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2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Sixty-two


Date:  Sunday, September 28.

Batting stars:  Chris Gomez was 2-for-3 with a home run.  Michael Ryan was 2-for-3 with two doubles.  Matthew LeCroy was 2-for-3 with a double.

Pitching stars:  Kyle Lohse pitched three innings, giving up one run on three hits and no walks and striking out one.  Juan Rincon pitched a perfect inning.  Grant Balfour struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up two hits.

Opposition stars:  Dmitri Young was 3-for-4 with a hit-by-pitch.  Bobby Higginson was 2-for-4 with a home run (his fourteenth), a double, and two runs.  Brandon Inge was 2-for-4 with a double.  Ramon Santiago was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his tenth.  Craig Monroe was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his twenty-third.  Mike Maroth pitched six innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and a walk and striking out two.

The game:  The Twins loaded the bases with one out in the top of the first but did not score.  It cost them, as the Tigers got on the board in the bottom of the first on Higginson's home run.  Detroit had a man on third with one out in the third but did not score.  The Twins got a two-out double from Ryan in the fourth but did not score.  So, it was still 1-0 going to the fifth.

With two out in the fifth, Gomez homered and Justin Morneau and LeCroy hit back-to-back doubles, giving the Twins a 2-1 lead.  In the bottom of the fifth, Shane Halter walked and scored from first on Inge's double to tie it 2-2.

Then came the sixth.  The Twins brought in Adam Johnson to pitch.  It would be the last appearance of his major league career, and let's just say he did not go out on a high note.  Higginson doubled and scored on Young's single.  Monroe hit a two-run homer.  Carlos Pena popped up, but Shane Halter, Inge, and Santiago all singled to bring home another run.  Kenny Rogers then came in and gave up a run-scoring double to Alex Sanchez and an RBI single to Warren Morris.  It was 9-2 and Johnson was charged with six runs in a third of an inning.

The Twins got a couple runs back in the eighth when Alex Prieto reached on an error, Michael Cuddyer doubled, and Michael Restovich and Lew Ford had RBI singles.  But the Twins never threatened to get back into the game.

WP:  Maroth (9-21).  LP:  Johnson (0-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  It was another spring training game for the Twins.  LeCroy was behind the plate in place of A. J. Pierzynski.  Denny Hocking was at short in place of Cristian Guzman.  Dustan Mohr was in left, Ford in center, and Cuddyer in right, with Ryan at DH.

There were also numerous substitutions.  Justin Morneau pinch-ran for Mientkiewicz in the third and stayed in the game at first base.  Gomez replaced Luis Rivas at second base in the fourth.  Prieto came in for Corey Koskie in the fifth.  Prieto went to second, with Gomez moving to short and Hocking to third.  Rob Bowen replaced LeCroy behind the plate in the seventh.  Restovich pinch-hit for Ryan in the eighth.

Ryan ended the season batting .393.  Ford was at .329.  Mientkiewicz was 1-for-3 and was at .300.  Bowen was 0-for-2 and ended at .100.

The Twins' bullpen was Brad ThomasJohnsonRogersRincon, and Balfour.  Thomas had an ERA of 7.71.  Johnson's ERA was 47.25.

Detroit avoided equaling the Mets' expansion era record for losses, ending the season at 43-119.

Record:  The Twins ended the season at 90-72, in first place in the American League Central, four games ahead of Chicago.  They would play the Yankees (101-61) in the American League Divisional Series.

Random Rewind: 1986, Game One Hundred Fifty-eight


Date:  Wednesday, October 1.

Batting star:  Randy Bush was 2-for-4 with a triple and a stolen base, his fifth.

Pitching star:  Keith Atherton struck out two in 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Tom Candiotti struck out twelve in a complete game, giving up three runs on eight hits and no walks.  Julio Franco was 4-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs.  Pat Tabler was 3-for-5 with a triple and a double.  Chris Bando was 2-for-4.  Otis Nixon was 2-for-5 with a stolen base (his twenty-third), two runs, and two RBIs.  Joe Carter was 1-for-5 with a three-run homer, his twenty-ninth.

The game:  Nixon led off the game with a single, stole second, and scored on Franco's single.  In the second Tabler singled, Brook Jacoby reached on an error, and Jay Bell hit a two-run double to make it 3-0.  In the third Franco singled and scored on Tabler's double to make it 4-0.

The Twins got on the board in the third when Kirby Puckett doubled and scored on a Gary Gaetti single.  But it was all downhill from there.  In the fifth Brett Butler doubled, went to third on a fly ball, and scored on a balk.  The Indians put the game out of reach with four runs in the sixth.  Jacoby singled, Bell walked, and Bando singled to load the bases.  Nixon had a two-run single, Butler had a sacrifice fly, and Franco had an RBI single.  Cleveland led 9-1.

With two out in the eighth Butler was hit by a pitch, Franco singled, and Carter hit a three-run homer.  The Twins got a couple of runs in the ninth.  Mickey Hatcher singled, Bush tripled, and Ron Washington had an RBI ground out.

WP:  Candiotti (15-12).  LP:  Allan Anderson (3-6).  S:  None.

Notes:  A meaningless game at the end of a lost season.  Ray Miller was fired as manager in mid-September, with Tom Kelly taking over.  The Twins had long since been eliminated from the playoffs by this time.

Puckett was still a leadoff batter at this point.  Hatcher played first base in place of Kent Hrbek.  Jeff Reed was behind the plate, with Mark Salas at DH and Roy Smalley out of the lineup.  The Twins used three catchers about evenly in 1986:  Salas (69 games), Laudner (68), and Reed (64).  Alvaro Espinoza was at second base in place of Steve Lombardozzi.

The Twins made numerous substitutions.  Washington replaced Gaetti at third base in the seventh.  Mark Davidson replaced Tom Brunansky in right field in the seventh.  Laudner replaced Reed at catcher in the eighth.  Lombardozzi went to second in the eighth, with Espinoza moving to short and Greg Gagne coming out of the game.  Billy Beane went to left field in the eighth, with Bush moving to right, Davidson to center, and Puckett coming out of the game.

Anderson was the Twins' starter.  He lasted only three innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits and no walks and striking out two.  Other pitchers used in the game were Roy Lee JacksonBill LathamAtherton, and Ray Fontenot.  This was Anderson's rookie season.  He made 10 starts and 11 relief appearances, going 3-6, 5.55, 1.61 WHIP in 84.1 innings.  When you look at his ERA title in 1988, it really looks like a fluke--his ERA was 2.45 that year, 3.80 in 1989, and well over four in every other season.  He got a lot of criticism for sitting out the last game in 1988 to preserve his ERA title, but it's really the only thing he accomplished in his career, so I say good for him.

The leading batter for the Twins was Puckett at .329.

Record:  The Twins were 68-90, in sixth place in the American League West, twenty-three games behind California.  They would finish 71-91, in sixth place, twenty-one games behind California.

The Indians were 81-78, in fifth place in the American League East, fifteen games behind Boston.  They would finish 84-78, in fifth place, 11.5 games behind Boston.


1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Sixty-one


Date:  Saturday, October 5.

Batting stars:  Shane Mack was 3-for-4 with two doubles.  Chili Davis was 2-for-4 with a home run, his twenty-ninth.  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Scott Erickson pitched six shutout innings, giving up four hits and four walks and striking out two.  He threw 92 pitches.  Rick Aguilera pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk and striking out one.

Opposition star:  Roberto Alomar was 2-for-2 with a home run (his ninth) and two walks.

The game:  The Twins took the lead in the first inning when Chuck Knoblauch walked and scored from first on a Kirby Puckett double.  Each team got a man to third base in the second inning, but neither scored.  Each team put men on first second with one out in the fifth, but each was taken out of the inning by a double play.

The Twins stretched their lead to 2-0 in the sixth when Davis homered.  They scored again in the seventh when Knoblauch was hit by a pitch, stole second, and scored on a Hrbek single.

The Blue Jays got on the board in the eighth when Alomar led off the inning with a home run, but did not get a hit after that.

WP:  Erickson (20-8).  LP:  Juan Guzman (10-3).  S:  Aguilera (42).

Notes:  The Twins used their regular starting lineup.  Junior Ortiz was behind the plate in place of Brian Harper, but that always happened when Erickson pitched.

Paul Sorrento pinch-hit for Ortiz in the sixth.  Lenny Webster replaced him in the seventh and went behind the plate.  Jarvis Brown pinch-ran for Puckett in the seventh and stayed in the game in center field.  Scott Leius pinch-hit for Mike Pagliarulo in the eighth.

Puckett was 1-for-3 and was batting .319.  Mack raised his average to .309.  Erickson lowered his ERA to 3.18.  Carl Willis pitched two-thirds of an inning without allowing a run and lowered his ERA to 2.63.  Aguilera lowered his ERA to 2.35.

The Blue Jays essentially treated this like a spring training game.  Alomar was the only Toronto player to play the entire game.  The regulars pretty much all came out after two turns through the batting order.  Starter Guzman pitched just three innings, giving up one run on three hits and a walk and striking out two.

Each team stranded eight runners.  They combined to go 1-for-15 with men in scoring position, with Hrbek's eighth-inning single as the one hit.

Record:  The Twins were 95-66, in first place in the American League West, nine games ahead of Chicago.

Toronto was 90-71, in first place in the American League East, six games ahead of Boston.