MINNESOTA 5, TEXAS 4 IN MINNESOTA (10 INNINGS)
Date: Sunday, September 7.
Batting stars: Michael Ryan was 2-for-3 with a home run (his third), a double, a walk, and two runs. Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-4 with a walk and two RBIs.
Pitching stars: Grant Balfour pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one. Rick Reed pitched two shutout innings, giving up a hit and striking out one.
Opposition stars: Gerald Laird was 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs. Michael Young was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk. Alex Rodriguez was 1-for-4 with a home run (his forty-second) and two walks.
The game: Rodriguez homered with two out in the first to put the Rangers up 1-0. Ryan countered with a home run leading off the bottom of the first to tie it 1-1. In the third, Texas opened the inning with three singles, loading the bases with none out. A home-and-first double play gave the Twins hope of getting out of the inning, but an intentional walk to Rodriguez was followed by an accidental walk to Rafael Palmeiro, putting the Rangers back up 2-1.
The Twins tied it in the fourth when Torii Hunter hit a two-out double and scored from second on a wild pitch (Twins Baseball!). They went ahead 3-2 in the fifth when Denny Hocking hit a two-out double and scored on Mientkiewicz' single. Texas went back in front in the sixth when Mark Teixeira was hit by a pitch, Hank Blalock reached on an error, and Laird delivered a two-run triple to give the Rangers a 4-3 lead.
The Twins tied it in the seventh when Ryan doubled and scored on a Mientkiewicz single. It stayed tied through nine. In the tenth Mientkiewicz walked, Matthew LeCroy singled, and Jacque Jones reached on an error, loading the bases with none out. Hunter then hit a sacrifice fly to win the game for the Twins.
WP: Reed (6-12). LP: Francisco Cordero (4-7). S: None.
Notes: Hocking was at second base in place of Luis Rivas. Ryan was in left with Jones in right.
Lew Ford pinch-hit for Cristian Guzman in the seventh. Chris Gomez came in to play short in the eighth. Michael Cuddyer pinch-hit for Ryan in the ninth and stayed in the game in left field. Justin Morneau pinch-hit for Hocking in the ninth. Alex Prieto came i to play second in the tenth. Michael Restovich pinch-ran for LeCroy in the tenth.
Ryan raised his average to .391. Ford was 0-for-1 and was batting .321. Jones was 1-for-5 and was batting .306. Pierzynski was 0-for-3 and was batting .302. Mientkiewicz raised his average to .301.
This was Prieto's first appearance for the Twins since August 2. It was Restovich's first appearance since August 17.
Kenny Rogers started and pitched 5.2 innings, giving up four runs (two earned) on seven hits and three walks and striking out four. J. C. Romero retired both men he faced to lower his ERA to 5.10. LaTroy Hawkins struck out the only man he faced to lower his ERA to 1.97. Reed lowered his ERA to 5.02. This was his first appearance since August 17.
This was Laird's first career triple, and it came in his ninth major league game. He would play 790 more games and hit eight more triples. His season high was three, in 2007.
The Twins had won five in a row, eight of ten, and ten of thirteen. Chicago and Kansas City both won, so there was no change in the standings.
Record: The Twins were 76-66, tied with Chicago for first place in the American League Central, three games ahead of Kansas City.