MINNESOTA 5, TAMPA BAY 3 IN MINNESOTA
Batting stars: Jacque Jones was 2-for-4. Cristian Guzman was 2-for-4. Corey Koskie was 1-for-3 with a home run (his third), a walk, and three RBIs. Torii Hunter was 1-for-4 with a home run, his second.
Pitching stars: Kenny Rogers pitched seven innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on eight hits and no walks and striking out four. Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit and striking out one.
Opposition stars: Aubrey Huff was 3-for-4 with a home run, his fourth. Chris Truby was 2-for-3.
The game: Jones and Guzman started the bottom of the first with singles, and an infield out produced a run. Huff homered opening the second to tie it 1-1. The Twins had men on first and second with none out in the second, but three fly balls ended the inning.
The Twins took the lead in the third. Guzman again singled, but this time Koskie followed with a two-run homer. Hunter homered later in the inning to give the Twins a 4-1 lead.
The Devil Rays didn't give up. In the seventh Damion Easley reached on an error with one out. Singles by Truby and Toby Hall loaded the bases, and a ground out cut the lead to 4-2. In the eighth, Terry Shumpert doubled and Travis Lee singled to make it 4-3. Huff singled to put the go-ahead run on with one out, but LaTroy Hawkins came on to retire the next two batters and preserve the lead.
The Twins got an insurance run in the ninth. Todd Sears led off with a double, an error put men on first and third, and a ground out made it 5-3. Rey Ordonez hit a one-out double in the ninth, but that was all Tampa Bay could do.
WP: Rogers (3-1). LP: Jorge Sosa (1-3). S: Guardado (7).
Notes: Bobby Kielty was in right field. Sears was the DH.
Dustan Mohr pinch-ran for Sears in the ninth.
Kielty was 1-for-3 with a walk and was batting .338. Jones raised his average to .311.
Luis Rivas was 0-for-3 and was batting .194.
Hawkins' ERA remained at zero. Guardado's ERA was 0.93.
This was the first game of the season for Sears. He had appeared in seven games in 2002 as a September call-up.
The Devil Rays' center fielder was some guy named Rocco Baldelli. I wonder what ever happened to him.
Huff was a better player than I remembered. He played in thirteen seasons and batted .278/.342/.464. He hit 242 career home runs. 2003 was his career high in homers, with 34. He batted .311 in 2003, second only to his .313 average in 2002. His OBP was .367, second only to his .385 mark in 2010. His slugging average of .555 was his career high, as was his .922 OPS. He never made an all-star team, but he received MVP votes three times (seventh was his highest finish, in 2010) and won a Silver Slugger award in 2008. A very respectable career.
This was only the Twins' second win in their last ten games.
Record: The Twins were 11-14, in third place in the American League Central, seven games behind Kansas City.