, who was given the day off. That put Ruiz at DH.
The only position-player substitution was Mike Lamb pinch-hitting for Morneau in the eighth. He stayed in the game at first base.
Ruiz was batting .379 at this point (29 at-bats). He would finish at .274. Mauer was batting .324. He would lead the team at .328. Span was batting .318. He would finish at .294. Buscher was batting .314. He would also finish at .294. Morneau was batting .309. He would finish at .300. The Twins batted .279, which was third in the league. Texas led at .283.
Morneau led the team with 23 homers. Kubel was second with 20 and Young hit ten. The Twins hit 111 homers, which was dead last in the league. Chicago led with 235, more than twice the Twins' total.
Scott Baker was the staff ace, going 11-4, 3.45, 1.18 WHIP. Slowey did well, going 12-11, 3.99, 1.15. Nick Blackburn led in starts with 33 and went 11-11, 4.05, 1.36. Glen Perkins was 12-4, 4.41, 1.47. Livan Hernandez was 10-8, 5.48, 1.63. Francisco Liriano did well when he could pitch, but made just 14 starts, going 6-4, 3.91, 1.40. The only other starter was Boof Bonser, who was 3-7, 5.93, 1.48.
Joe Nathan had a tremendous year, posting an ERA of 1.33, a WHIP of 0,90, and 39 saves. Dennys Reyes had a 2.33 ERA and a WHIP of 1.19. Jesse Crain posted an ERA of 3.59 and a WHIP of 3.72. The weak link was Matt Guerrier, who appeared in 76 games but went 6-9, 5.19, 1.59 WHIP. He had started pretty well, but completely imploded in the last two months of the season, going 0-5 with an ERA over ten and a WHIP over two in 25 games. Of course, some responsibility has to go to Ron Gardenhire for continuing to send him out there when he clearly wasn't getting the job done.
The Twins were seventh in ERA at 4.16. Toronto led at 3.49, which was well ahead of second-place Tampa Bay (3.82). The Twins were also seventh in WHIP at 1.35. Toronto led there, too, at 1.24.
In addition to Suzuki, Oakland also used ex-Twin Rob Bowen.
Jack Cust was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. It seems probable that Jack Cussed.
Athletics starter Sean Gallagher was allowed to go five innings, allowing ten runs on eleven hits and three walks. They had used four pitchers for multiple innings over the last two games, so presumably Bob Geren just felt he needed some innings out of Gallagher whether he was getting anything accomplished or not.
I don't think I could've told you that the Twins once had a player called Randy Ruiz.
This was the first of a four-game winning streak and the sixth game of a stretch in which the Twins would win eight of nine.
Record: The Twins were 71-54, in second place in the American League Central, a half game behind Chicago. They would finish 88-75, in second place, one game behind Chicago after losing game 163,
The Athletics were 57-68, in third place in the American League West, 19.5 games behind Los Angeles. They would finish 75-86, in third place, 24.5 games behind Los Angeles.
Random record: The Twins are 51-48 in Random Rewind games. This is the first time they've been three games over .500 for some time.