MINNESOTA 6, TAMPA BAY 5 IN MINNESOTA (13 INNINGS)
Date: Thursday, May 1.
Batting stars: Cristian Guzman was 3-for-6 with a triple and a double. Corey Koskie was 2-for-5 with a home run (his fourth), a walk, and two runs. Luis Rivas was 2-for-5 with a walk. Jacque Jones was 2-for-7 with two doubles.
Pitching stars: J. C. Romero pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up only a walk. LaTroy Hawkins struck out two in 1.1 perfect innings. Eddie Guardado struck out two in two scoreless innings, giving up one hit. Tony Fiore struck out two in two scoreless innings, giving up one hit.
Opposition stars: Javier Valentin was 2-for-4 with two walks. Aubrey Huff was 2-for-5 with a home run (his fifth), a walk, and two runs. Lance Carter pitched three innings, giving up one run despite allowing three hits and three walks.
The game: The Devil Rays jumped on starter Joe Mays for four runs in the first inning. With one out, Rocco Baldelli doubled and scored on a Travis Lee single. Huff walked. Mays then had Lee picked off but threw the ball away, putting men on second and third. Marlon Anderson doubled but only one run scored--Huff apparently thought the ball might be caught and only advanced to third. He scored on a ground out, however, and Valentin singled in the fourth run.
Mays settled down after that, and the Twins worked on cutting that lead. In the second Bobby Kielty singled, went all the way to third on a passed ball, and scored on a ground out to make it 4-1. Koskie led off the fourth with a home run to cut it to 4-2. Matthew LeCroy followed with a single, but the next two men flied out. Todd Sears walked, however, and A. J. Pierzynski singled home a run, making it a one-run game at 4-3.
Huff hit a two-out homer in the fifth, increasing Tampa Bay's lead back to two at 5-3. In the sixth, the Twins loaded the bases with none out. Torii Hunter doubled, Kielty walked, and Sears was hit by a pitch. Pierzynski brought home one run on a ground out, but that was all the Twins could do, and they remained behind 5-4. They again loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, but Kielty lined into a double play.
It was still 5-4 going to the bottom of the ninth. With one out Koskie singled, Dustan Mohr doubled, and Hunter was intentionally walked, once again loading the bases. Kielty hit a sacrifice fly to tie the score, but Mohr apparently tried to score from second on the fly ball and was thrown out at the plate, sending the game to extra innings.
This was back when men were men: none of this weak "start with a runner on second" garbage. Guzman hit a one-out triple in the eleventh, but the Twins couldn't score him. The Devil Rays got a man to third with one out in the thirteenth, but also couldn't score him. With one out in the bottom of the thirteenth, Jones hit a ground-rule double and Guzman followed with another double, winning the game for the Twins.
WP: Fiore (1-0). LP: Travis Harper (0-2). S: None.
Notes: Kielty was in right field.
Jones was batting .324. Kielty was 1-for-4 and was batting .319.
Mohr was 1-for-2, raising his average to .143.
Mays did well after the first inning, but of course the first inning counts, too. He pitched six innings and gave up five runs on seven hits and three walks, striking out five. His ERA was 5.30. Fiore lowered his ERA to 5.74.
Hawkins kept his ERA at zero. Guardado's ERA was 0.77.
I assume there must by more to the story of Mohr trying to score from second on a sacrifice fly. I'm guessing that either the outfielder crashed into the fence and fell down, or the throw in from the outfield got away, or something like that. Or, as I look at it, he may have overrun third base or fallen down between third and home. What the play-by-play on b-r.com tells me is that he was thrown out at home and that the play went 8-3-5.
Fiore seems like an odd choice to pitch in the extra innings. He had pitched an inning the day before, was having a poor year, and there appear to have been better relievers available. Maybe Ron Gardenhire just didn't want to blow out the bullpen and decided Fiore was expendable to pitch as long as he could. We have to say, he got away with it.
The Twins had now won three in a row and once again were involved in a series sweep.
Record: The Twins were 13-14, in third place in the American League Central, five games behind Kansas City.