NEW YORK 11, MINNESOTA 4 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Friday, April 18.
Batting stars: Jacque Jones was 2-for-3 with a double. Matthew LeCroy was 1-for-1 with a double and two RBIs. Corey Koskie was 1-for-3 with two walks.
Pitching stars: None.
Opposition stars: Roger Clemens struck out eight in six innings, giving up one run on five hits and three walks. Robin Ventura was 3-for-5 with two home runs (his fourth and fifth), three runs, and four RBIs. Alfonso Soriano was 3-for-5 with a home run (his sixth) and two RBIs. Hideki Matsui was 2-for-5 with a double and two runs. Jorge Posada was 2-for-5 with a double and two runs. Raul Mondesi was 1-for-2 with a home run (his fourth), two walks, and two RBIs.
The game: Soriano led off the game with a home run, putting the Yankees up 1-0 (of course). The Twins put two on with one out in the bottom of the first, but nothing came of it. Ventura homered with one out in the second to make it 2-0.
The Twins had a chance for a big inning in the second, but could only score one. Bobby Kielty walked and A. J. Pierzynski singled, putting men on first and third with none out. But Michael Cuddyer hit into a double play, scoring Kielty but otherwise taking the Twins out of the inning. Mondesi homered with two out in the fourth to get the run back and make the score 3-1.
The Twins got a man to second in the fourth and again in the fifth but could do nothing after that. New York put the game away in the sixth. Bernie Williams and Matsui opened the inning with singles. Jorge Posada drove in one with a ground rule double and Ventura singled home another. That chased Brad Radke from the game. Tony Fiore came in, threw a wild pitch, then gave up a sacrifice fly. Soriano had a run-scoring single to make the score 7-1 Yankees.
New York piled on in the seventh. With two out Posada singled and Ventura hit a two-run homer, his second of the game, increasing the lead to 9-1. The Twins scored a few in the eighth to make things sound a little better. Denny Hocking and Koskie singled to start the inning. With one out, LeCroy hit a two-run double and Kielty followed with a run-scoring double, cutting the margin to 9-4. But in the ninth, Chris Latham singled, Matsui had an RBI double, and two wild pitches made the final tally 11-4.
WP: Clemens (3-0). LP: Radke (1-2). S: None.
Notes: Cuddyer was in right field. Kielty was the DH.
Dustan Mohr pinch-hit for Jones in the seventh and stayed in the game in left field. Tom Prince came in to replace A. J. Pierzynski behind the plate in the eighth. LeCroy replaced Doug Mientkiewicz at first base in the eighth. Hocking replaced Cristian Guzman at shortstop in the eighth.
Kielty was 1-for-3 and was batting .382. Jones raised his average to .350. Prince walked in his only plate appearance and remained at .333. Guzman was 0-for-3 and was batting .327. Koskie raised his average to .308.
Mohr was 0-for-2 and was batting .115. Hocking was 1-for-2 to raise his average to .154. Torii Hunter was 0-for-4 and was batting .155.
Juan Rincon allowed two runs in 2.1 innings and had an ERA of 2.00.
Radke allowed seven runs on on nine hits and a walk in five innings. His ERA was 7.84. Tony Fiore allowed two runs in 1.2 innings. His ERA was 7.88.
Three of Radke's four starts have had game scores under 50. Two of them have had game scores under 25.
Ex-Twin Chris Latham came in to play center field for the Yankees in the seventh.
Clemens was forty in 2003, but was still one of the best pitchers in baseball. He went 17-9, 3.91, 1.21 WHIP in 33 starts (211.2 innings). He made the all-star team for the ninth time.
Ventura, on the other hand, was on the decline, although you couldn't prove it by this game. The Yankees would trade him to the Dodgers at the July deadline for Bubba Crosby and Scott Proctor. These were two of just 14 home runs he would hit on the season, his lowest total since 1997, when he was injured much of the year. His OPS of .741 was the lowest since his first full season in 1990. He thirty-five, which is old in baseball but not that old. But he was just about done. He would play only one more season.
Having lost the first game of a four-game series, the Twins were hoping the string of sweeps would not continue.
Record: The Twins were 9-7, third in the American League Central, 3.5 games behind Kansas City.