DETROIT 8, MINNESOTA 0 IN DETROIT
Date: Thursday, August 20.
Batting stars: Steve Lombardozzi was 2-for-3. Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4. Roy Smalley was 1-for-3 with a walk.
Pitching star: George Frazier pitched two shutout innings, giving up only a walk and striking out one.
Opposition stars: Doyle Alexander pitched eight shutout innings, giving up five hits and two walks with four strikeouts. Pat Sheridan was 3-for-5 with a home run (his sixth), a double, and a stolen bases (his thirteenth), scoring twice and driving in two. Chet Lemon was 1-for-2 with a double, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch, scoring once and driving in two.
The game: The Tigers scored single runs in the first and third and took control in the fourth, when they scored four times. Jim Morrison had an RBI single, Lemon hit a two-run double, and Sheridan drove in one with a single. The closest the Twins came to scoring was in the eighth, when singles by Lombardozzi and Dan Gladden put men on first and third with one out. Greg Gagne was caught looking and Kirby Puckett lined to center to end the threat.
Of note: Puckett raised his average to .313...Twins starter Joe Niekro, back from his suspension, lasted only 3.1 innings, allowing six runs on seven hits and a walk with three strikeouts...The Tigers swept the three-game series between division leaders, winning each game by a big score. This was probably one of the reasons Detroit was made the prohibitive favorite when the two teams met in the Division series.
Record: The Twins were 66-57, in first place by four games over Oakland.
Player profile: Perhaps the second most important Jim Morrison in history, this one played in the majors for parts of twelve seasons. He was born in Pensacola, Florida, attended South Georgia College and Georgia Southern University, and was drafted by Philadelphia in the fifth round in 1974. He reached AAA in 1976. From 1976-79 he hit .295/.366/.475 in AAA but played in only 58 games for the Phillies and got just 115 at-bats. His problem, of course, was that his primary position was third base, and Philadelphia had a guy named Mike Schmidt playing there. No matter what Morrison did he wasn't going to beat out Mike Schmidt, so in July of 1979 the Phils sent him to the White Sox. He played both second and third for the White Sox for the remainder of the season, then moved to second for the entire 1980 season. It was his first season as a regular and he made the most of it, batting .283/.329/.424 and playing in all 162 games. One suspects the White Sox found him defensively challenged at second, though, because they moved him back to third in 1981. He had a poor year offensively and was traded to Pittsburgh the following June. He was a reserve for the Pirates through 1985, playing mostly third base behind Bill Madlock. In 1986, though, Madlock was gone and Morrison became the regular more-or-less by default. It was really only the second time he'd been given a chance as a regular and he again made the most of it, batting .274/.334/.482 with a career-high twenty-three home runs. He again couldn't sustain it, although he wasn't doing too badly when he was traded to Detroit on August 7 of 1987. He didn't do much for the Tigers that season and did even less in 1988, getting released in early June. He signed with the Braves and stayed there the rest of the season, but that ended his playing career. He is currently the manager of the GCL Rays. For his career he hit .260/.305/.419--not awful, but not great. He played in over a thousand major league games, though, and played in the post-season twice. All in all, not such a bad career.