MINNESOTA 8, DETROIT 3 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Sunday, May 12.
Batting stars: Chuck Knoblauch was 4-for-5. Shane Mack was 3-for-5 with two runs. Pedro Munoz was 2-for-4 with a double. Chili Davis was 2-for-5 with two home runs (his sixth and seventh) and four RBIs. Kirby Puckett was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.
Pitching star: Scott Erickson pitched seven shutout innings, giving up three hits and a walk and striking out three.
Opposition stars: Milt Cuyler was 2-for-3. Mickey Tettleton was 2-for-4. Cecil Fielder was 1-for-4 with a home run, his fifth. Travis Fryman was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his fifth.
The game: The Twins got the lead early. Mack led off the first inning with a single and stole second. Knoblauch singled to put men on first and third, Puckett singled home a run, and Davis hit a three-run homer to give the Twins a 4-0 lead. Davis again homered in the third to make it 5-0.
The Tigers threatened in the fifth, putting men on first and third on a couple of errors, but they could not score. The Twins added single runs in the sixth, seventh, and eighth. In the sixth it was consecutive two-out singles by Al Newman, Mack, and Knoblauch. In the seventh, walks to Gene Larkin and Scott Leius were followed by a Junior Ortiz single. In the eighth, consecutive singles by Mack, Knoblauch, and Puckett produced another run, making it 8-0.
Detroit finally got on the board in the ninth. Fielder led off the inning with a home run. With two out, Pete Incaviglia singled and Fryman hit a two-run homer. Luis de los Santos then grounded out to end the game.
WP: Erickson (5-2). LP: Bill Gullickson (4-1). S: None.
Notes: Mack, who had started only three games since April 19, not only started this game, but was put in left field and in the leadoff spot, taking the place of Dan Gladden (day game). Randy Bush was at first base with Kent Hrbek still out. Ortiz was behind the plate. Newman was at shortstop, replacing Greg Gagne.
Knoblauch raised his average to .336. Davis went up to .317. Puckett was up to .314. Erickson dropped his ERA to 1.45. Terry Leach did not give up a run in two-thirds of an inning and had an ERA of 3.18.
Tiger starter Gullickson pitched six innings, allowing six runs on twelve hits and no walks and striking out one. He came into the game with a record of 4-0 despite an ERA of 4.08. The Tigers had averaged nearly six runs a game in his prior starts. His luck ran out on him in this game.
1991 was the first full season of Milt Cuyler's career, and the only season in which he was a regular. He wasn't awful, but he wasn't really good, either: .257/.335/.337. He stole 41 bases and was presumably a good defender, which is probably why he finished third in Rookie of the Year voting that season (behind Knoblauch and Juan Guzman). He'd have probably won the award if he could've played the Twins more: he batted .353/.450/.471 against them and also hit one of his three home runs. The rules said he had to face other teams, too, though, and as time went on his playing time diminished. He was with the Tigers through 1995, but spent time in the minors his last two seasons there. He played for Boston and Texas and also in the Atlantic League before hanging it up after the 2002 season. For his career he batted .237/.305/.326 in 1567 plate appearances, over a third of which came in 1991. As they say, you can talk all you want about the five tools, but none of the others mean much if you can't hit. He was a coach for the GCL Twins from 2003-2012.
The Twins had finally climbed back over .500 at 16-15. Could they stay there? We'll find out!
Record: The Twins were 16-15, in fourth place in the American League West, three games behind Oakland. They were a mere three percentage points behind the White Sox for third place.