Last-Place Detroit Knocks Off First-Place Minnesota

August 10: Detroit 5, Minnesota 4

Detroit’s top three hitters in the lineup Ty Cobb, Bobby Veach, and Harry Heilmann provided tons of offense, combining for eight hits, half of which went for extra bases. The Twins tied it up in the top of the seventh on a Cecil Travis two-RBI triple, but Cobb, Veach, and Heilmann all singled in a row to take the lead back for the Tigers in the bottom of the same inning.

Joe Mauer and Travis were on second and third in the top of the ninth with two outs hoping to tie the game with high-average Rod Carew at bat, but Doug Brocail whiffed Carew.

                  R  H BB
MN  020 000 200 - 4 11  1
DET 200 110 10x - 5 12  1
HR: H. Heilmann (12)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
C. Pascual  7.0  5  4  1  1  1  
G. Uhle     7.0  4  4  0  1  0 

MN 64-48, DET 53-39

August 11: Minnesota 8, Detroit 7 (10 innings)

This started out as a lopsided affair with ERA leader Johan Santana weaving his magic for Minnesota and Detroit starter Tommy Bridges getting beat up. With a 6-1 lead, Minnesota manager Bucky Harris took out Santana after the sixth to conserve Santana’s precious innings. The worm turned once Santana was out though, and Detroit battled back against ineffectual relief pitching by Rick Aguilerea and Joe Nathan.

Hank Greenberg belted a two-out, two-RBI single in the bottom of the ninth against Nathan to send the game to extras. In the top of the 10th, Cecil Travis smacked a lead-off double that was his fifth extra-base hit of the series. Carew then punched one of his vintage singles into shallow right field that drove in Travis for the game winner.

                    R  H BB
MN  210 210 001 1 - 8 15  5
DET 001 000 042 0 - 7 12  3
HR: none

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
J. Santana  6.0  1  1  0  1  8  
T. Bridges  3.1  5  5  0  3  2 

MN 65-48, DET 53-60

donovanAugust 12: Detroit 2, Minnesota 0

It looked like a terrible starting pitcher match-up for Detroit as their Bill Donovan drug his 5.95 ERA to the mound against the great Walter Johnson, but Donovan seemed to draw inspiration from the imposing match-up.  He was sharper than he’d been all year and plowed through the Twins lineup, facing just 33 and recording his first shutout of the year.

Johnson was excellent too, but in the bottom of the fifth, Alan Trammell, Cobb, and Heilmann each managed a base-hit to plate the only two runs of the game.

Minnesota dropped into a tie for first with Boston while Detroit moved up into a tie for last with Cleveland.

                  R H BB
MN  000 000 000 - 0 5  4
DET 000 020 00x - 2 8  0
HR: none

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
W. Johnson  8.0  2  2  0  0  2  
B. Donovan  9.0  0  0  0  4  3 

MN 65-49, DET 54-60

Minnesota In Good Position After Abusing Shaky Oakland Bullpen

puckett
August 7: Minnesota 5, Oakland 3

Tim Hudson got shellacked for five runs in the first inning before settling in and not allowing a run over his next six frames. Goose Goslin tripled and Kirby Puckett homered in that first inning, and the five runs were enough for Walter Johnson, who twirled a complete game.

                  R  H BB
MN  500 000 000 - 5 12  1
OAK 001 002 000 - 3  7  1
HR: K. Puckett (5)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
W. Johnson  9.0  3  2  0  1  7  
T. Hudson   7.0  5  5  1  1  3 

MN 62-47, OAK 57-52

August 8: Minnesota 5, Oakland 3 (11 innings)

Chief Bender was far better than Bert Blyleven and pitched the A’s to a 3-1 lead after eight innings. Rickey Henderson and Al Simmons both took Blyleven yard.

Dennis Eckersley came on to close out the ninth, but couldn’t do it. Goslin led off with a walk, Joe Cronin flew out, Joe Mauer singled, pinch-hitting Stan Spence singled to get Minnesota within a run, and Rod Carew drove in the tying run on a groundout.

The Twins completed the comeback in the top of the 11th when Harmon Killebrew followed a Mauer double with a dong.

                     R  H BB
MN  000 001 002 02 - 5 10  3
OAK 101 000 100 00 - 3  7  3
HR: H. Killebrew (7), R. Henderson (7), A. Simmons (16)

starters      IP  R ER HR BB SO
B. Blyleven  6.0  3  3  2  1  6  
C. Bender    8.0  1  1  0  2  1 

MN 63-47, OAK 57-53

August 9: Minnesota 6, Oakland 5 (10 innings)

Again the A’s built up a late lead, this time a 5-3 lead after seven and a 5-4 lead after eight. Oakland manager Connie Mack can’t have confidence calling on anyone from his bullpen right now. Rollie Fingers gave up a run in the eighth. Eckersley just about kept the lead after retiring the first two batters of the ninth inning to get one out away with the one-run lead intact, but Puckett crushed a game-tying homer. The A’s tried Justin Duchscherer on the mound in the tenth, but hits from Goslin and Cecil Travis set up an RBI sac-fly by Earl Battey to demoralize the Oakland bullpen further.

Here are the ERAs of the relievers Oakland was counting on the most this season:

Eckersley 3.75
Duchscherer 5.92
Fingers 4.11
Rommel 3.48

Meanwhile, the Twins are on a 16-5 stretch and have slid into first place (pending results from Baltimore and Boston).

                    R  H BB
MN  001 020 011 1 - 6 15  1
OAK 103 010 000 0 - 5  9  4
HR: K. Puckett (6)

starters    IP  R ER HR BB SO
J. Shaw    3.0  4  4  0  4  4  
B. Zito    7.0  3  3  0  1  7 

MN 64-47, OAK 57-54

Minnesota Sweeps Cleveland, Now Just 1 Game Out of First

travisAugust 3: Minnesota 7, Cleveland 3

It was a tight 3-3 affair heading into the bottom of the eighth when the Twins got hitterish against new pitcher Doug Jones. Mickey Vernon, Sam Rice, Kirby Puckett, and Goose Goslin all hit safely in a row, and Cecil Travis added a triple later in the frame to put the game away.

                  R  H BB
CLE 200 000 100 - 3  8  4
MN  011 100 04X - 7 12  1

HR: E. Battey (1)

starters    IP  R ER HR BB SO
C. Kluber  7.0  3  3  1  1  8  
J. Shaw    6.2  3  3  0  2  2 

CLE 50-56, MN 59-47

August 4: Minnesota 4, Cleveland 3

Cleveland’s Joe Jackson smacked his first homer of the year to tie the game at three in the seventh. Minnesota had an immediate answer in the bottom of the inning with a Joe Mauer double and Rod Carew RBI single.

                  R H BB
CLE 000 010 200 - 3 4  1
MN  003 000 10x - 4 6  4

HR: J. Jackson (1), J. Thome (26)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
V. Gregg    7.0  4  4  0  3  1  
C. Pascual  7.0  3  3  2  1  5 

CLE 50-57, MN 60-47

August 5: Minnesota 3, Cleveland 2

ERA leader Johan Santana gave up just one earned run, which came on a John Romano dinger. The Naps also scored an unearned run thanks to back-to-back errors by Gary Gaetti and Goose Goslin. Those two runs were still standing up in the bottom of the seventh before Cecil Travis started things with a triple and came home to tie it up. In the bottom of the ninth, Minnesota boarded their faithful singles train and Goslin, Travis, and Rice all singled to plate the walk-off winner and sweep the series.

Minnesota is on an 18-9 roll since the season’s half-way point and suddenly find themselves just one game behind first-place Boston & Baltimore.

                  R H BB
CLE 002 000 000 - 2 7  3
MN  100 000 101 - 3 8  3

HR: J. Romano (9)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
A. Joss     8.2  3  3  0  3  1  
J. Santana  6.0  2  1  1  1  3 

CLE 50-58, MN 61-47

Minnesota’s Santana & Johnson Tame New York Bats

killeb
July 31: Minnesota 9, New York 4

Minnesota took the singles train to Yankee Stadium and swatted 12 one-baggers. Harmon Killebrew nabbed five singles in five plate appearances. Kirby Puckett broke the mold with a double and a homer.

Johan Santana held the big New York bats to three runs, all on a Robinson Cano dinger.

                 R  H BB
MN 210 005 010 - 9 14  4
NY 030 000 000 - 3  6  5
HR: K. Puckett (4), R. Cano (11)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
J. Santana  7.0  3  3  1  4  5  
L. Gomez    5.2  8  5  1  2  0 

MN 57-46, NY 54-49

August 1: Minnesota 5, New York 3

After facing Santana and his #1 ERA, the Yankees got to face Walter Johnson with the second best ERA in the loop. The Big Train also held NY to three runs, but in a complete game. The Twins again placed 12 singles in this one. Tony Oliva and the streaking Joe Mauer collected three apiece.

                 R  H BB
MN 000 004 100 - 5 13  2
NY 000 100 020 - 3 10  2

HR: none

starters      IP  R ER HR BB SO
W. Johnson   9.0  3  3  0  2  6  
R. Caldwell  6.1  5  2  0  2  4 

MN 58-46, NY 54-50

August 2: New York 8, Minnesota 6

After the suffocating pitching of Santana & Johnson, Inc., the Yanks teed off on Bert Blyleven with a vengeance. Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, and Cano all slammed homers against Bly in the first inning, earning him the hook after recording just two outs. Dutch Leonard came on in relief and was greeted with the Yankees’ fourth homer of the inning, this time courtesy of Alex Rodriguez, for the Yankees fifth run of the inning.

You’d think the game might have been over then and there, but the Twins actually stormed back to take a 6-5 lead in the fourth. Mauer was huge again and went 4-for-4 with a double and a dinger. He has 21 hits in his last nine games.

But A-Rod hit his second homer in the bottom of the sixth to tie it at 6-6, and Charlie Keller, Gehrig, and Bill Dickey put some hits together in the seventh inning to score the winning runs.

This was the fifth straight series win for Minnesota, and they now find themselves in third place and just three games out.

                 R  H BB
MN 002 211 000 - 6 15  1
NY 500 001 20x - 8 11  2
HR: H. Killebrew (6), J. Mauer (6), L. Gehrig (28),
B. Ruth (23), R. Cano (12), A. Rodriguez-2 (14)

starters      IP  R ER HR BB SO
B. Blyleven  0.2  4  4  3  0  1  
R. Clemens   4.1  5  5  1  1  2 

MN 58-47, NY 55-50

 

Minnesota Delivers Twin Wins in Texas

July 28: Minnesota 5, Texas 4

After getting the first out of the inning, Bert Blyleven put the Twins in a pickle by walking two batters in the bottom of the eighth. Eddie Guardado came on in relief and made things worse by hitting Juan Gonzalez to load the bases, and then giving up a two-run double to A-Rod that got Texas within a run with runners on second and third and one out. Next up, Adrian Beltre hit a middle-depth fly ball to centerfielder Kirby Puckett, and Gonzalez made a risky tag-up from third representing the tying run. Puckett strong-armed a bullet to Joe Mauer in plenty of time to cut down Gonzalez at the plate to finish off the double play.

Puckett also had his fifth straight game with two or more hits.

                  R H BB
MN  002 001 020 - 5 7  3
TEX 000 101 020 - 4 7  4

HR: H. Killebrew (5), R. Palmeiro (18)

starters      IP  R ER HR BB SO
B. Blyleven  7.1  3  3  1  2  5  
C. Hough     8.0  5  5  1  3  3 

MN 55-45, TEX 44-57

July 29: Minnesota 3, Texas 2mauer

Jim Shaw and Yu Darvish matched each other with seven innings pitched and two runs allowed.

With Francisco Cordero pitching the top of the ninth for Texas, Joe Cronin led off with a double and Mauer drove him in with a single for the winner. Mauer also knocked a two-run homer in the second and collected all three RBI for Minnesota.

                  R H BB
MN  020 000 001 - 3 8  5
TEX 001 000 010 - 2 9  2

HR: J. Mauer (5)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
J. Shaw     7.0  2  2  0  2  3  
Y. Darvish  7.0  2  2  1  4  7 

MN 56-45, TEX 44-58

July 30: Texas 11, Minnesota 2

Texas never quite knows what they’re going to get from Gerald Perry when his turn in the rotation comes around. His season ERA is unimpressive at 4.82, inflated by five starts in which he gave up six or more earned runs. In his other 16 starts, he’s allowed no more than four earned. He matched his finest line of the season with a complete game, two-run game against the high-average lineup of Minnesota. He yielded eight hits, but they were all singles.

Texas bashed one homer off all four Twins hurlers in the game (Camilo Pascual, Firpo Marberry, Al Worthington, and Eddie Guardado). Pascual struck out Texas’s first batter of the game, but never recorded another out. Two walks, four singles, one error, and one Julio Franco home run later, Pascual hit the showers, but Texas kept raking. Josh Hamilton, Juan Gonzalez, and Franco all drove three hits.

Texas doesn’t do many things well, but they do know how to hit the ball over the fence. They have the most homers in the league (132) and eight different Rangers have double-digit dongs, easily the most in the league.

Minnesota took four of six from Texas on the season.

                   R  H BB
MN  000 100 100 -  2  8  3
TEX 700 001 21x - 11 16  5

HR: M. Hargrove (7), J. Hamilton (11),
J. Franco (12), A. Rodriguez (22)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
C. Pascual  0.1  7  5  1  2  1  
G. Perry    9.0  2  2  0  3  1 

MN 56-46, TEX 45-58

Minnesota Secures Series in Toronto

July 25: Toronto 3, Minnesota 2

Roy Halladay nicely kept the Minnesota offense in check, but Kirby Puckett scored two with Joe Cronin driving him in both times. That was enough for a 2-0 Twins lead after seven and a half innings because Camilo Pascual was doing even better holding down the Blue Jay bats.

Rod Carew made an error to start the bottom of the eighth that allowed Gregg Zaun to reach. Tony Fernandez followed that up with a triple to cut the score to 2-1. Joe Nathan came in and struck out his first two men before Carlos Delgado unleashed his 21st bomb for the winning runs.

                  R H BB
MN  101 000 000 - 2 8  2
TOR 000 000 03x - 3 4  4

HR: C. Delgado (21)

starters      IP  R ER HR BB SO
C. Pascual   7.0  2  0  0  4  7  
R. Halladay  7.0  2  2  0  1  3 

MN 52-45, TOR 44-53

July 26: Minnesota 6, Toronto 3

This time it was Toronto carrying a 2-0 lead late into the game. Jimmy Key was shocking the house for the first six innings by outdueling Johan Santana, who gave up two solo dingers. But a Roberto Alomar error in the top of the seventh seemed to unravel everything for Toronto and they watched Minnesota put up six runs in the final three innings

                  R H BB
MN  000 000 231 - 6 9  3
TOR 001 100 001 - 3 7  3
HR: J. Bautista (16), G. Zaun (2)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
J. Santana  6.0  2  2  2  1  5  
J. Key      7.0  4  3  0  0  1 

MN 53-45, TOR 44-54

mauerJuly 27: Minnesota 6, Toronto 0

The Doyle Alexander magic seems to be slipping away in his last two starts, which have been the shortest outings of his season. He could have used plenty of magic in this one since he was going up against Walter Johnson, who tossed his second straight shut-out and allowed just three hits.

Joe Mauer has struggled with the bat this season (.304 wOBA), but is getting hot of late and bashed four hits and a homer. Sam Rice collected three hits, and four other Twins had two-hit games. Mauer and Kirby Puckett both have four straight multi-hit games.

Minnesota took four of six from Toronto this season.

                  R  H BB
MN  023 000 100 - 6 17  0
TOR 000 000 000 - 0  3  5

HR: J. Mauer (4)

starters       IP  R ER HR BB SO
W. Johnson    9.0  0  0  0  5  6  
D. Alexander  3.0  5  5  1  0  0 

MN 54-45, TOR 44-55

Minnesota Storms Back Late In Rubber Match To Take Series In Baltimore

walterJuly 22: Minnesota 7, Baltimore 0

Lest anyone was worried about Walter Johnson after he made his shortest outing of the year last time out, he got back to being Walter Johnson and shut out the strong Baltimore offense. All the Orioles not named Ken Singleton went 1-for-28 with zero walks. Singleton was scorching hot all series, and was perfect against Johnson with two walks, a single, and a double, but never could get around to score since his mates were all getting shut down.

Joe Cronin slapped two triples, and Mickey Vernon walked twice, singled, and homered.

                  R  H BB
MN  002 300 200 - 7 14  3
BAL 000 000 000 - 0  3  2

HR: M. Vernon (8)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
W. Johnson  9.0  0  0  0  2  5  
U. Shocker  6.2  7  4  1  3  1 

MN 51-43, BAL 52-42

July 23: Baltimore 6, Minnesota 4

The Twins’ first five batters of the fourth inning all reached safely, which brought an end to starter Johnny Niggeling’s day and gave Minnesota a 4-1 lead. After Niggeling’s short day, a string of four Orioles relievers (Hoyt Wilhelm, Stu Miller, Darren O’Day, and Zach Britton) were aces and kept the Twins off the scoreboard the rest of the way.

The Orioles drilled solo homers against Bert Blyleven in the third, fourth, and fifth to get within a run of Minnesota. Eddie Guardado, the Twins shutdown southpaw reliever, was on in the sixth and did not have his good stuff. Ken Williams made it four straight innings with a home run for Baltimore, but this time it was a three run jobbie to give Baltimore the winning runs.

                  R  H BB
MN  000 400 000 - 4  8  5
BAL 001 113 00x - 6 11  5

HR: K. Singleton (8), F. Robinson (19),
K. Williams (7), C. Ripken (7)

starters       IP  R ER HR BB SO
B. Blyleven   5.1  3  3  3  2  4  
J. Niggeling  3.0  4  3  0  3  2 

MN 51-44, BAL 53-42

July 24: Minnesota 7, Baltimore 5

Minnesota’s Dutch Leonard got another start in what had been Jim Shaw’s spot in the rotation most of the year and it was rough going for Leonard this time out. The Orioles jumped him for five quick runs and Leonard was out after recording only six outs. Frank Robinson drove in four of the five against Leonard on two home runs.

Shaw himself came on in long relief and, wouldn’t you know it, was aces. Sort of. He somehow didn’t allow any runs in six innings of work, despite placing birds on bases with abandon. Shaw stranded 11 Orioles in his six innings, including leaving the bases loaded in three frames.

Jim Palmer was dandy for eight innings and handed over a 5-3 lead to Darren O’Day in the top of the ninth, but O’Day ran into a bunch of Minnesota hits and coughed up the lead. Mickey Vernon, Kirby Puckett, Joe Cronin, Joe Mauer, and Cecil Travis all roughed up O’Day with base hits and all of a sudden the Twins had won the series. Kirby Puckett had a big day with three doubles.

It wasn’t a good series for Baltimore, but it certainly wasn’t Ken Williams’ fault. He reached safely 11 times in 14 plate appearances, including two doubles a dinger. He rocketed up the leader boards to second in wOBA and runs created.

                  R  H BB
MN  011 000 104 - 7 11  0
BAL 212 000 000 - 5 13  6

HR: G. Goslin (2), F. Robinson-2 (21)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
D. Leonard  2.0  5  5  2  0  0  
J. Palmer   8.0  3  3  1  0  3 

MN 52-44, BAL 53-43