Chess Match: Twins shut down
Minnesota stays aggressive, but situations don't pan out
The Oakland Athletics dominated for much of the afternoon. There were only a few big decisions that had an impact on the game.
Torii bunterThe situation: Justin Morneau led off the Twins' second inning with a double off Athletics pitcher Dan Haren, bringing up Torii Hunter. The decision: Hunter tried to bunt on the first pitch. The outcome: Hunter was trying to surprise the Athletics and maybe beat the ball out for a base hit as well as move Morneau to third. He got Morneau to third but was thrown out at first by Oakland third baseman Eric Chavez. The Twins didn't get Morneau home. Rondell White popped out and, after Jason Tyner walked, Jason Bartlett struck out to end the threat.
Zapped at homeThe situation: The Twins, trailing 4-1, had Morneau at third and Hunter at second with one out in the sixth inning when White singled to right. The decision: Third-base coach Scott Ullger sent Hunter home against Oakland right-fielder Milton Bradley. The outcome: Bradley made a strong throw to the plate and Hunter was tagged out by catcher Jason Kendall as he tried to slide around the tag. The rally died as Tyner then struck out.
Pitching around FrankThe situation: The Athletics, leading 4-2, had nobody on and two outs in the seventh with Frank Thomas at the plate. He was facing left-hander Dennys Reyes.
The decision: The Twins elected to pitch around Thomas and walk him so they could get a lefty vs. lefty matchup between Reyes and Chavez.The outcome: Reyes walked Chavez as well, and then first baseman Morneau fumbled Jay Payton's grounder for an error. The Athletics ended up scoring four runs to break the game open.