Even in the era of pitch counts, few complete games and relievers used in particular roles; you don’t see many like this. Twins starter Scott Baker threw seven scoreless innings and left with a 5-0 lead, but the Angels scored five in the eighth and one in the ninth against the bullpen and defeated the Twins, 6-5. Baker became the first major-league starter in 13 years to fashion a scoreless outing of at least seven innings and leave with a lead of at least five runs, only to see his team lose. The last pitcher to be so unlucky was the Yankees’ Hideki Irabu, in a game against the Rangers on May 14, 1998; as did Baker on Friday night; Irabu turned a 5-0 lead over to the bullpen at the start of the eighth and watched his relievers implode, as Texas won, 7-5, in 13 innings. (And, yes, Mariano Rivera himself was one of the culprits: he allowed the tying run in the ninth inning.) Now here’s the moral of the story: the Yankees went on to finish the season with a record of 114 wins and 48 losses, and swept the World Series.
It’s also our unhappy duty to report that as badly as things have gone for the Twins this season, Friday night’s game set a new low. It was the only the second time since the team came to Minnesota in 1961 – and the first time in nearly 40 years – that the Twins have lost a game in which they led by five-or-more runs going into the eighth inning. Since their only previous such loss – to the Yankees on July 30, 1971 – the Twins had gone 755-0 in games in which they took a lead of five-or-more runs into the eighth inning! That was the longest winning streak in major league history in games of that type. Source: Elias