GOTW: Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Minnesota Twins 2001

August 18, 2001
HHH Metrodome
Tampa Bay Devil Rays 43-80 5th AL East vs
Minnesota Twins 64-58 2nd AL Central

The Pre-Game

The Minnesota Twins, who had not had a winning season since 1993, had jumped out to a fast start in 2001. A young group of home-grown talent made the Twins a contender early, and the team held first place in the Central Division most of the season so far. Mid-August brought some problems for the Twins, however, in the form of an 0-7 road trip, including being swept by the first place Indians in three games, and the lowly Devil Rays in four.

The Twins found themselves four and a half games behind the first place Indians when the Rays made the trip to Minneapolis for a three-game series the following weekend. The Twins lost the first game 9-3, but didn’t lose any ground due to a Cleveland loss to Anaheim that same night.

18,079 fans were in attendance when the Twins tried to end the losing streak and defeat Tampa Bay for the first time in the 2001 season.

Managers
Hal McRae 5th Season (1st with Tampa Bay)
Tom Kelly 16th season (16th with Minnesota)

Pitchers
Nick Bierbrodt 1-2 4.76 ERA vs
Kyle Lohse 3-5 5.74 ERA

Devil Rays Lineup 3.9 RPG
1. Jason Tyner LF .282/.308/.314 0 HR
2. Brent Abernathy 2B .295/.361/.428 4 HR
3. Greg Vaughn DH .228/.323/.441 24 HR
4. Ben Grieve RF .248/.361/.370 9 HR
5. Randy Winn CF .276/.349/.410 5 HR
6. Aubrey Huff 1B .244/.292/.355 5 HR
7. Russ Johnson 3B .286/.380/.419 3 HR
8. Chris Gomez SS .318/.342/.576 5 HR
9. John Flaherty C .232/.259/.343 3 HR

Twins Lineup 4.8 RPG
1. Luis Rivas 2B .254/.305/.349 6 HR
2. Cristian Guzman SS .309/.349/.504 7 HR
3. Doug Mientkiewicz 1B .323/.391/.503 15 HR
4. David Ortiz DH .263/.356/.536 12 HR
5. Torii Hunter CF .257/.294/.478 21 HR
6. Brian Buchanan RF .260/.333/.463 6 HR
7. Corey Koskie 3B .276/.368/.484 18 HR
8. John Barnes LF .000/.083/.000 0 HR
9. Tom Prince C .241/.315/.407 6 HR

The Game

Twins breathe sigh of relief – Koskie hits two home runs as losing streak ends

by Lavelle E. Neal III

The Twins thought they had fortified their rotation with the July 30 addition of veteran Rick Reed. With Reed, Brad Radke, Eric Milton and Joe Mays, the Twins figured they were slump-proof. On Saturday, they got the kind of pitching performance they sorely needed in a 6-4 victory over Tampa Bay that broke an eight-game losing streak. But none of the four aforementioned pitchers had anything to do with it.

Meet 22-year-old Kyle Lohse, whose steady six innings helped the Twins look like a competitive team again. The rookie righthander (4-5, 5.37 ERA) held the Devil Rays to one run in six innings on two hits while walking three.

Lohse became the first starter other than Milton to win a game this month.

“Sometimes you just happen to be the guy that’s on the spot, and that was me,” Lohse said. “I was able to get a flow into my game, and that helped me be successful.”

His outing Saturday was more than just a good start. It continued his run of effective pitching while allowing the offense to come to the plate without having to play catchup.

The game wasn’t easy. Tampa Bay scored three in the ninth before Todd Jones, subbing for flu-ridden LaTroy Hawkins, earned his first save as a Twin. But it was enough.

“We were able to get the last out, hook or crook,” Twins manager Tom Kelly said.

Kelly has long held the belief that good pitching gets the defense off the field quickly and, in the end, helps the hitting. Lohse’s night might have had that effect as Brian Buchanan tied a career high with four hits, including his seventh homer, and Corey Koskie hit two homers – his 19th and 20th of the season.

“That helps immensely,” Kelly said…

Boxscore from Retrosheet:

Game Played on Saturday, August 18, 2001 (N) at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome

TB  A    1  0  0    0  0  0    0  0  3  -   4  6  1
MIN A    0  0  1    1  0  2    0  2  x  -   6 11  0
BATTING
Tampa Bay Devil Rays  AB   R   H RBI      BB  SO      PO   A
Tyner lf               4   1   2   1       1   0       4   0
Abernathy 2b           5   0   0   0       0   2       1   3
Vaughn dh              4   0   0   0       0   2       0   0
Grieve rf              3   1   1   0       1   0       1   0
Winn cf                3   1   1   1       1   1       1   0
Huff 1b                3   0   0   0       0   1       6   1
  Hall ph              1   0   0   0       0   0       0   0
Johnson 3b             4   1   1   0       0   1       2   2
Gomez ss               3   0   1   2       1   0       3   3
Flaherty c             3   0   0   0       1   1       6   0
  Rolls pr             0   0   0   0       0   0       0   0
Bierbrodt p            0   0   0   0       0   0       0   0
  Colome p             0   0   0   0       0   0       0   0
  Yan p                0   0   0   0       0   0       0   0
Totals                33   4   6   4       5   8      24   9
FIELDING - 
DP: 2. Abernathy-Gomez-Huff, Huff-Gomez-Huff.
E: Huff (19).
BATTING - 
2B: Winn (17,off Lohse).
Team LOB: 7.
BASERUNNING - 
SB: Tyner 2 (17,2nd base off Lohse/Prince 2); Gomez (2,3rd base off Lohse/Prince).
Minnesota Twins       AB   R   H RBI      BB  SO      PO   A
Rivas 2b               4   0   1   0       1   1       0   1
Guzman ss              4   0   2   0       0   1       1   2
Mientkiewicz 1b        4   0   1   1       0   1       7   0
Ortiz dh               3   0   0   0       1   1       0   0
Hunter cf              3   0   0   0       1   1       5   0
Buchanan rf            4   3   4   1       0   0       2   0
Koskie 3b              4   2   2   4       0   0       1   1
Barnes lf              3   1   1   0       0   1       2   0
Prince c               4   0   0   0       0   0       8   1
Lohse p                0   0   0   0       0   0       1   1
  Cressend p           0   0   0   0       0   0       1   1
  Guardado p           0   0   0   0       0   0       0   0
  T. Jones p           0   0   0   0       0   0       0   0
Totals                33   6  11   6       3   6      27   7
BATTING - 
HR: Buchanan (7,4th inning off Bierbrodt 0 on 1 out); Koskie 2 (20,6th inning
off Bierbrodt 1 on 2 out,8th inning off Yan 1 on 0 out).
HBP: Barnes (1,by Bierbrodt).
IBB: Ortiz (4,by Colome).
Team LOB: 7.
BASERUNNING - 
SB: Rivas (22,2nd base off Bierbrodt/Flaherty); Guzman (19,2nd base off Colome/Flaherty).
PITCHING
Tampa Bay Devil Rays  IP     H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR
Bierbrodt L(1-3)       6     8   4   4   2   5   2
Colome                 1     1   0   0   1   0   0
Yan                    1     2   2   2   0   1   1
Totals                 8    11   6   6   3   6   3
Minnesota Twins       IP     H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR
Lohse W(4-5)           6     2   1   1   3   5   0
Cressend               2.1   1   1   1   0   2   0
Guardado               0.1   1   2   2   1   0   0
T. Jones SV(12)        0.1   2   0   0   1   1   0
Totals                 9     6   4   4   5   8   0
WP: Bierbrodt 2 (2), Lohse (5).
HBP: Bierbrodt (2,Barnes).
IBB: Colome (3,Ortiz).
Umpires: Paul Emmel, Dan Iassogna, Scott Packard, Tim McClelland
Time of Game: 2:51   Attendance: 30018

Stars of the Game

1. coreykoskiep1.jpgCorey Koskie
2. buchanan.jpgBrian Buchanan
3. lohse_56402.jpgKyle Lohse

The Post-Game

The 2001 Twins never regained first place, but would sit on top of the AL Central for three straight years from 2002-2005.

The Devil Rays seemed to hit rock bottom when they finished 2001 with 100 losses, but the worst was yet to come. In 2002, the Rays lost 106 games. In its seven seasons as a franchise, the Rays have yet to win more than 70 games.

The real significance of this game, however, is that it is one of the few Twins games in the last several years that I didn’t either watch, listen to, or follow online. While several of our family and friends from out of town attended this game, my wife and I set out for our honeymoon, and the start of our marriage that turns five years old today.

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