MINNESOTA 5, DETROIT 2 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Friday, May 10.
Batting stars: Mike Pagliarulo was 3-for-3 with two doubles and two RBIs. Brian Harper was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs. Dan Gladden was 2-for-4 with a triple.
Pitching stars: Mark Guthrie struck out six in six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and three walks. Terry Leach pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit. Rick Aguilera retired all four men he faced, striking out one.
Opposition stars: Cecil Fielder was 3-for-4 with a double. Travis Fryman was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer, his third. Mark Leiter pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.
The game: The Twins took the lead in the bottom of the first, as Gladden led off with a triple and scored on a one-out single by Kirby Puckett. Pagliarulo led off the second with a double but did not get past third. The Tigers started the third with two singles, but a bunt and two strikeouts ended the inning.
The Twins scored in each of the next three innings. In the third, Chili Davis drew a two-out walk, Harper had an RBI double, and Pagliarulo delivered a run-scoring single to make it 3-0. In the fourth Greg Gagne reached on an error, went to second on a bunt single, took third on a sacrifice, and scored on a ground out to give the Twins a 4-0 lead. In the fifth, Harper had a one-out single and scored on Pagliarulo's double to make it 5-0.
Detroit got both of their runs in the sixth. Fielder had a one-out single and with two down, Fryman hit a two-run homer to cut the Twins' lead to 5-2. That was as close as they would come, though, as they did not threaten after that.
WP: Guthrie (2-2). LP: Walt Terrell (1-3). S: Aguilera (5).
Notes: Gene Larkin was at first base in place of Kent Hrbek. Al Newman was at second base in place of Chuck Knoblauch.
Harper raised his average to .342. Gagne was 1-for-4 and was batting .313. Puckett was 1-for-4 and was at .312. Aguilera lowered his ERA to 2.13.
Scott Leius pinch-hit and was 0-for-1, dropping his average to .179. Despite pitching well in this game, Guthrie still had an ERA of 6.23.
My recollection was that Travis Fryman always hit very well against the Twins. He did, but not in a way that was completely out of line with what he did against other clubs. He batted .294/.351/.476 against Minnesota; his career numbers were .274/.336/.443. Significantly better against the Twins, but not in an "he totally owns them" sort of way. He was just a very good batter. He made five all-star teams in thirteen seasons with Detroit and Cleveland. He won a Silver Slugger and also a Gold Glove. A darn good ballplayer.
Pedro Munoz made his 1991 Twins debut in this game, starting in right field. He had played in 22 games for the Twins in 1990 as a September call-up. He would be with the Twins through mid-July, then come back as a September call-up. I don't remember if was sent down in mid-July or if he was hurt. There's no apparent reason to have sent him down--he was batting .283/.333/.434 at the time--but at the same time, the Twins weren't really in need of an outfielder, and sending out the twenty-two year old Munoz would've been the easy thing to do. If someone with more time than I have wants to look into that, I'd be interested to know. He stayed with the Twins through 1995, then became a free agent and went to Oakland. I always thought he should've played more, but he never achieved more than semi-regular status with the Twins and was done after one season with the Athletics. Part of the problem was probably that he was not a very good fielder (it says a lot about Gene Larkin's outfielding ability that the Twins would sometimes use Munoz as a defensive replacement for him). But at bat, he hit .273/.315/.444 in 1832 plate appearances. Not an all-star, but certainly nothing to be ashamed of.
Record: The Twins were 14-15, fifth in the American League West, four games behind Oakland. They were a half game behind fourth place California.