SEATTLE 9, MINNESOTA 5 IN SEATTLE
Date: Tuesday, May 16.
Batting stars: Ron Coomer was 3-for-4 with a home run (his seventh) and two RBIs. Jacque Jones was 2-for-5 with a double.
Pitching stars: Travis Miller struck out two in 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk. Bob Wells pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk. Hector Carrasco pitched a perfect inning, striking out one. Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up two walks and striking out one.
Opposition stars: Gil Meche struck out eight in 6.2 innings, giving up three runs on six hits and two walks. Edgar Martinez was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. Alex Rodriguez was 2-for-4 with a walk and two RBIs. David Bell was 2-for-5 with a double, two runs, and two RBIs. Jay Buhner was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his eighth) and a walk.
The game: The Twins put two on with two out in the first, but nothing came of it. Twins starter Sean Bergman retired the first two Mariners, but then Rodriguez singled, John Olerud walked, Martinez hit a two-run double, and Buhner hit a two-run homer, putting Seattle up 4-0 after one inning.
The Twins got on the board in the third, but missed a chance for a big inning. Cristian Guzman walked and Jay Canizaro doubled, putting men on second and third with none out. Matt Lawton hit a sacrifice fly, but that was all the Twins could do, and it was 4-1. The Mariners immediately got the run back in the bottom of the third when Bell singled, Olerud walked, and Martinez had an RBI single.
Seattle put it away in the fourth. Raul Ibanez walked and for some reason was bunted to second. Mike Cameron singled, putting men on the corners, and Mark McLemore walked to load the bases. Bell then hit a two-run double and Rodriguez a two-run single. It was 9-1 Mariners.
The Twins did get a few runs to make the final score look better. In the seventh Butch Huskey and Jones led off with back-to-back doubles. Denny Hocking singled to bring home another run. Coomer homered in the eighth to make it 9-4 and his RBI single in the ninth brought us to the final total of 9-5.
WP: Meche (1-4). LP: Bergman (2-2). S: None.
Notes: The Twins had soured on Todd Walker at this point, so Canizaro was the regular second baseman. They really didn't have a regular catcher. Matthew LeCroy and Jensen each caught 49 games, Chad Moeller 48, a young A. J. Pierzynski 32, and Danny Ardoin 15. Huskey started the season as the DH, but didn't hit much and was eventually replaced by David Ortiz.
Bergman allowed nine runs on eight hits and five walks in 3.1 innings. This was his last year in the majors. He's another guy who stayed around a long time without doing much. He really only had one good year, 1998, when he was 12-9, 3.72, 1.31 WHIP with Houston. He was adequate in San Diego in 1996, going 6-8, 4.37, 1.34 WHIP. In his six other major league seasons, his lowest ERA was 5.12 and his lowest WHIP was 1.56. Yet, he pitched 750.1 innings, made 117 starts, and appeared in 196 games. After this game he was allowed to make five more starts, four of which were awful, and one awful relief appearance before the Twins finally released him. He was picked up by Florida, Tampa Bay, Colorado, Florida again, and Baltimore before his playing career ended in 2004. He also spent a couple of seasons in Japan, where he wasn't particularly impressive, either. I assume he's a pretty nice guy.
Lawton was the leading batter at .349. He would finish at .305 and would make his only all-star appearance that season. Jones was batting .339. He would finish at .285. Midre Cummings, who was used as a pinch-hitter, was batting .326. He would finish at .277. He would also finish in Boston, traded there at the August deadline for Hector De Los Santos.
This team was a strange mix of young players rushed to the majors, a couple of veterans, and guys who would never be anything. The weren't awful on offense, although they had little power. Jones led the team with 19 homers, Coomer had 16, Lawton 13, and Ortiz 10. The best starter they had was Brad Radke, who led the league in losses (12-16, 4.45, 1.38 WHIP. The only other somewhat competent starters were Eric Milton, 13-10, 4.86, 1.25 WHIP, and Mark Redman, 12-9, 4.76, 1.41 WHIP. No one else had an ERA below 5.50.
It seems like random.org is giving us a lot of games against the Mariners.
Record: The Twins were 17-23, in fourth place in the American League Central, six games behind Chicago. They would finish 69-93, in fifth (last) place, twenty-six games behind Chicago.
The Mariners were 20-17, in first place in the American League West, a half game ahead of Oakland. They would finish 91-71, in second place, a half-game behind Oakland, but would win the wild card by a game over Cleveland.