MINNESOTA 4, OAKLAND 1 IN OAKLAND
Date: Wednesday, April 10.
Batting stars: Chili Davis was 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-4. Brian Harper was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer and a hit-by-pitch.
Pitching stars: Allan Anderson pitched 7.1 innings, giving up one run on two hits and six walks and striking out two. Rick Aguilera struck out three in 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up two hits.
Opposition stars: Bob Welch pitched a complete game, giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk and striking out five. He threw 107 pitches. Mark McGwire was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk.
The game: The Twins opened the scoring in the second when Davis led off with a single and Harper followed with a two-run homer. With one out in the third Knoblauch singled, Kirby Puckett reached on an error, and Kent Hrbek walked to load the bases. Davis then delivered a two-run single to make the score 4-0.
The Athletics twice got a man to second in the fourth, but did not score. Rickey Henderson walked and stole second, but was cut down trying to steal third. With two out Jose Canseco walked and stole second, but Terry Steinbach struck out to end the inning. Oakland got a one-out double from McGwire in the fifth, but did not advance him.
The Athletics got on the board in the eighth. McGwire led off with a walk. With one out, Walt Weiss singled and Mike Gallego walked to load the bases. That was it for Anderson. Aguilera came in and gave up a run on a ground out but otherwise escaped. Oakland threatened in the ninth, as a Canseco single was followed by a Steinbach double. But Harold Baines was caught looking, McGwire fouled out, and Ernie Riles was caught looking to end the game.
WP: Anderson (1-0). LP: Welch (0-1). S: Aguilera (1).
Notes: In this game and in the previous one, Shane Mack was in center field and Puckett was in right. It would not stay that way all season. It'll be interesting to see when they switched.
Davis was batting .429 (3-for-7).
Who remembered that Anderson started the second game of the season? Not me. Part of the reason was that TK wanted to hold Kevin Tapani out for the home opener, which would be game four. Even so, I'm not sure I remembered that Anderson was even still on the team in 1991. He wasn't very good (4.96 ERA, 1.41 WHIP), but he did have a few very good games, including this one.
Aguilera would only have six appearances all season that were longer than 1.2 innings. Four of those were extra inning games.
Before I did yesterday's game, it had been many years since the name "Ernie Riles" had crossed my mind. He actually had a solid career, playing nine seasons for Milwaukee, San Francisco, Oakland, Houston, and Boston. He finished third in Rookie of the Year voting in 1985, behind Ozzie Guillen and Teddy Higuera (long-time Twins minor league pitching coach Stew Cliburn finished fifth in the voting, and Twins catcher Mark Salas finished ninth). He batted .286 that year, and I'm sure people expected that he would just get better, but that would be the highest average he would get. For his career, he batted .254/.319/.365. He was an infielder, mostly playing short and third, but also getting 88 games at second, 10 at first, and 5 in the outfield. He's the uncle of major league outfielder Willie Harris.
Record: The Twins were 1-1, tied for fourth, a game behind California and Chicago.