CLEVELAND 5, MINNESOTA 4 IN CLEVELAND
Date: Saturday, September 12.
Batting stars: Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a double, scoring once and driving in one. Gene Larkin was 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Randy Bush was 2-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch and an RBI.
Pitching star: Les Straker pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts.
Opposition stars: Brook Jacoby was 2-for-4 with a home run (his twenty-seventh) and a triple, driving in two. Mel Hall was 2-for-4 with a home run (his fifteenth) and two runs. Chris Bando was 2-for-3 with a home run, his fifth.
The game: Puckett had an RBI double and Larkin a run-scoring single in the first inning to give the Twins a 2-0 lead. It stayed 2-0 until the fourth, when Jacoby homered to make it 2-1. Solo homers by Hall and Bando put the Indians ahead 3-2 in the seventh. The Twins got five consecutive singles to score twice in the eighth, with the RBIs going to Bush and Larkin, to go up 4-3. Juan Berenguer pitched a perfect eighth. Jeff Reardon was presumably considered unavailable after having pitched two innings the day before, so Berenguer remained in to pitch the ninth. He retired Joe Carter, but Hall singled and Jacoby tripled to tie the score. Cory Snyder then hit a sacrifice fly to bring home pinch-runner Junior Noboa with the winning run.
Of note: Bush was again in the leadoff spot in right field, with Tom Brunansky in left and Dan Gladden out of the lineup. Gladden was used as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, delivering a single and scoring a run...Bush batted first twenty-eight times in his career, twelve of them in 1987...Larkin played first base, with Kent Hrbek out of the lineup. Hrbek was used as a pinch-hitter in the ninth and was intentionally walked...Cleveland starter Darrel Akerfelds pitched 7.1 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and no walks with three strikeouts. Akerfelds made thirteen starts in his career, all in 1987. His record as a starter was not good: 2-6, 7.29, 1.71 WHIP. He did have one good year as a reliever: in 1990, he was 5-2, 3.77, 1.28 WHIP with three saves in 93 innings (71 games) for Philadelphia. It was the only good major league season he had. 1991 was his last year in the majors although he remained in AAA through 1995. He was a long-time pitching and bullpen coach in both the minors and the majors for San Diego. He passed away from pancreatic cancer on June 24, 2012.
Record: The Twins were 76-67, in first place by 3.5 games over Oakland, which lost 10-7 to Kansas City.