Tag Archives: winning streak

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Fifty-eight

MINNESOTA 3, CLEVELAND 2 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Wednesday, September 24.

Batting stars:  Lew Ford was 2-for-4 with a home run (his third), a triple, and two RBIs.  Michael Cuddyer was 2-for-4 with a home run, his third.

Pitching stars:  Kyle Lohse pitched six innings, giving up one run on four hits and no walks and striking out one.  Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Victor Martinez was 2-for-4.  Ben Broussard was 1-for-4 with a home run, his sixteenth.  C. C. Sabathia pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and a walk and striking out three.

The game:  The Indians got a man to second base with two out in the first and third, but did not score either time.  They got on the board in the fourth, however, as Broussard hit a one-out home run.  The Twins did not get a man to second base until the fifth and did not score until the sixth, when Ford homered with one out to tie it 1-1.  The Twins then loaded the bases, still with one out, but a popup and a ground out ended the inning.

The Twins took a 2-1 lead in the seventh when Denny Hocking hit a two-out single and scored on a Ford triple.  Cleveland tied it in the eighth.  Jhonny Peralta led off with a walk, went to second on a passed ball, took third on a ground out, and scored on a wild pitch.

Cuddyer led off the bottom of the eighth with a home run to put the Twins back in front.  Martinez hit a one-out single in the ninth for the Indians, but he did not get past first base.

WP:  Jesse Orosco (2-1).  LP:  Rafael Betancourt (2-2).  S:  Guardado (41).

Notes:  It was the day after the Twins clinched so it was even lower down the alphabet than a B lineup.  Matthew LeCroy was behind the plate in place of A. J. Pierzynski.  Justin Morneau was at first in place of Doug Mientkiewicz.  Alex Prieto was at second in place of Luis Rivas.  Hocking was at short in place of Cristian Guzman.  Cuddyer was at third in place of Corey Koskie.  Ford was in center in place of Torii Hunter.  Michael Restovich was in left, Dustan Mohr in right, and Michael Ryan at DH.  Rob Bowen replaced LeCroy at catcher in the seventh.

Ryan was 1-for-4 and was batting .347.  Ford was batting .333.  Restovich was 0-for-3 and was batting .304.

Prieto was 1-for-3 and was batting .167.  Bowen made his first appearance since September 2 and was batting .000 (0-for-3).

Guardado lowered his ERA to 2.80.

Rick Reed gave up a run in 1.2 innings and had an ERA of 5.14.  Orosco retired the only man he faced and lowered his ERA to 7.64.  This would be his only win as a Twin.

Granted that Cleveland wasn't very good and was just playing out the season, it's still kind of impressive that the Twins were able to win playing a bunch of reserves and AAA players.

The Twins had won eleven in a row.

Record:  The Twins were 89-69, in first place in the American League Central, six games ahead of Chicago.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Fifty-seven

MINNESOTA 4, CLEVELAND 1 IN MINNESOTA

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.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Fifty-five

MINNESOTA 7, DETROIT 3 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Saturday, September 20.

Batting stars:  Matthew LeCroy was 3-for-5 with a home run (his seventeenth), a double, and three RBIs.  Dustan Mohr was 1-for-4 with a home run, his tenth.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 1-for-3 with three walks and three runs.

Pitching stars:  Grant Balfour struck out three in a scoreless inning, giving up two hits.  J. C. Romero pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits.  Juan Rincon pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Craig Monroe was 3-for-4 with a home run (his twentieth), two doubles, and two RBIs.  Brandon Inge was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Dmitri Young was 2-for-4.  Alex Sanchez was 2-for-5.  No other Tiger had a hit.

The game:  The Twins jumped out to an early lead.  Shannon Stewart walked and Mientkiewicz doubled, putting men on second and third with one out.  A strikeout followed, but then Corey Koskie hit a two-run single, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a Torii Hunter single to make it 3-0.  Mohr homered in the fourth to make it 4-0.

Detroit got on the board in the fifth when Monroe homered, but the Twins got the run back in the bottom of the fifth when LeCroy homered.  The Tigers got back into it in the sixth.  Sanchez led off with a single and went to second on a wild pitch.  Young then delivered a two-out RBI single followed by Monroe's run-scoring double, cutting the margin to 6-3.

That was as good as it would get for Detroit.  The Twins scored one more, in the seventh, when Mientkiewicz walked, went to second on a passed ball, and scored on LeCroy's single.  The Tigers had men on second and third with two out in the eighth, but did not score again.

WP:  Johan Santana (12-3).  LP:  Nate Robertson (1-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  LeCroy was behind the plate in place of A. J. Pierzynski.  Stewart was in left, Mohr in right, and Michael Cuddyer at DH.  There were no in-game lineup substitutions.

Stewart was 0-for-3 and was batting .307.  Mientkiewicz was batting .303.

Santana didn't pitch badly, but he ran into trouble in the sixth.  His line was 5.2 innings, three runs, four hits, two walks, and five strikeouts.

Robertson pitched five innings, allowing six runs on six hits and four walks and striking out four.

The relievers for Detroit were Chris Mears, Erik Eckenstahler, Matt Anderson, and Matt Roney.  That's the kind of bullpen that leads you to be 38-116, which was the Tigers' record after this game.

The Twins had now won eight straight.  The White Sox lost to the Royals, so the Twins edged closer to clinching the division.

Record:  The Twins were 86-69, in first place in the American League Central, 4.5 games ahead of Chicago.  They were 5.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Fifty-four

MINNESOTA 6, DETROIT 2 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Friday, September 19.

Batting stars:  A. J. Pierzynski was 4-for-4 with a home run (his eleventh), two runs, and two RBIs.  Torii Hunter was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs.  Luis Rivas was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Shannon Stewart was 2-for-5.

Pitching stars:  Eric Milton pitched seven shutout innings, giving up two hits and no walks and striking out four.  Grant Balfour struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition star:  Warren Morris was 2-for-3 with a double.

The game:  The Twins put men on first and third with two out in the first but did not score.  In the second, however, Hunter doubled and Pierzynski followed with a single to make it 1-0.  In the second, singles by Shannon Stewart and Doug Mientkiewicz were followed by a pair of productive ground outs to make it 2-0.

The Twins took control in the fourth.  Hunter and Pierzynski opened the inning with singles.  With one out, Cristian Guzman and Stewart delivered RBI singles.  Rivas walked to load the bases and Mientkiewicz walked to force in a run.  It was 5-0 Twins.

Milton cruised through his seven innings, throwing just 77 pitches.  In the eighth, the bullpen allowed the only two Tiger runs.  Carlos Pena walked, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a Morris single.  With two out, singles by Alex Sanchez and Shane Halter produced another run.  A walk to Bobby Higginson loaded the bases, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate.  But Dmitri Young flied to center to end the inning.  Pierzynski homered leading off the ninth to make it 6-2, Detroit went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Milton (1-0).  LP:  Jeremy Bonderman (6-19).  S:  None.

Notes:  Stewart was in left, Michael Ryan in right, and Jacque Jones was the DH.  Dustan Mohr replaced Ryan in right in the ninth.

Ryan was 0-for-3 and was batting .356.  Pierzynski raised his average to .311.  Stewart went up to .308.  Jones was 1-for-4 and was batting .306.  Mientkiewicz was 0-for-3 and was batting .302.

Milton lowered his ERA to 1.50.

Bonderman pitched 3.1 innings, giving up five runs on ten hits and a walk and striking out two.

Tiger players with Twins connections included Morris, Fernando Rodney, and Craig Monroe.

The Twins did not have a letdown after sweeping the White Sox.  The win was their seventh in a row.  The White Sox were playing the Royals, so one of them had to lose.  It was the Royals, as the White Sox tried to stay in the race.

Record:  The Twins were 85-69, in first place in the American League Central, 3.5 games ahead of Chicago.  They were 5.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Fifty-three

MINNESOTA 5, CHICAGO 3 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Thursday, September 18.

Batting stars:  Jacque Jones was 2-for-3 with two home runs (his fourteenth and fifteenth), a walk, and four RBIs.  Corey Koskie was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk.

Pitching stars:  Kyle Lohse pitched 6.2 innings, giving up three runs on eight hits and no walks and striking out six.  LaTroy Hawkins pitched a perfect inning.  Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition star:  Roberto Alomar was 2-for-4.

The game:  Alomar and Carlos Lee opened the game with singles.  They were on second and third with two out.  Carl Everett then singled them both home, giving the White Sox a 2-0 lead in the top of the first.  The Twins bounced right back in the bottom of the first.  Shannon Stewart walked and Jones hit a two-out two-run homer to tie it 2-2 after one.

The Twins struck again in the third, again with two out.  Doug Mientkiewicz doubled and Jones followed with his second two-run homer to make it 4-2 Minnesota.  It went to 5-2 in the fourth when Michael Ryan singled, went to third on an error, and scored on a ground out.

Chicago had men on first and third with one out in the fifth, but Lee grounded into a double play.  They cut the lead to 5-3 in the seventh on doubles by Jose Valentin and Aaron Miles.  With two out in the ninth Aaron Rowand singled and Joe Crede walked, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate.  But Sandy Alomar fouled out and the game went to the Twins.

WP:  Lohse (14-11).  LP:  Bartolo Colon (14-13).  S:  Guardado (38).

Notes:  Stewart was in left, Ryan was in right, and Jones was the DH.  Lew Ford pinch-hit for Ryan in the eighth, with Dustan Mohr going to right field in the ninth.

Ryan was 1-for-3 and was batting .381.  Ford was 0-for-1 and was batting .321.  Jones raised his average to .307.  Stewart was 1-for-4 and was also batting .307.  A. J. PIerzynski was 1-for-3 and was batting .305.  Mientkiewicz was 1-for-4 and was batting .304.

Hawkins lowered his ERA to 1.89.  Guardado lowered his ERA to 2.76.

Colon pitched six innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on seven hits and three walks and striking out one.  He pitched well if you take away the Jones home runs, but as we always say, you can't do that.

The foul popup that ended the game was caught by pitcher Eddie Guardado.  It's unusual for a pitcher to catch any popup, much less a foul popup.  I don't know what happened, but good play, Eddie.

His RBI double was the first hit of Aaron Miles' career.  I don't really remember him, but he played for nine years and played in over 130 games in five of those years.  This was his only season with the White Sox--they traded him to Colorado after the season for Juan Uribe.  He was with the Rockies for two years, then was traded to St. Louis.  He played there for three years, became a free agent, and signed with the Cubs.  He was there for one year, then they traded him to Oakland, but before he could play a game for the Athletics he was traded to Cincinnati.  They released him before he could play a game for them, but he signed back with St. Louis for another year.  He signed with the Dodgers as a free agent and spent one year there.  He was mostly a second baseman.  With the exception of his one year with the Cubs he would usually post a decent batting average and OBP, although with no power.  For his career he batted .281/.320/.352 in 932 games and 3064 plate appearances.

It was the Twins' sixth consecutive win.  While the White Sox were obviously not going to give up, it felt like the series sweep pretty much decided the pennant race.

Record:  The Twins were 84-69, in first place in the American League Central, 3.5 games ahead of Chicago.  They were 4.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Fifty-two

MINNESOTA 4, CHICAGO 2 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Wednesday, September 17.

Batting stars:  Luis Rivas was 2-for-3 with a stolen base (his seventeenth), a walk, and two runs.  Michael Ryan was 1-for-3 with a home run, his fourth.

Pitching stars:  Kenny Rogers pitched 6.1 innings, giving up two runs on six hits and no walks and striking out three.  LaTroy Hawkins pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.  Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk.

Opposition stars:  Carl Everett was 2-for-4.  Joe Crede was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer, his seventeenth.  Scott Sullivan struck out two in two shutout innings of relief.

The game:  The White Sox got a pair of one-out singles in the second, but there was no score until the third.  With one out, Ryan homered to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  Cristian Guzman then walked and went to second on a wild pitch.  With two out, Rivas hit an RBI single and Doug Mientkiewicz followed with a run-scoring double to make it 3-0 Minnesota.

The Twins had men on first and third with one out in the fourth, but a line drive double-play took them out of the inning.  With two out in the fifth, however, Rivas singled, stole second, and scored on a Jacque Jones single to make it 4-0 Twins.

Chicago got on the board in the seventh when Everett singled and Crede hit a two-run homer.  Magglio Ordonez opened the ninth with a walk, bringing the tying run up to bat, but Everett hit into a double play and Paul Konerko flied out to end the game.

WP:  Rogers (12-8).  LP:  Jon Garland (11-12).  S:  Guardado (37).

Notes:  Shannon Stewart was in left, with Ryan in right and Jones at DH.  Matthew LeCroy pinch-hit for Jones in the eighth.  Dustan Mohr replaced Ryan in right in the ninth.

Ryan was batting .385.  Stewart was 0-for-4 and was batting .308.  A. J. Pierzynski was 1-for-3 and was batting .305.  Mientkiewicz was 1-for-3 and was batting .304.  Jones was 1-for-3 and was also batting .304.

This was Rogers' best game in a month, and it obviously came at a very good time for the Twins.  Hawkins lowered his ERA to 1.92.  Guardado lowered his ERA to 2.80.

The Twins had won the first two of the three-game series, and had won five in a row.  They would be in first place at the end of the series, regardless of how the last game came out.  But if they could get a sweep, they would have a big advantage going into the last week and a half of the season.  The Royals lost, and were nearly out of the race.

Record:  The Twins were 83-69, in first place, 2.5 games ahead of Chicago.  They were 4.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-two

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.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-one

MINNESOTA 5, TEXAS 2 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Saturday, September 6.

Batting stars:  Shannon Stewart was 3-for-5.  Jacque Jones was 2-for-4 with a double.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-5.  A. J. Pierzynski was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his tenth.

Pitching stars:  Brad Radke pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits and no walks and striking out four.  LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.  Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Shane Spencer was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.  Rafael Palmeiro was 2-for-4 with a double.  Ryan Drese pitched 3.1 scoreless innings of relief, giving up three hits and striking out one.

The game:  The Twins started the scoring in the second.  Jones led off the inning with a single and scored on Torii Hunter's triple.  With two out Stewart singled to put the Twins up 2-0.

The Twins added to their lead in the third.  Mientkiewicz singled and Matthew LeCroy walked.  A balk moved the runners up, a ground out scored one, and Pierzynski hit a two-run homer to give the Twins a 5-0 lead.

The Rangers had only one hit through the first four innings.  They scored in the fifth, however, when Mark Teixeira singled and scored from first on Spencer's double.  They added another run in the seventh when Laynce Nix doubled and scored on Spencer's single.

But that was it.  They got a hit in each of the last two innings but did not bring the tying run up to bat.

WP:  Radke (11-10).  LP:  R. A. Dickey (8-7).  S:  Guardado (33).

Notes:  Stewart was in left and Jones in right.  Lew Ford pinch-ran for LeCroy in the seventh.

Stewart raised his average to .314.  Jones went up to .308.  Pierzynski was at .304.

With Santana's short start yesterday, the Twins needed someone to step up.  As so often happened back then, the someone was Radke.  He got his ERA below five, this time to stay, at 4.93.  Hawkins got his ERA below two, also to stay, for the first time since July 13 at 1.98.

Dickey lasted just 2.2 innings, allowing five runs on six hits and three walks and striking out two.  He was also called for two balks in the game.  I'm sure that's nowhere near the record, but it is somewhat unusual.

The Twins were just 2-for-16 with men in scoring position.  They made the two count, though.

This has to be one of the best games for Ryan Drese in his career.  In 2003 he was 2-4, 6.85, 1.85 WHIP in 46 innings (11 games, 8 starts).  For his career he was 34-39, 5.31, 1.57 WHIP in 565.2 innings (105 games, 96 starts).  He wasn't any good in AAA either:  17-11, 4.68, 1.45 WHIP.  Teams obviously saw something in him to keep giving him chances, but whatever they saw did not translate into getting batters out consistently.

The Twins had won four in a row, seven of nine, and nine of twelve.  The Royals dropped both ends of a doubleheader, but the White Sox won.

Record:  The Twins were 75-66, tied for first with Chicago in the American League Central, three games ahead of Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty

MINNESOTA 10, TEXAS 7 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Friday, September 5.

Batting stars:  A. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-3 with two runs.  Cristian Guzman was 2-for-4 with a triple and four RBIs.  Jacque Jones was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his thirteenth.  Matthew LeCroy was 1-for-4 with a home run, his sixteenth.

Pitching stars:  Juan Rincon pitched three perfect innings, striking out two.  LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.  Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Michael Young was 3-for-4 with a grand slam, his thirteenth homer.  Jason Jones was 2-for-4 with a double.  Alex Rodriguez was 2-for-4 with a home run, his forty-first.  Shane Spencer was 2-for-5.

The game:  The Twins led all the way, but there were some uneasy moments.  Shannon Stewart led off the bottom of the first with a double, was bunted to third, and scored on a sacrifice fly to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  In the second Jones singled, Corey Koskie walked, Pierzynski and Guzman had RBI singles, and a sacrifice fly made it 4-0 Twins.

The Rangers got on the board in the third.  Three singles loaded the bases, a ground out scored one, and a wild pitch scored another, cutting the lead to 4-2.  But the Twins came roaring back in the bottom of the third.  Jones singled, Koskie walked, Pierzynski singled to load the bases, and Guzman brought them all home on a four-run triple-plus-error, putting the Twins up 8-2.  With Johan Santana on the mound, it looked like an easy win for the Twins.

But Texas had something to say about that.  In the fourth a double and two walks loaded the bases with one out.  Young then hit a grand slam.  Later in the inning Rodriguez homered, and the lead was suddenly down to 8-7.

But as happened so many times in this season, the Twins bullpen came in and shut down the opposition.  The Rangers could come up with only two singles after that, one in the eighth and one in the ninth, and neither man got past first base.  The Twins got some insurance in the sixth.  Rivas tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly, and LeCroy homered later in the inning.

WP:  Rincon (4-6).  LP:  Mickey Callaway (1-6).  S:  None.

Notes:  Stewart was in left with Jones in right.  Doug Mientkiewicz returned to the lineup at first base.

Stewart was 1-for-3 and was batting .312.  Jones was batting .306.   Pierzynski was at .304.

Santana's string of excellent performances came crashing to a halt.  He struck out six in four innings, but allowed seven runs on eight hits and two walks.

Hawkins lowered his ERA to 2.00.

The Twins scored three runs on sacrifice flies.  I have no idea what the record is--I'm sure it's more than three--but three by one team in one game is at least somewhat unusual.

This was the one season of Jason Jones' major league career.  He played in forty games and batted .215/.298/.355.  He had hit all through the minors, and continued to hit in AAA in 2004.  His total minor league numbers were .286/.375/.458, and those numbers are not skewed by huge numbers in the low minors or anything.  The Rangers didn't have a super outfield in 2003--yes, they had Juan Gonzalez, but they also had Shane Spencer and Ryan Christenson.  In 2004 their outfield was David Dellucci, Laynce Nix, and Kevin Mench.  He was a corner outfielder, which limited him some, but still.  There was obviously something the Rangers didn't like about him, and apparently other teams saw it, too.  He retired after spending 2004 in AAA at age twenty-seven.  It seems like he should've gotten more of a chance, but as we've observed before, no one ever promised that baseball or life would be fair.

It was the third straight win for the Twins.  Chicago and Kansas City both won, too, so the Twins did not gain any ground.

Record:  The Twins were 74-66, tied for first with Chicago in the American League Central, 1.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-five

MINNESOTA 2, TEXAS 0 IN TEXAS

Date:  Saturday, August 30.

Batting star:  Corey Koskie returned to the lineup and was 2-for-3 with a walk.

Pitching stars:  Johan Santana pitched six shutout innings, giving up five hits and no walks and striking out four.  Juan Rincon struck out two in 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit.  Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Mark Teixeira was 3-for-4 with two doubles.  Mickey Callaway pitched six innings, giving up two runs on five hits and no walks and striking out four.

The game:  The Rangers had men on first and third with two out in the first but did not score.  Michael Young had a one-out double in the third and Shane Spencer reached on a two-base error in the fourth.  Those were the only men to be in scoring position for either team in the first five innings.

In the sixth, however, A. J. Pierzynski led off with a single, Denny Hocking followed with a double, and Shannon Stewart delivered a two-run single, putting the Twins up 2-0.

And that was all the scoring in the game.  Teixeira led off the bottom of the sixth with a double but stayed on second.  Jacque Jones hit a two-out double in the seventh but had a similar fate.  Teixeira had another double with two out in the eighth and again was stranded.  The Twins put men on first and second with none out in the ninth, but again the score remained 2-0.  Texas went out in order in the bottom of the ninth.

WP:  Santana (9-3).  LP:  Callaway (1-5).  S:  Guardado (31).

Notes:  Hocking was at short in place of Cristian Guzman, who would not return to the lineup until September 2.  Jones was in left and Stewart in right.  Dustan Mohr replaced Stewart in right field in the ninth.

Stewart was 1-for-4 and was batting .313.  Jones was 1-for-4 and was batting .308.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 0-for-3 and was batting .301.

Santana lowered his ERA to 2.72.  He made six starts in the month of August and went 5-0, 1.07, 0.95 WHIP.  He struck out 44 in 42 innings, giving up 30 hits and 10 walks.  His ERA went from 3.49 to 2.72.

LaTroy Hawkins retired the only man he faced to drop his ERA to 2.09.

I remember Mickey Callaway as a manager and pitching coach, and of course he's been in the news lately for other reasons.  But I have no memory of him as a pitcher.  This was his first start as a Texas Ranger--he had been released by the Angels in late July.  Over half his major league appearances came in 2003--he appeared in 40 games, 23 of them this season.  He did not justify it:  he went 1-7, 6.68, 1.78 WHIP.  This was one of the few good games he pitched in his career, and he still didn't get a win for it.  For his career, he went 4-11, 6.27, 1.71 WHIP.  He made 20 starts in his 40 games and pitched 130.2 innings.  His only major league "success" came in 2002, when he made six starts for the Angels at the end of the season and went 2-1, 4.19.

The Twins had won three in a row and five of six.  The White Sox won and Kansas City didn't play (presumably a rainout), so the Twins moved into a tie for second place.

Record:  The Twins were 71-64, tied for second with Kansas City in the American League Central, a half game behind Chicago.