Tag Archives: Minnesota Twins

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-two

MINNESOTA 5, TEXAS 4 IN MINNESOTA (10 INNINGS)

Date:  Sunday, September 7.

Batting stars:  Michael Ryan was 2-for-3 with a home run (his third), a double, a walk, and two runs.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-4 with a walk and two RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Grant Balfour pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.  Rick Reed pitched two shutout innings, giving up a hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Gerald Laird was 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs.  Michael Young was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Alex Rodriguez was 1-for-4 with a home run (his forty-second) and two walks.

The game:  Rodriguez homered with two out in the first to put the Rangers up 1-0.  Ryan countered with a home run leading off the bottom of the first to tie it 1-1.  In the third, Texas opened the inning with three singles, loading the bases with none out.  A home-and-first double play gave the Twins hope of getting out of the inning, but an intentional walk to Rodriguez was followed by an accidental walk to Rafael Palmeiro, putting the Rangers back up 2-1.

The Twins tied it in the fourth when Torii Hunter hit a two-out double and scored from second on a wild pitch (Twins Baseball!).  They went ahead 3-2 in the fifth when Denny Hocking hit a two-out double and scored on Mientkiewicz' single.  Texas went back in front in the sixth when Mark Teixeira was hit by a pitch, Hank Blalock reached on an error, and Laird delivered a two-run triple to give the Rangers a 4-3 lead.

The Twins tied it in the seventh when Ryan doubled and scored on a Mientkiewicz single.  It stayed tied through nine.  In the tenth Mientkiewicz walked, Matthew LeCroy singled, and Jacque Jones reached on an error, loading the bases with none out.  Hunter then hit a sacrifice fly to win the game for the Twins.

WP:  Reed (6-12).  LP:  Francisco Cordero (4-7).  S:  None.

Notes:  Hocking was at second base in place of Luis Rivas.  Ryan was in left with Jones in right.

Lew Ford pinch-hit for Cristian Guzman in the seventh.  Chris Gomez came in to play short in the eighth.  Michael Cuddyer pinch-hit for Ryan in the ninth and stayed in the game in left field.  Justin Morneau pinch-hit for Hocking in the ninth.  Alex Prieto came i to play second in the tenth.  Michael Restovich pinch-ran for LeCroy in the tenth.

Ryan raised his average to .391.  Ford was 0-for-1 and was batting .321.  Jones was 1-for-5 and was batting .306.  Pierzynski was 0-for-3 and was batting .302.  Mientkiewicz raised his average to .301.

This was Prieto's first appearance for the Twins since August 2.  It was Restovich's first appearance since August 17.

Kenny Rogers started and pitched 5.2 innings, giving up four runs (two earned) on seven hits and three walks and striking out four.  J. C. Romero retired both men he faced to lower his ERA to 5.10.  LaTroy Hawkins struck out the only man he faced to lower his ERA to 1.97.  Reed lowered his ERA to 5.02.  This was his first appearance since August 17.

This was Laird's first career triple, and it came in his ninth major league game.  He would play 790 more games and hit eight more triples.  His season high was three, in 2007.

The Twins had won five in a row, eight of ten, and ten of thirteen.  Chicago and Kansas City both won, so there was no change in the standings.

Record:  The Twins were 76-66, tied with Chicago for first place in the American League Central, three games ahead of Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-one

MINNESOTA 5, TEXAS 2 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Saturday, September 6.

Batting stars:  Shannon Stewart was 3-for-5.  Jacque Jones was 2-for-4 with a double.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-5.  A. J. Pierzynski was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his tenth.

Pitching stars:  Brad Radke pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits and no walks and striking out four.  LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.  Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Shane Spencer was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.  Rafael Palmeiro was 2-for-4 with a double.  Ryan Drese pitched 3.1 scoreless innings of relief, giving up three hits and striking out one.

The game:  The Twins started the scoring in the second.  Jones led off the inning with a single and scored on Torii Hunter's triple.  With two out Stewart singled to put the Twins up 2-0.

The Twins added to their lead in the third.  Mientkiewicz singled and Matthew LeCroy walked.  A balk moved the runners up, a ground out scored one, and Pierzynski hit a two-run homer to give the Twins a 5-0 lead.

The Rangers had only one hit through the first four innings.  They scored in the fifth, however, when Mark Teixeira singled and scored from first on Spencer's double.  They added another run in the seventh when Laynce Nix doubled and scored on Spencer's single.

But that was it.  They got a hit in each of the last two innings but did not bring the tying run up to bat.

WP:  Radke (11-10).  LP:  R. A. Dickey (8-7).  S:  Guardado (33).

Notes:  Stewart was in left and Jones in right.  Lew Ford pinch-ran for LeCroy in the seventh.

Stewart raised his average to .314.  Jones went up to .308.  Pierzynski was at .304.

With Santana's short start yesterday, the Twins needed someone to step up.  As so often happened back then, the someone was Radke.  He got his ERA below five, this time to stay, at 4.93.  Hawkins got his ERA below two, also to stay, for the first time since July 13 at 1.98.

Dickey lasted just 2.2 innings, allowing five runs on six hits and three walks and striking out two.  He was also called for two balks in the game.  I'm sure that's nowhere near the record, but it is somewhat unusual.

The Twins were just 2-for-16 with men in scoring position.  They made the two count, though.

This has to be one of the best games for Ryan Drese in his career.  In 2003 he was 2-4, 6.85, 1.85 WHIP in 46 innings (11 games, 8 starts).  For his career he was 34-39, 5.31, 1.57 WHIP in 565.2 innings (105 games, 96 starts).  He wasn't any good in AAA either:  17-11, 4.68, 1.45 WHIP.  Teams obviously saw something in him to keep giving him chances, but whatever they saw did not translate into getting batters out consistently.

The Twins had won four in a row, seven of nine, and nine of twelve.  The Royals dropped both ends of a doubleheader, but the White Sox won.

Record:  The Twins were 75-66, tied for first with Chicago in the American League Central, three games ahead of Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty

MINNESOTA 10, TEXAS 7 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Friday, September 5.

Batting stars:  A. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-3 with two runs.  Cristian Guzman was 2-for-4 with a triple and four RBIs.  Jacque Jones was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his thirteenth.  Matthew LeCroy was 1-for-4 with a home run, his sixteenth.

Pitching stars:  Juan Rincon pitched three perfect innings, striking out two.  LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.  Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Michael Young was 3-for-4 with a grand slam, his thirteenth homer.  Jason Jones was 2-for-4 with a double.  Alex Rodriguez was 2-for-4 with a home run, his forty-first.  Shane Spencer was 2-for-5.

The game:  The Twins led all the way, but there were some uneasy moments.  Shannon Stewart led off the bottom of the first with a double, was bunted to third, and scored on a sacrifice fly to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  In the second Jones singled, Corey Koskie walked, Pierzynski and Guzman had RBI singles, and a sacrifice fly made it 4-0 Twins.

The Rangers got on the board in the third.  Three singles loaded the bases, a ground out scored one, and a wild pitch scored another, cutting the lead to 4-2.  But the Twins came roaring back in the bottom of the third.  Jones singled, Koskie walked, Pierzynski singled to load the bases, and Guzman brought them all home on a four-run triple-plus-error, putting the Twins up 8-2.  With Johan Santana on the mound, it looked like an easy win for the Twins.

But Texas had something to say about that.  In the fourth a double and two walks loaded the bases with one out.  Young then hit a grand slam.  Later in the inning Rodriguez homered, and the lead was suddenly down to 8-7.

But as happened so many times in this season, the Twins bullpen came in and shut down the opposition.  The Rangers could come up with only two singles after that, one in the eighth and one in the ninth, and neither man got past first base.  The Twins got some insurance in the sixth.  Rivas tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly, and LeCroy homered later in the inning.

WP:  Rincon (4-6).  LP:  Mickey Callaway (1-6).  S:  None.

Notes:  Stewart was in left with Jones in right.  Doug Mientkiewicz returned to the lineup at first base.

Stewart was 1-for-3 and was batting .312.  Jones was batting .306.   Pierzynski was at .304.

Santana's string of excellent performances came crashing to a halt.  He struck out six in four innings, but allowed seven runs on eight hits and two walks.

Hawkins lowered his ERA to 2.00.

The Twins scored three runs on sacrifice flies.  I have no idea what the record is--I'm sure it's more than three--but three by one team in one game is at least somewhat unusual.

This was the one season of Jason Jones' major league career.  He played in forty games and batted .215/.298/.355.  He had hit all through the minors, and continued to hit in AAA in 2004.  His total minor league numbers were .286/.375/.458, and those numbers are not skewed by huge numbers in the low minors or anything.  The Rangers didn't have a super outfield in 2003--yes, they had Juan Gonzalez, but they also had Shane Spencer and Ryan Christenson.  In 2004 their outfield was David Dellucci, Laynce Nix, and Kevin Mench.  He was a corner outfielder, which limited him some, but still.  There was obviously something the Rangers didn't like about him, and apparently other teams saw it, too.  He retired after spending 2004 in AAA at age twenty-seven.  It seems like he should've gotten more of a chance, but as we've observed before, no one ever promised that baseball or life would be fair.

It was the third straight win for the Twins.  Chicago and Kansas City both won, too, so the Twins did not gain any ground.

Record:  The Twins were 74-66, tied for first with Chicago in the American League Central, 1.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-nine

MINNESOTA 6, ANAHEIM 5 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Wednesday, September 3.

Batting stars:  Shannon Stewart was 3-for-5 with a double and three runs.  Luis Rivas was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his fifteenth.

Pitching stars:  Carlos Pulido pitched 3.2 innings of relief, giving up an unearned run on one hit and no walks and striking out two.  LaTroy Hawkins struck out two in 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up two hits.

Opposition stars:  Chone Figgins was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Shawn Wooten was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his sixth.

The game:  The Angels drew three walks in the first inning, loading the bases with one out, but did not score.  In the second, walks to Adam Kennedy and Wilson Delgado put men on first and second with one out.  This time, Figgins delivered an RBi single to put Anaheim up 1-0.  In the third, Scott Spiezio doubled, Bengie Molina hit an RBI single and Wooten blasted a two-run homer, giving the Angels a 4-0 lead.

The Twins got on the board in the fourth.  Stewart singled, went to third on a Rivas single, and scored on a ground out to make it 4-1.  The Twins really got back into the game in the sixth.  Cristian Guzman and Stewart started with singles and Rivas followed with an RBI single.  A walk to Corey Koskie loaded the bases and a pair of infield outs brought home two more runs, tying the score 4-4.

The tie lasted until the seventh.  DaVanan doubled with one out.  With two out he went to third on a passed ball, and he scored on a strikeout-plus-wild pitch, putting Anaheim up 5-4.

It was still 5-4 going to the bottom of the ninth.  The first two Twins went out.  Justin Morneau walked and Dustan Mohr pinch-ran for him.  Stewart then doubled down the left-field line and Mohr tried to score from first.  The throw beat him, but Mohr's slide knocked the ball from the catcher's glove.  Before it could be retrieved, Stewart had also scored and the Twins had an improbable 6-5 win.

WP:  Eddie Guardado (2-5).  LP:  Troy Percival (0-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  Matthew LeCroy was again at first base in the absence of Doug Mientkiewicz.  Stewart was in left, Michael Ryan in right, and Jacque Jones at DH.  Denny Hocking pinch-ran for LeCroy in the eighth and stayed in the game at first base.  Morneau pinch-hit for Guzman in the ninth and, as mentioned above, Mohr pinch-ran for him.

Ryan was 0-for-4 and was batting .350.  Stewart was batting .311.  Jones was 0-for-4 and was batting .304.  A. J. Pierzynski was 1-for-3 and was batting .302.

Grant Balfour started but lasted just 2.2 innings, allowing four runs on four hits and five walks and striking out three.  This was the only start of his major league career.  He had not started in the minors since 2000.  While he didn't pitch well, it must be admitted that he was put into a difficult position--a pitcher with little major league experience pressed into an unfamiliar position during a pennant race.  At least he can say his team was unbeaten in games he started in the major leagues.

Pulido's ERA remained at zero through 8.1 innings.  Hawkins lowered his ERA to 2.04.

Ramon Ortiz started for the Angels.  He pitched 5.1 innings, giving up four runs on six hits and one walk and striking out two.

I remember listening to the end of this game on the radio.  As I recall it, the Twins had never scored a run off Troy Percival in his nine-year career.  Third base coach Al Newman was asked during the post-game show why he had sent Mohr home when it looked like he had little chance to score.  He said something like "I thought there was probably less than a ten percent chance that he'd score, but I thought our chances of getting another hit off Percival were less than that, so I sent him."  The logic may be questionable, but you have to admit it worked, and it was a big win for the Twins in the pennant race.

Kansas City won, but the White Sox lost in ten innings, so the Twins moved up.

Record:  The Twins were 73-66, tied for first with Chicago, one game ahead of third-place Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-seven

ANAHEIM 10, MINNESOTA 2 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Monday, September 1.

Batting star:  Michael Ryan was 3-for-4 with a home run and a double.

Pitching stars:  None.

Opposition stars:  John Lackey pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits and three walks and striking out four.  Shawn Wooten was 2-for-4.  Bengie Molina was 2-for-5 with a home run (his fourteenth) and two RBIs.  Scott Spiezio was 1-for-2 with a grand slam (his fifteenth homer).  Garret Anderson was 1-for-5 with a home run (his twenty-ninth) and two runs.

The game:  Molina got the game's first hit, a home run, with two out in the second to give the Angels a 1-0 lead.  In the third, a strikeout-plus-wild pitch and two walks loaded the bases and Spiezio hit a two-out grand slam to make it 5-0 Anaheim.

The Twins got on the board in the bottom of the third when Ryan homered.  In the fourth, Corey Koskie walked and Matthew LeCroy singled.  A wild pitch moved the runners up and Dustan Mohr hit a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 5-2.

But that was as good as it got.  Ryan led off the fifth with a double and A. J. Pierzynski and Ryan hit one-out singles in the seventh, but nothing came of them.  The Angels put it out of reach in the eighth.  Anderson led off the inning with a home run.  Later in the inning a single and two walks loaded the bases and Wilson Delgado hit a two-run single to make it 8-2.  Anaheim added two in the ninth to bring the final score to 10-2.

WP:  John Lackey (9-13).  LP:  Kenny Rogers (11-7).  S:  None.

Notes:  LeCroy was at first base in place of Doug Mientkiewicz.  Denny Hocking was at short in place of Cristian Guzman.  Shannon Stewart was in left with Ryan in right and Jacque Jones at DH.

Mohr replaced Torii Hunter in center field in the third inning.  Hunter would start the next day but again exit early.  He would be back full-time after that.  Rob Bowen replaced Pierzynski behind the plate in the ninth.  Michael Cuddyer pinch-hit for Hocking in the ninth.  Chris Gomez pinch-hit for Stewart in the ninth.

Rogers pitched seven innings but allowed six runs on six hits and two walks, striking out five.

Ryan hit his first major league home run in this game.  He would hit five for the season and seven for his career.

This was the major league debut for Rob Bowen.  He would play in parts of five seasons, spending time with the Twins, San Diego, the Cubs, and Oakland.  He appeared in 216 games, had 378 at-bats, and batted .209/.300/.309.

This was Adam Johnson's first game for the Twins this season.  He gave up two runs (one earned) in one inning.  He would make one other appearance this season, and that would be the last of his major league career.

After climbing to within a half game of first place, the Twins had now dropped two in a row.  The White Sox were idle and Kansas City lost.

Record:  The Twins were 71-66, tied for second with Kansas City in the American League Central, two games behind Chicago.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-six

TEXAS 11, MINNESOTA 10 IN TEXAS

Date:  Sunday, August 31.

Batting stars:  Denny Hocking was 4-for-4 with a home run (his third), a double, a walk, two runs, and three RBIs.  Torii Hunter was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.  A. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Luis Rivas was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, a stolen base (his fourteenth), and three runs.  Matthew LeCroy was 2-for-5 with a walk and two RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Carlos Pulido pitched 2.2 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and striking out two.  Grant Balfour pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.  Joe Mays pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Hank Blalock was 4-for-5 with a home run (his twenty-fourth), a double, and three runs.  Alex Rodriguez was 3-for-3 with a two-run homer (his fortieth), two walks, three runs.  Mark Teixeira was 3-for-5 with a three-run homer, his twentieth.  Rafael Palmeiro was 2-for-4 with a home run (his thirty-second), a walk, and two runs.  Laynce Nix was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Einar Diaz was 2-for-5.  Jason Jones was 1-for-3 with a home run (his third) and two runs.

The game:  LeCroy had an RBI single in the first to put the Twins up 1-0.  In the bottom of the first Blalock doubled and Rodriguez and Palmeiro hit back-to-back homers to make it 3-1 Rangers.  Jones homered in the second to make it 4-1.  In the third, two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out.  Nix singled home one and Jones hit a sacrifice fly, increasing the Texas lead to 6-1.

Hocking hit a two-run homer in the fourth to cut the margin to 6-3.  In the fifth, the Twins had men on first and second with two out.  Hunter doubled home one, an intentional walk loaded the bases, and accidental walks to Dustan Mohr and Hocking tied the score.  In the sixth Rivas led off with a double and scored on LeCroy's single to put the Twins in front 7-6.

The Rangers came back in the seventh.  Blalock led off with a home run to tie it.  Rodriguez walked Palmeiro singled, and Teixeira hit a three-run homer to give Texas a 10-7 lead.  But the Twins refused to go away.  In the eighth, LeCroy walked and Corey Koskie singled, putting men on first and third with one out.  Hunter singled home a run and Pierzynski hit a sacrifice fly to make it 10-9.  Hocking led off the ninth with a single, Stewart walked, a bunt moved the runners up, and Jacque Jones hit a sacrifice fly to tie it 10-10.

The momentum was all with the Twins, and it did them as much good as momentum usually does.  Nix led off the ninth with a single, was bunted to second, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Diaz' single to win the game for the Rangers.

WP:  Francisco Cordero (4-6).  LP:  Eddie Guardado (1-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  Hocking remained at short in place of Cristian Guzman.  Stewart was in left with Mohr in right.  Michael Ryan pinch-hit for Mohr in the eighth and went to right field.  Jones pinch-hit for Doug Mientkiewicz in the ninth.  Hocking moved to first base, with Chris Gomez coming in to play short.

Ryan was 0-for-1 and was batting .333.  Stewart was 0-for-5 and was batting .310.  Jones was batting .308.  Pierzynski raised his average to .301.  Mientkiewicz was 1-for-5 and was batting .300.

Brad Radke started and lasted just 2.1 innings, allowing six runs on nine hits and a walk.  He struck out none and his ERA went back up over five at 5.02.  His game score of 14 was his second-lowest of the season, ahead of an 8 in his second start of the season.

Pulido's ERA remained zero.  Balfour had an ERA of 1.65.  J. C. Romero allowed four runs in two-thirds of an inning to raise his ERA to 5.20.  Mays lowered his ERA to 6.30.

Texas used three pitchers with connections to the Twins.  Starter R. A. Dickey pitched 4.2 innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on eight hits and four walks and striking out four.  Ron Mahay pitched 1.1 scoreless innings.  Aaron Fultz allowed two runs in a third of an inning.

There were six home runs in the game.  Five of them were hit by the Rangers.

Chicago won and Kansas City lost, so the Twins remained tied for second, but fell farther out of first.

Record:  The Twins were 71-65, tied for second in the American League Central with Kansas City, 1.5 games behind Chicago.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-five

MINNESOTA 2, TEXAS 0 IN TEXAS

Date:  Saturday, August 30.

Batting star:  Corey Koskie returned to the lineup and was 2-for-3 with a walk.

Pitching stars:  Johan Santana pitched six shutout innings, giving up five hits and no walks and striking out four.  Juan Rincon struck out two in 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit.  Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Mark Teixeira was 3-for-4 with two doubles.  Mickey Callaway pitched six innings, giving up two runs on five hits and no walks and striking out four.

The game:  The Rangers had men on first and third with two out in the first but did not score.  Michael Young had a one-out double in the third and Shane Spencer reached on a two-base error in the fourth.  Those were the only men to be in scoring position for either team in the first five innings.

In the sixth, however, A. J. Pierzynski led off with a single, Denny Hocking followed with a double, and Shannon Stewart delivered a two-run single, putting the Twins up 2-0.

And that was all the scoring in the game.  Teixeira led off the bottom of the sixth with a double but stayed on second.  Jacque Jones hit a two-out double in the seventh but had a similar fate.  Teixeira had another double with two out in the eighth and again was stranded.  The Twins put men on first and second with none out in the ninth, but again the score remained 2-0.  Texas went out in order in the bottom of the ninth.

WP:  Santana (9-3).  LP:  Callaway (1-5).  S:  Guardado (31).

Notes:  Hocking was at short in place of Cristian Guzman, who would not return to the lineup until September 2.  Jones was in left and Stewart in right.  Dustan Mohr replaced Stewart in right field in the ninth.

Stewart was 1-for-4 and was batting .313.  Jones was 1-for-4 and was batting .308.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 0-for-3 and was batting .301.

Santana lowered his ERA to 2.72.  He made six starts in the month of August and went 5-0, 1.07, 0.95 WHIP.  He struck out 44 in 42 innings, giving up 30 hits and 10 walks.  His ERA went from 3.49 to 2.72.

LaTroy Hawkins retired the only man he faced to drop his ERA to 2.09.

I remember Mickey Callaway as a manager and pitching coach, and of course he's been in the news lately for other reasons.  But I have no memory of him as a pitcher.  This was his first start as a Texas Ranger--he had been released by the Angels in late July.  Over half his major league appearances came in 2003--he appeared in 40 games, 23 of them this season.  He did not justify it:  he went 1-7, 6.68, 1.78 WHIP.  This was one of the few good games he pitched in his career, and he still didn't get a win for it.  For his career, he went 4-11, 6.27, 1.71 WHIP.  He made 20 starts in his 40 games and pitched 130.2 innings.  His only major league "success" came in 2002, when he made six starts for the Angels at the end of the season and went 2-1, 4.19.

The Twins had won three in a row and five of six.  The White Sox won and Kansas City didn't play (presumably a rainout), so the Twins moved into a tie for second place.

Record:  The Twins were 71-64, tied for second with Kansas City in the American League Central, a half game behind Chicago.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-four

MINNESOTA 8, TEXAS 5 IN TEXAS

Date:  Friday, August 29.

Batting stars:  Doug Mientkiewicz was 4-for-5.  Shannon Stewart was 2-for-5 with a double, two runs, and two RBIs.  Matthew LeCroy was 1-for-3 with a home run (his fifteenth) and a walk.

Pitching stars:  Carlos Pulido pitched two shutout innings, giving up two hits and striking out one.  Grant Balfour pitched two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.  LaTroy Hawkins struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up two hits.  Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Mark Teixeira was 2-for-4 with a triple.  Todd Greene was 2-for-4.  Hank Blalock was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Laynce Nix was 1-for-3 with a three-run homer (his fifth) and a walk.

The game:  LeCroy had the game's first hit in the second inning and it was a home run, putting the Twins up 1-0.  The Rangers tied it in the bottom of the second when Teixeira hit a two-out triple and scored on Greene's single.  Texas took a big lead in the third.  Michael Young led off with a double, went to third on a ground out, and scored on a sacrifice fly.  With two out and none on, Rafael Palmeiro doubled, Shane Spencer walked, and Nix hit a three-run homer to put the Rangers ahead 5-1.

The Twins started their comeback in the fifth.  Singles by Torii Hunter and Cristian Guzman were followed by a ground out, putting men on second and third with two down.  Stewart delivered a two-run single, cutting the lead to 5-3.  The Twins sent just three men to the plate in each of the sixth and seventh innings, however, leaving the score 5-3 as we went to the eighth.

In the eighth, Stewart doubled, but was still on second with two out.  Mientkiewicz had an RBI single to make the score 5-4.  Walks to LeCroy and Jacque Jones loaded the bases and a Dazzle Special (wild pitch) tied the score.  Hunter was then intentionally walked to load the bases and A. J. Pierzynski was hit by a pitch to put the Twins up 6-5.  Twins Baseball!!!!

Texas put men on first and third in the eighth but did not score.  In the ninth, Chris Gomez and Luis Rivas singled to put men on first and second.  Mientkiewicz then came through again, getting a two-run single-plus-error to give the Twins an 8-5 lead.  The Rangers went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Balfour (1-0).  LP:  John Thomson (12-11).  S:  Guardado (30).

Notes:  Denny Hocking remained at third in place of Corey Koskie.  Jones was in left and Stewart in right.

Michael Ryan pinch-hit for Guzman in the eighth.  Gomez went in at shortstop in the ninth.  Dustan Mohr pinch-ran for LeCroy in the eighth.

Ryan was 0-for-1 and was batting .375.  Stewart was batting .314.  Jones was 0-for-3 and was batting .308.  Mientkiewicz raised his average to .303.

Joe Mays lasted just three innings, allowing five runs on five hits and two walks and striking out one.  His ERA was 6.37.  This was his last start of the season.  He would make just one more appearance, then be shut down for the rest of the season.  The bullpen bailed the Twins out, pitching six shutout innings and giving up five hits and a walk and striking out five.

This was Pulido's first appearance in the majors since 1994, a gap of nine years.  In between he played for a few different organizations and also played in Japan, Taiwan, and independent ball.

This was Balfour's first major league win.  In a pennant race, Ron Gardenhire used two pitchers who people had no reason to have much confidence in, and they rewarded him with four shutout innings and a win.

Pulido's ERA was zero.  Balfour's ERA was 1.76.  Hawkins had an ERA of 2.10.

Kansas City and Chicago both lost, so the Twins gained ground on both.

Record:  The Twins were 70-64, in third place in the American League Central, a half game behind both Chicago and Kansas City, who were tied for first.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-three

MINNESOTA 6, ANAHEIM 1 IN ANAHEIM

Date:  Thursday, August 28.

Batting stars:  Luis Rivas was 2-for-4 with two doubles, two runs, and two RBIs.  Jacque Jones was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his thirteenth.

Pitching stars:  Kyle Lohse pitched 6.2 innings, giving up one run on five hits and five walks and striking out three.  LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.  Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk and striking out one.

Opposition star:  Jeff DaVanon was 3-for-4 with a stolen base, his thirteenth.

The game:  There was no scoring until the third.  Chone Figgins walked, stole second and third, and scored on a Garret Anderson single to give the Angels a 1-0 lead.  The Twins did little on offense for the first five innings.  Anaheim loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth, but did not score.

It cost them, as the Twins took the lead in the sixth.  Cristian Guzman singled, Rivas hit a two-out double, and Matthew LeCroy delivered a two-run single to make it 2-1 Minnesota.  The Twins took control in the eighth.  Guzman reached on an error and Shannon Stewart was hit by a pitch.  Rivas then hit a two-run double to make it 4-1.  With two out, Jones hit a two-run homer to increase the lead to 6-1, and that's how it ended.

WP:  Lohse (11-10).  LP:  Ramon Ortiz (15-11).  S:  None.

Notes:  LeCroy was behind the plate in place of A. J. Pierzynski.  Denny Hocking remained at third in place of Corey Koskie.  Shannon Stewart was in left, with Dustan Mohr in right and Jones at DH.

Stewart was 1-for-3 and was batting .313.  Jones was batting .311.

By game scores, this was Lohse's best start in over two months.  He got his ERA below five at 4.85.  Hawkins dropped his ERA to 2.13.

Future Twin Ortiz started for the Angels and pitched seven innings.  He allowed five runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk and struck out three.

Kansas City won but Chicago lost, so while the Twins remained in third they moved closer to first.

Record:  The Twins were 69-64, in third place in the American League Central, 1.5 games behind Chicago and Kansas City, who were tied for first.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-two

ANAHEIM 5, MINNESOTA 4 IN ANAHEIM

Date:  Wednesday, August 27.

Batting stars:  A. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch.  Torii Hunter was 2-for-4 with a double.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-5.

Pitching star:  J. C. Romero pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Chone Figgins was 3-for-5 with a triple.  Scott Spiezio was 2-for-4 with a home run, his thirteenth.  Eric Owens was 2-for-4 with a double.  Robb Quinlan was 2-for-4.  Bengie Molina was 1-for-4 with a home run, his twelfth.

The game:  The Twins played catch-up all night and could never quite get the lead.  In the bottom of the first Figgins led off with a triple and scored on Owens' single-plus-error.  Owens went to third on a ground ball and scored on a sacrifice fly, putting the Angels up 2-0.

The Twins scored one in the second when Hunter doubled and Pierzynski singled.  Anaheim got the run back in the third when Tim Salmon walked, went to second on an infield out, and scored on Shawn Wooten's single.  The Twins again cut the lead to one in the fifth as Pierzynski was hit by a pitch, went to third on an error and scored on a ground out.  They tied it up in the sixth when Matthew LeCroy singled, went to second on a ground out, and scored on Hunter's single.  But the tie lasted only for two batters, as Molina homered in the bottom of the sixth to put the Angels back up 4-3.

The Twins again tied it in the seventh.  Denny Hocking walked, went to third on a single-plus-error by Cristian Guzman, and scored on a ground out.  This time the tie lasted for three batters, as Spiezio homered in the bottom of the seventh to make it 5-4 Anaheim.

And that's where it stayed.  The Twins loaded the bases in the eighth and got a one-out single in the ninth, but the score did not change.

WP:  Ben Weber (4-1).  LP:  Juan Rincon (3-6).  S:  Troy Percival (28).

Notes:  Hocking was at third base in place of Corey Koskie, who would not return until August 30.  Jacque Jones was in left with Shannon Stewart in right.  Michael Ryan pinch-hit for Hocking in the eighth and Chris Gomez went to third base in the ninth.

Michael Ryan was 0-for-1 and was batting .429.  Stewart was 1-for-5 and is batting .313.  Jones was 1-for-4 and is batting .311.  Pierzynski got back up over .300 at .301.

Kenny Rogers started for the Twins and pitched 5.2 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on eleven hits and a walk, striking out none.  Aaron Sele started for the Angels and also pitched 5.2 innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on four hits and a walk and striking out four.

Chicago and Kansas City both won big, so the Twins lost a game to both of their rivals.

Record:  The Twins were 68-64, in third place in the American League Central, 2.5 games behind Chicago.  They were 1.5 games behind second-place Kansas City.