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.