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|Twins fall run short in Game 3 loss
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10/12/2002 00:21 am ET
Twins fall run short in Game 3 loss
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- An intense baseball game left in the hands of J.C. Romero and the Twins bullpen is usually a comforting feeling. But this time, no one was breathing a sigh of relief.
With a 1-1 tie through six innings of Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, Minnesota used four relievers to stop an Angels rally. Romero anchored the inning by retiring the final batter to leave the bases loaded.
After the Twins were held scoreless in the top of the eighth, Romero returned for the bottom half, but did not fare as well. He surrendered a leadoff home run to Troy Glaus, the difference in a 2-1 Twins loss to Anaheim. The Angels now lead the best-of-seven series, 2-1, with Game 4 set for Saturday at 6:30 p.m. CT.
"Trust me, the last thing I expected was to give up a home run in that inning," said Romero, who was 9-2 with a 1.89 ERA during the regular season.
Romero fell into a 3-1 count against Glaus before he dealt a fastball high and away. Glaus took the ball to the opposite field, and it just cleared the wall in the right-field pavilion, bringing the crowd of 44,234 fans at Edison International Field to a wild frenzy.
"[With] a 3-1 count, he was hacking," Romero said. "He got good wood on it, and the ball went out. It barely went out, but it's a home run, anyway.
"Every time you're behind in the count facing these guys, you've got to execute your pitches. I got behind in the count, and it cost me today."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had no qualms about going back to the lefty Romero against the right-handed Glaus. Even though LaTroy Hawkins and Mike Jackson were already used up in the seventh inning, two right-handers were still available in the bullpen.
"J.C.'s been our guy in the eighth inning all season long," Gardenhire said. "He's faced a lot of right-handed hitters. He just got the pitch up to Glaus right there. He gets righties and lefties out. Look at the numbers; they will tell you."
Pushed to the background were two excellent outings by left-handed starters Eric Milton and Jarrod Washburn. Milton gave the Twins six innings and allowed only one run, a Garret Anderson homer, on five hits; Milton surrendered only two walks and notched four strikeouts.
Milton said the Twins' bullpen has come up huge all season, and he did not feel frustration about not getting a 'W'.
"Tonight was just one pitch, a mistake, and they came out on top," Milton said. "You can't say anything bad about the way anyone played tonight. It was a tough-luck ballgame."
The Twins trailed much of the game by a 1-0 score -- until the seventh inning, when Dustan Mohr led off with his second hit of the game, a single to left field off Washburn. Jacque Jones' clutch two-out, RBI double off Washburn scored Mohr and tied the game at 1.
The game then came down to a battle of bullpens, and all that was left was to determine was who would blink first. The Twins could not make anything happen against Francisco Rodriguez (3-0) in their half of the eighth. That had Minnesota's players hoping they could get by until they got another chance in the ninth, but it wasn't to be.
"You hope to make them manufacture a run; [you] hope you don't give it up on a homer," first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz said. "You realize you gave it up to a guy who hits a ton of homers. It's easier to take when they beat you. When you beat yourself, it's tough to swallow."
Angels closer Troy Percival finished off the Twins with a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth for his fourth save of the playoffs. Mohr said that there is no reason for the Twins to feel discouraged by the tough loss.
"It'd be easy to do that, but I don't see anyone doing it," Mohr said. "Now we'll forget about this and realize that we played a great game."
Romero was second in the AL in games this season, with 81. He didn't often find himself on the hook for a loss. All he can do is hope he gets another chance in Game 4.
Said Romero, "I'm going to go home, put this behind me, and come back tomorrow."
And it's likely that Minnesota will feel no less comfortable having him back on the mound.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. This report was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
|Anaheim Angels 2, Minnesota Twins 1|
|Minnesota|| AB|| R|| H|| RBI|| BB||SO||LOB||AVG|
a-Struck out for LeCroy in the 8th.
2B: Jones (1, Washburn).
RBI: Jones (1).
2-out RBI: Jones.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Hunter, LeCroy, Pierzynski, Guzman.
Team LOB: 7.
SB: Mohr (1, 2nd base off Washburn/Molina, B).
|Anaheim|| AB|| R|| H|| RBI|| BB||SO||LOB||AVG|
|Molina, B, C
|Molina, J, C
1-Ran for Molina, B in the 7th.
2B: Anderson (1, Milton).
HR: Anderson (1, 2nd inning off Milton, 0 on, 0 out), Glaus (1, 8th inning off Romero, 0 on, 0 out).
RBI: Anderson (1), Glaus (1).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Gil, Wooten, Anderson 2.
Team LOB: 9.
E: Eckstein (1, throw), Gil (1, drop ball).
Jackson pitched to 1 batter in the 7th.
Pitches-strikes: Milton 99-68, Hawkins 10-6, Santana 4-2, Jackson 6-2, Romero 18-11, Washburn 106-75, Rodriguez 11-8, Percival 7-5.
Ground outs-fly outs: Milton 0-14, Hawkins 1-0, Santana 1-0, Jackson 0-0, Romero 1-1, Washburn 5-9, Rodriguez 0-1, Percival 0-3.
Batters faced: Milton 25, Hawkins 3, Santana 1, Jackson 1, Romero 5, Washburn 29, Rodriguez 3, Percival 3.
Inherited runners-scored: Santana 2-0, Jackson 2-0, Romero 3-0.
Umpires: HP: Brian Gorman. 1B: Larry Young. 2B: Dana DeMuth. 3B: Ed Rapuano. LF: Ed Montague. RF: Mike Everitt.
Weather: 68 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 7 mph, Out to RF.
Box score official statistics approved by Major League Baseball and the Office of the Commissioner