Friday July 11, 2003
Minnesota Twins 44-46 2nd AL Central vs Anaheim Angels 46-43 3rd AL West
The 2002 baseball season was a magical one for the Anaheim Angels. Mike Scioscia and his team rode a quality lineup and a top pitching staff to the AL Wild Card, and eventually a World Series victory.
One of the members of that solid 2002 pitching staff, Ramon Ortiz, was coming off of a career year. At the age of 29 he had career highs in IP (217.3), ERA (3.77), ERA+ (115), WHIP (1.18), and strikeouts (162). Though he didn’t pitch particularly well in the postseason, Ortiz did have a ring and a big raise to round out the most successful season in his career.
2003 didn’t start off as well for the Angels. Though they had a winning record, they were already 9.5 games behind Seattle in the AL West, and 4.5 games behind Oakland. It appeared that Anaheim would have to get moving in order to have a shot at a repeat.
The Twins, who had been horrible through the late 1990’s, also pointed to 2002 as one of their most successful seasons. First year manager Ron Gardenhire took the team that was to be contracted at the end of 2001 to its first Division title since 1991. Minnesota was able to upset the Oakland A’s in the first round, before being bounced in the ALCS by the eventual champions.
The start of 2003 found the pre-season favorite Twins looking up at an unfamiliar team. On July 10, the Kansas City Royals sat on top of the AL Central, and the Twins found themselves below the .500 mark and 4.5 games out of first.
The Twins came into the three-game weekend series in Anaheim a little shorthanded. Torii Hunter was attending a funeral, and Lew Ford was out with a bruised forearm. It seemed that the team would benefit from the All-Star Break that was scheduled right after the Anaheim series.
Johan Santana was the announced starter for the game. He had been used primarily out of the bullpen so far in 2003, but Gardenhire moved him into the starting rotation in an effort to jump start what had been a disappointing season from a starting staff.
Ron Gardenhire 2nd Season (2nd with Minnesota)
Mike Scioscia 4th Season (4th with Anaheim)
MIN Johan Santana (L) 4-1 2.86/2.70/1.20
ANA Ramon Ortiz 10-6 4.66/5.03/1.51
Twins Lineup 4.7 RPG
1. Chris Gomez SS .293/.326/.415 0 HR
2. Doug Mientkiewicz 1B .296/.355/.467 7 HR
3. Corey Koskie 3B .300/.392/.498 14 HR
4. Matthew LeCroy DH .303/.339/.521 9 HR
5. AJ Pierzynski C .294/.333/.475 9 HR
6. Bobby Kielty RF .254/.371/.430 9 HR
7. Dustan Mohr LF .278/.336/.440 8 HR
8. Denny Hocking CF .265/.322/.386 1 HR
9. Luis Rivas 2B .267/.322/.363 1 HR
Angels Lineup 4.8 RPG
1. Darin Erstad CF .277/.328/.347 3 HR
2. Scott Spezio 1B .251/.329/.429 8 HR
3. Tim Salmon RF .277/.381/.482 13 HR
4. Garrett Anderson LF .313/.343/.595 21 HR
5. Troy Glaus 3B .253/.352/.473 15 HR
6. Shawn Wooten DH .286/.344/.445 5 HR
7. Bengie Molina C .290/.320/.452 9 HR
8. Adam Kennedy 2B .251/.321/.333 4 HR
9. Benji Gil SS .196/.221/.290 1 HR
Stale ending kills fresh start
Solid effort by lefty Santana fails to shake Twins from their tailspin
by Jim Souhan – Star Tribune
Friday night, Johan Santana bolstered his reputation as a fine young pitcher deserving of a place in the Twins’ rotation. As a savior, he needs work.
Santana’s solid pitching did nothing to end the woes of the woebegone Twins, who lost 5-0 to Anaheim, before an announced crowd of 43,442 at Edison Field.
The Twins extended their current losing streak to six games, and tensions flared. After giving up a two-run homer in the eighth, Twins reliever J.C. Romero rebuked catcher A.J. Pierzynski when Pierzynski visited the mound.
When they reached the dugout after the inning, Romero approached Pierzynski and flung his arms out, as if yelling at Pierzynski, before pitching coach Rick Anderson stepped between them.
“I thought Santana pitched very well,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We lost one ball that cost him a run. . . . We didn’t score anyway. We had our chances. We just can’t seem to get a big hit right now.”
Indeed, the Twins managed more threats against Angels starter Ramon Ortiz but didn’t break through.
Stars of the Game
1. Ramon Ortiz ANA 6 IP 3 H 0 R 0 ER 4 BB 5 K
2. Johan Santana MIN 6 IP 5 H 3 R 3 ER 0 BB 4 K
3. Tim Salmon ANA 1-4 HR, 2 RBI
Corey Koskie left the game early with a lower back strain, and didn’t return to the lineup until early August. As it turned out, the Twins played some of their best baseball in his absence. After the Angels completed the sweep to head into the break, Bobby Kielty was dealt to the Blue Jays in exchange for Shannon Stewart, and the 2003 Twins went on a memorable second-half roll to storm their way to another AL Central title. Johan Santana remained in the starting rotation for the rest of 2003 and beyond.
Anaheim was headed in the opposite direction. The defending World Champs went 29-42 after the All-Star break to finish in third place, 19 games out of the division lead. Ramon Ortiz was able to salvage a winning record (16-13), but the rest of his numbers indicated that perhaps his promising 2002 season was the exception and not the rule. Ortiz was traded away after pitching mostly in relief during the 2004 season. He made stops in Cincinnati (83 ERA+) and Washington (79) on his way to Minnesota for the 2007 season.