Indians 11, Twins 4
In the bottom of the 4th inning, the Twins were down by 4 runs. Henry Blanco started the inning with a walk, followed by a Nick Punto single. With men at first and second, Cristian Guzman stepped to the plate to face Cliff Lee. Guzman grounded a 2-1 pitch right at the second baseman who started a 4-6-3 double play.
Top Players WPA
Matt Lawton CLE 0.17
Nick Punto MIN 0.14
Kyle Lohse MIN – 0.27
Cristian Guzman MIN -0.14
This game was the third of the opening three-game series of the season. The Twins and Indians played 26 innings of baseball in the previous two games – both Twins wins. Less important than the score of this game, however, was the injuries that were already beginning to pile up for the Twins. Torii Hunter left Tuesday’s game with a strained hamstring, and ultimately would go on the 15-day disabled list. Interestingly, it was Michael Cuddyer who spoke to Hunter to convince him that going on the DL was the right move.
More concerning for the Twins, however, was their star-in-the-making catcher, who was injured in only his second major league appearance.
In the top of the third inning against Cleveland Tuesday, Mauer ran behind the plate on Coco Crisp’s foul pop up. The 20-year-old said his shin guard got caught as he slid across the Metrodome’s new rubber warning track.
“I felt it as I soon as I slid,” Mauer said.
Mauer remained in the game though and led off the bottom of the third with a single. Later in the inning, he was running hard around third base on a Luis Rivas hit when he had to abruptly hold up.
“Once I started running and I got to third — it just locked up,” Mauer said. “I knew I had to get out of there.”
It was announced the next morning that Mauer needed surgery.
Mauer joined Hunter, Matthew LeCroy, and Grant Balfour as casualties of the first week of the 2004 season.