06/11/2002 03:12 am ET
Stingy Twins pen survives battle
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS - When a game lasts 15 innings like the Twins' 6-5 marathon
victory over the Braves Monday, you better have a good bullpen.
Neither side had a problem filling that order. But, it was the Twins' pen that
prevailed this time, combining to throw eight innings of shutout baseball.
"It's a game that's going to come down to pitching," said Twins reliever Mike
Jackson. "Our pen did a great job."
Jackson, the right-handed set-up man, allowed two hits and a walk with a
strikeout in his two innings of work. He took over the game from Twins starter
Eric Milton in the eighth inning.
J.C. Romero, who leads the league with 36 appearances this season, relieved Jackson in the 10th inning. He threw two scoreless innings and limited the Braves to two hits.
"We get adrenaline in the game when facing a team like this," Romero said. "You
want to win, you want to come out on top."
After Eddie Guardado shut down the Braves in the 12th inning, Tony Fiore took it
from there. He went the final three innings for the victory, allowing one hit
and three walks with three strikeouts.
Braves manager Bobby Cox said that Atlanta wasn't able to get it done against
Fiore, whose arsenal is filled with off-speed and breaking pitches.
"We just didn't adjust to Fiore," Cox said. "Sometimes you got to move around in
the box a little bit and take stuff away. We didn't do that."
The Braves' bullpen entered the night with a Major League best 2.54 ERA.
Outlasting that pitching staff was no easy feat, according to Twins manager Ron
"The bullpens for both teams I think have done it all year long," Gardenhire
said. "They shut it down and kept shutting people down. Not too many
opportunities but a few times we had a chance to score and so did they."
Romero said that the Minnesota bullpen has shown its character all season.
"Out of Spring Training, it was like a question mark when people mentioned our
bullpen," Romero said. "We're sticking together and things are going pretty
well. Hopefully, we can (continue to) execute our pitches."
The pitching staff won't have long to collect itself and come back. The Twins
and Braves play again Tuesday evening. Romero said he would be ready.
"We'll try to go home, get our rest and come back tomorrow," he said.
LeCroy has nice return:
Recalled from Triple-A Edmonton and arriving before the game, Matthew LeCroy
found himself as the Twins starting DH and batting fourth in the lineup Monday.
LeCroy handled the task well, going 3-for-6 with an RBI and a run scored. He was
hitting .391 (45-for-115) with nine homers and 35 RBIs in 31 games with Edmonton
and batted .322 (19-for-59) with two home runs and eight RBIs over his two
previous call-ups at Minnesota this season.
With LeCroy in the lineup, it means that David Ortiz will have to spend some
time on the bench. Ortiz entered Monday's game as a pinch hitter and struck out,
lowering his batting average to .232.
"Right now, Matty has been swinging great," Gardenhire said. "He's been killing
the ball down there, so we're going to put him in the lineup and see what
happens and give David a chance to gather himself a little bit."
Jacque Jones was named American League Player of the Week. Jones hit .538
last week with a home run, five doubles and 10 RBIs. The last Twin to win the
award was the now-departed Matt Lawton, who did it last July.
With a fourth-inning single, catcher A.J. Pierzynski extended his hitting
streak to a career-high 14 games.
Infielder Jay Canizaro, who was designated for assignment last Tuesday,
cleared waivers and reported to Triple-A Edmonton Monday.
Mark Sheldon covers the Twins for MLB.com and can be reached at
This article was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its