A's melt down, Twins tie it up
|| ATHLETICS COVERAGE
||SIGHTS & SOUNDS
|| TWINS COVERAGE
By Mychael Urban / MLB.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The A's suffered an epic meltdown in Game 4 of the American League Division Series, and if they're going to advance past the first round of the playoffs for the first time in three years, they'll have to buck some serious negative history.
In helping the Twins to an 11-2 victory Saturday with two errors, two walks, a hit batter and two wild pitches during Minnesota's ALDS-record seven-run fourth inning, the A's fell to 0-5 in potential series-clinching games over the past three seasons.
They lost Game 5 of the 2000 ALDS to New York, they blew a 2-0 series lead last year to New York, and Saturday's loss sent them home looking to end the ugly streak Sunday.
Set for a 1:05 p.m. PT start, Game 5 pits Mark Mulder, who won Game 2 in Oakland, against Minnesota's Brad Radke, who won Game 1.
In front of another baseball-record crowd at the Metrodome, Twins starter Eric Milton came out throwing heat, routinely hitting 96 on the radar gun, but the A's scored first for the fourth consecutive game with a quick rally in the top of the third inning. After Scott Hatteberg worked Milton for a two-out walk, Miguel Tejada lined a 2-1 fastball into the first row of left-field seats.
The Twins' game-tying rally in the bottom of the inning took quite a bit longer., and it forced Oakland's Tim Hudson, who was working on three days of rest for the first time this season, to throw 33 taxing pitches.
A.J. Pierzynski started it with a leadoff single to cap a seven-pitch at-bat, and although Hudson struck out the next batter, Luis Rivas, it took him 10 pitches to do it. Jacque Jones hit Hudson's next pitch to right for a ground-rule double,and Pierzynski scored on Cristian Guzman's groundout to short. Corey Koskie then worked a seven-pitch walk, and David Ortiz bounced an RBI double into the left-field corner to tie it before Torii Hunter bounced out to third to end the inning.
Hudson never got out of Oakland's abysmal fourth as everything started to unravel after a one-out walk to Pierzynski. More >
A's-Twins Game 4 highlights 56k
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Facing postseason elimination on Saturday, the Twins had to play
as if there was no tomorrow. With the never-quit determination they've shown all
season, combined with an A's defensive meltdown, Minnesota is now assured of at
least one more day of playoff life.
Minnesota sent 11 batters to the plate in a seven-run fourth inning, on its
way to an 11-2, Game 4 defeat of the A's. The best-of-five American League
Division Series in now even at 2-2, forcing a deciding Game 5 to be played
Sunday afternoon at Oakland.
Doug Mientkiewicz had two fourth-inning hits, tying an ALDS record, and also
provided a two-run home run in the seventh inning to give him three RBIs on the
day. David Ortiz and Torii Hunter both had two hits and an RBI each.
Twins starter Eric Milton (1-0) earned the win with a strong seven-inning
performance. Milton allowed two runs on six hits, while walking one and striking
out three. He bested A's starter Tim Hudson (0-1), who was knocked out in the pivotal fourth inning.
The game was already tied at 2 in the fourth when the Twins broke it open
just as Oakland's defensive execution broke down. Mientkiewicz sparked the rally
with a leadoff single to center field and moved to second base on A.J.
Pierzynski's one-out walk. Luis Rivas then slapped a routine force-play grounder
to Miguel Tejada at shortstop. As Mientkiewicz ran to third, Tejada's throw
sailed over Eric Chavez's head at third base and into the Twins' dugout,
allowing the runner to score.
Hudson followed with a wild pitch to Jacque Jones, bringing Pierzynski home to make it 4-2 and advancing Rivas to third base. Guzman hit a grounder to Scott Hatteberg at first base, who fired home to get Rivas, but his throw bounced off the dirt for the inning's second error. Rivas was safe at home, giving the Twins a 5-2 lead. Jones advanced to second base.
That play brought Hudson's day to an end, with Oakland manager Art Howe calling on lefty pitcher Ted Lilly. More >
|Minnesota Twins 11, Oakland Athletics 2|
|Oakland|| AB|| R|| H|| RBI|| BB||SO||LOB||AVG|
a-Struck out for Long in the 9th.
2B: Hatteberg (2, Milton), Dye (2, Milton), Piatt (1, Lohse).
HR: Tejada (1, 3rd inning off Milton, 1 on, 2 out).
RBI: Tejada 2 (4).
2-out RBI: Tejada 2.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Chavez, Long, Ellis 2, Byrnes.
Team LOB: 6.
E: Tejada (1, throw), Hatteberg (1, throw).
Outfield assists: Justice (Mohr at home).
|Minnesota|| AB|| R|| H|| RBI|| BB||SO||LOB||AVG|
a-Struck out for Ortiz in the 6th. b-Struck out for Jones in the 7th.
2B: Jones (3, Hudson), Ortiz (1, Hudson), Hunter (3, Lilly), Rivas (1, Lilly).
HR: Mientkiewicz (2, 7th inning off Lilly, 1 on, 0 out).
RBI: Guzman (2), Ortiz (1), Koskie (5), Hunter (2), Mientkiewicz 3 (4).
2-out RBI: Ortiz, Hunter, Mientkiewicz.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Hunter 2, Kielty.
Team LOB: 5.
|Oakland|| IP|| H|| R|| ER|| BB||SO||HR||ERA|
|Hudson (L, 0-1)
|Minnesota|| IP|| H|| R|| ER|| BB||SO||HR||ERA|
|Milton (W, 1-0)
WP: Hudson, Lilly.
HBP: Jones (by Hudson).
Pitches-strikes: Hudson 90-60, Lilly 53-38, Bowie 21-14, Milton 108-75, Lohse 29-20.
Ground outs-fly outs: Hudson 5-1, Lilly 1-6, Bowie 1-0, Milton 5-13, Lohse 0-3.
Batters faced: Hudson 20, Lilly 16, Bowie 4, Milton 28, Lohse 7.
Inherited runners-scored: Lilly 2-2, Bowie 1-0.
Umpires: HP: Mike Winters. 1B: Tim McClelland. 2B: Fieldin Culbreth. 3B: Jerry Crawford. LF: Doug Eddings. RF: Jim Joyce.
Weather: 70 degrees, dome.
Wind: 0 mph, None.
Box score official statistics approved by Major League Baseball and the Office of the Commissioner
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