Tag Archives: the clincher

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Fifty-seven


Date:  Tuesday, September 23.

Batting stars:  Cristian Guzman was 2-for-3 with a home run (his third), a walk, and two runs.  Corey Koskie was 1-for-2 with a walk.

Pitching star:  Kenny Rogers pitched 8.2 innings, giving up one run on eight hits and no walks and striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Alex Escobar was 2-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch.  Josh Bard was 2-for-4.

The game:  The Indians had men on first and third with one out in the second but did not score.  The Twins had men on first and second with two out in the second but did not score.  In the third, however, Guzman singled and Shannon Stewart and Luis Rivas had back-to-back doubles to get the Twins on the board with a 2-0 lead.

Cleveland got back-to-back hit-by-pitches to start the fourth but did not score.  In the bottom of the fourth the Twins added a run without a hit.  Koskie walked, A. J. Pierzynski reached on an error, Guzman walked, and Stewart hit a sacrifice fly.

The Indians had a man on second with one out in the fifth and men on first and second with none out in the seventh, but did not score.  Guzman homered leading off the bottom of the seventh to make it 4-0.  Cleveland rallied in the ninth, getting singles from Jody Gerut, Escobar, and Josh Bard to make it 4-1 and bring the tying run to the plate.  But Eddie Guardado came in to strike out Greg LaRocca to end the game.

WP:  Rogers (13-8).  LP:  Jake Westbrook (7-10).  S:  Guardado (40).

Notes:  Stewart was in left and Jacque Jones in right.  The Twins made no in-game lineup substitutions.

Pierzynski was 0-for-3 and was batting .309.  Stewart was 1-for-3 and was batting .308.  Jones was 0-for-4 and was batting .303.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 0-for-3 and was batting .300.

Rogers threw 102 pitches.

Guardado lowered his ERA to 2.84.

Westbrook pitched seven innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks and striking out two.

The strikeout to end the game was Greg LaRocca's last major league at-bat.  He played in a handful of games in three separate seasons.  An infielder, he batted .261/.337/.352 in 100 plate appearances (39 games).  After this season he went to Japan, where he had several successful seasons.

It was the Twins' tenth consecutive win.  Chicago and Kansas City had both won yesterday, when the Twins were off, but they both lost today, so the Twins clinched the division.

Record:  The Twins were 88-69, in first place in the American League Central, six games ahead of Chicago and Kansas City.

Random Rewind: 1969, Game One Hundred Fifty-three


Date:  Monday, September 22.

Batting stars:  Cesar Tovar was 3-for-4 with a stolen base (his thirty-second).  Tony Oliva was 2-for-5.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-4 with a home run, his forty-seventh.

Pitching stars:  Bob Miller pitched eight innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and three walks and striking out five.  Al Worthington pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Mike Fiore was 2-for-4 with a double.  Buck Martinez was 2-for-4.  Jim Rooker pitched eight innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and three walks and striking out five.

The game:  Fiore hit a one-out double in the first but could not get past third base.  The Twins put two on with two out in the second and did not score.  The Royals got on the board in the third on singles by Pat Kelly and Fiore and an Ed Kirkpatrick sacrifice fly.

The Twins came back to take the lead in the fourth.  Killebrew led off with a home run to tie it 1-1.  Bob Allison then doubled, went to third on a fly out, and scored on George Mitterwald's sacrifice fly, making the score 2-1 Twins.  They added to the lead in the fifth when Cardenas got a leadoff double and scored on Tovar's single.

The Twins got one more run in the ninth when Frank Quilici walked, was bunted to second, and scored on a single by Tovar.  They needed it, as Kansas City came back in the bottom of the ninth.  Kirkpatrick led off with a single and Lou Piniella delivered an RBI double.  With one out, Jerry Adair walked and Martinez singled, cutting the margin to 4-3.  They lost a man on the bases, however, as pinch-runner Scott Northey rounded second too far and was cut down by Oliva.  Paul Schaal grounded out to end the game.

WP:  Miller (5-4).  LP:  Rooker (4-15).  S:  Worthington (3).

Notes:  Quilici started at second base, with Rod Carew on the bench.  Carew entered the game in the seventh for defense, with Quilici moving to third and Rick Renick, who started at third, coming out of the game.  Killebrew played the entire game at first base, with Rich Reese on the bench.  This has to be one of the few times in his career that Carew entered a game as a defensive replacement.

Mitterwald was again behind the plate, with Johnny Roseboro on the bench.  I don't know if Roseboro had a minor injury or ailment or whether, with the pennant race well in hand, Billy Martin just chose to give him a couple of days off.  Roseboro would be in-and-out of the lineup the rest of the season, but would not play a complete game.

This was Miller's first start since August 8.  He had missed about a month due to injury and made three relief appearances in that span.

This was the game that clinched the pennant for the Twins.

This was Scott Northey's only season in the majors.  It was really just the month of September--he got a September call-up after batting .327 in a half-season of AAA.  He batted .262/.337/.410 in 68 plate appearances.  He was only twenty-two, and probably big things were expected.  Instead, he went backward.  He started 1970 in AAA, but went back to AA after batting just .226.  He spent in 1971 and 1972 in AA, didn't do much, and his playing career was over.  He's the son of major league outfielder Ron Northey.

Record:  The Twins were 92-61, in first place in the American League West, 10.5 games ahead of Oakland.  They would finish 95-67, in first place, 9 games ahead of Oakland.

The Royals were 64-89, in fifth place in the American League West, 28 games behind Minnesota.  They would finish 69-93, in fourth place, 28 games behind Minnesota.