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2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-six

TEXAS 11, MINNESOTA 10 IN TEXAS

Date:  Sunday, August 31.

Batting stars:  Denny Hocking was 4-for-4 with a home run (his third), a double, a walk, two runs, and three RBIs.  Torii Hunter was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.  A. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Luis Rivas was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, a stolen base (his fourteenth), and three runs.  Matthew LeCroy was 2-for-5 with a walk and two RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Carlos Pulido pitched 2.2 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and striking out two.  Grant Balfour pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.  Joe Mays pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Hank Blalock was 4-for-5 with a home run (his twenty-fourth), a double, and three runs.  Alex Rodriguez was 3-for-3 with a two-run homer (his fortieth), two walks, three runs.  Mark Teixeira was 3-for-5 with a three-run homer, his twentieth.  Rafael Palmeiro was 2-for-4 with a home run (his thirty-second), a walk, and two runs.  Laynce Nix was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Einar Diaz was 2-for-5.  Jason Jones was 1-for-3 with a home run (his third) and two runs.

The game:  LeCroy had an RBI single in the first to put the Twins up 1-0.  In the bottom of the first Blalock doubled and Rodriguez and Palmeiro hit back-to-back homers to make it 3-1 Rangers.  Jones homered in the second to make it 4-1.  In the third, two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out.  Nix singled home one and Jones hit a sacrifice fly, increasing the Texas lead to 6-1.

Hocking hit a two-run homer in the fourth to cut the margin to 6-3.  In the fifth, the Twins had men on first and second with two out.  Hunter doubled home one, an intentional walk loaded the bases, and accidental walks to Dustan Mohr and Hocking tied the score.  In the sixth Rivas led off with a double and scored on LeCroy's single to put the Twins in front 7-6.

The Rangers came back in the seventh.  Blalock led off with a home run to tie it.  Rodriguez walked Palmeiro singled, and Teixeira hit a three-run homer to give Texas a 10-7 lead.  But the Twins refused to go away.  In the eighth, LeCroy walked and Corey Koskie singled, putting men on first and third with one out.  Hunter singled home a run and Pierzynski hit a sacrifice fly to make it 10-9.  Hocking led off the ninth with a single, Stewart walked, a bunt moved the runners up, and Jacque Jones hit a sacrifice fly to tie it 10-10.

The momentum was all with the Twins, and it did them as much good as momentum usually does.  Nix led off the ninth with a single, was bunted to second, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Diaz' single to win the game for the Rangers.

WP:  Francisco Cordero (4-6).  LP:  Eddie Guardado (1-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  Hocking remained at short in place of Cristian Guzman.  Stewart was in left with Mohr in right.  Michael Ryan pinch-hit for Mohr in the eighth and went to right field.  Jones pinch-hit for Doug Mientkiewicz in the ninth.  Hocking moved to first base, with Chris Gomez coming in to play short.

Ryan was 0-for-1 and was batting .333.  Stewart was 0-for-5 and was batting .310.  Jones was batting .308.  Pierzynski raised his average to .301.  Mientkiewicz was 1-for-5 and was batting .300.

Brad Radke started and lasted just 2.1 innings, allowing six runs on nine hits and a walk.  He struck out none and his ERA went back up over five at 5.02.  His game score of 14 was his second-lowest of the season, ahead of an 8 in his second start of the season.

Pulido's ERA remained zero.  Balfour had an ERA of 1.65.  J. C. Romero allowed four runs in two-thirds of an inning to raise his ERA to 5.20.  Mays lowered his ERA to 6.30.

Texas used three pitchers with connections to the Twins.  Starter R. A. Dickey pitched 4.2 innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on eight hits and four walks and striking out four.  Ron Mahay pitched 1.1 scoreless innings.  Aaron Fultz allowed two runs in a third of an inning.

There were six home runs in the game.  Five of them were hit by the Rangers.

Chicago won and Kansas City lost, so the Twins remained tied for second, but fell farther out of first.

Record:  The Twins were 71-65, tied for second in the American League Central with Kansas City, 1.5 games behind Chicago.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Seven

MINNESOTA 10, BALTIMORE 9 IN MINNESOTA (10 INNINGS)

Date:  Thursday, July 31.

Batting stars:  A. J. Pierzynski was 4-for-6.  Luis Rivas was 3-for-5 with a stolen base (his ninth), two runs, and three RBIs.  Shannon Stewart was 2-for-5 with a double, a walk, a hit-by-pitch, and two RBIs.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-5 with two walks.  Michael Restovich was 2-for-6 with two runs.

Pitching stars:  Juan Rincon struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up a walk.  LaTroy Hawkins pitched two shutout innings, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Robert Machado was 4-for-5.  Jay Gibbons was 3-for-6 with a home run (his seventeenth) and three runs.  Jose Leon was 3-for-5.  Deivi Cruz was 2-for-5 with a home run (his thirteenth), a double, two runs, and five RBIs.  Brian Roberts was 2-for-5 with a double and a hit-by-pitch.

The game:  The Twins loaded the bases in the second but did not score.  In the third, Rivas led off with a single, stole second, and scored on a pair of infield grounders to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  The Orioles came right back in the fourth on singles by Jeff Conine and Gibbons and Cruz' three-run homer.  But the Twins came back in the bottom of the fourth.  Singles by RestovichCristian GuzmanStewart, and Rivas plated two runs to tie it 3-3.

The Twins went back into the lead in the fifth.  Singles by PierzynskiRestovich, and Guzman plated one run, Stewart was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and a sacrifice fly made it 5-3 Twins.  But Baltimore came back in the sixth inning.  Gibbons and Jose Leon singled, and both scored on a Cruz double to tie it.  Machado's RBI single put the Orioles ahead.  A walk and a hit batsman loaded the bases and a sacrifice fly made it 7-5 Baltimore.

The Orioles added to their lead in the seventh.  Gibbons led off with a homer, and two-out singles by Machado, Larry Bigbie, and Roberts increased the margin to 9-5.  But the Twins came back in the bottom of the seventh.  Chris Gomez walked and scored from first on Stewart's double.  Stewart went to third on the throw home and scored on a ground out to make it 9-7.  The Twins loaded the bases in the eighth but did not score.

In the ninth Rivas led off with a single and Mientkiewicz walked.  The next two batters struck out, but Pierzynski singled in a run to make it 9-8 and move the tying run to second.  Restovich struck out, but the third strike was not held and catcher Brook Fordyce threw wildly to first, allowing Mientkiewicz to score the tying run.  Twins baseball!

Baltimore went down in order in the top of the tenth.  Guzman led off the home half with a single and Stewart walked.  A bunt moved the runners up, an intentional walk loaded the bases, and Jacque Jones delivered a single to bring home the deciding run.

WP:  Hawkins (9-3).  LP:  Travis Driskill (3-4).  S:  None.

Notes:  Gomez was at third in the continued absence of Corey Koskie.  Stewart was in left.  Dustan Mohr was in center in place of Torii Hunter.  Restovich was in right.

Todd Sears pinch-hit for Gomez in the eighth but did not bat, as a pitching change prompted Ron Gardenhire to use Matthew LeCroy to pinch-hit for Sears.  Denny Hocking then pinch-ran for LeCroy and stayed in the game at third base.  Hunter pinch-hit for Mohr in the ninth and stayed in the game in center field.

Restovich was batting .385.  Stewart was batting .315.  Jones was 1-for-5 and was batting .311.

Kenny Rogers pitched five innings and allowed seven runs on ten hits and a walk and struck out three.  His ERA was 5.24.  Joe Mays allowed two runs in 1.2 innings to raise his ERA to 6.50.  Hawkins lowered his ERA to 2.53.

Jason Johnson started for the Orioles.  He pitched 4.2 innings, allowing five runs on eleven hits and two walks and striking out two.  He's another guy who pitched for years without ever accomplishing anything.  His lowest ERA in a season was 4.09, in 2001.  In his eleven years in the majors he ERA was over 5.00 seven times and was 6.00 or more three times.  His career numbers are 56-100, 4.99, 1.49 WHIP.  Yet, he pitched 1357 innings and appeared in 255 games, starting 221 of them.

The Twins finished July on a bit of a high note, winning their last two.  However, they were still below .500 and in third place with only two months of the season left.

Record:  The Twins were 53-54, in third place in the American League Central, 4.5 games behind Kansas City.  They were 3.5 games behind second-place Chicago.