1991 Rewind: Game Forty


Date:  Thursday, May 23.

Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 6-for-7 with a triple and two runs.  Kent Hrbek was 3-for-5.  Chili Davis was 2-for-6 with two doubles and a walk.  Shane Mack was 2-for-7 with two doubles.

Pitching star:  Terry Leach pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up no hits and no walks and striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Ruben Sierra was 4-for-6 with a home run (his eighth), a double, two runs, and five RBIs.  Kevin Reimer was 2-for-4 with a double.  Jack Daugherty was 2-for-5.  Juan Gonzalez was 2-for-5 with a home run (his fifth), a double, and four RBIs.  Mike Jeffcoat struck out three in 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up four hits.

The game:  Each team threatened in the first only to have a caught stealing help take them out of the inning.  In the second, Reimer led off with a single and Gonzalez followed with a home run to put the Rangers up 2-0.  The Twins got one back in the bottom of the inning with four consecutive walks, but a double play kept them from adding more.  They tied it 2-2 in the third, however, when Puckett singled, Chili Davis walked, and Pedro Munoz delivered an RBI single.

Texas took the lead in the fifth when Jeff Huson reached on an error, went to third on Daugherty's single, and scored on a sacrifice fly.  The Twins tied it again in the bottom of the fifth on singles by Scott Leius and Junior Ortiz and an RBI double by Al Newman.

The Twins loaded the bases with one out in the sixth but did not score.  The Rangers made them pay for it in the seventh.  With two out, Rafael Palmeiro singled and Sierra hit a two-run homer to give Texas a 5-3 advantage.  But the Twins again tied it in the bottom of the seventh.  Greg Gagne was hit by a pitch with one out.  With two down, Puckett got a single-plus-error, with Gagne scoring and Puckett going to second.  Davis then doubled him home to make the score 5-5.

Puckett tripled with two out in the bottom of the ninth but did not score.  Davis led off the tenth with a double but did not score.

Texas broke it open in the eleventh.  Geno Petralli led off with a double and Huson walked.  Daugherty bunted them to second and third, Palmeiro was intentionally walked, and Sierra delivered a bases-clearing double.  With two out, Gary Pettis walked and Gonzalez hit a two-run double to make the score 10-5.  The Twins got one back in the bottom of the eleventh but never got the tying run farther than the on-deck circle.

WP:  Jeff Russell (1-0).  LP:  Steve Bedrosian (2-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Shane Mack was in left field, replacing Dan Gladden (day game).  Gladden was used as a pinch-hitter in the tenth inning and remained in the game in left, with Mack moving to right.  He pinch-hit for Munoz, who started the game in right field.

Newman was at second base in place of Chuck Knoblauch.  Knoblauch entered the game in the seventh when Randy Bush pinch-hit for Scott Leius, who had pinch-hit for Mike Pagliarulo in the fifth.  Knoblauch went to second, with Newman moving to third.

Scott Erickson was the Twins' starter, which meant that Junior Ortiz was behind the plate.

With his big day, Puckett raised his average from .316 to .340.  He missed joining a very small number of players to go 7-for-7 when he flied out to center in the fourth inning.

Munoz was 1-for-4 with a walk and was batting .313.

Erickson pitched seven innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on ten hits and a walk and striking out four.  His ERA was 1.82.  Leach lowered his ERA to 2.08.

Bush went 0-for-1 and was batting .176.  Leius was 1-for-1 to go  up to .184.

By game scores, this was Erickson's worst game of the season up to this point.  He would not have a worse one until the end of June.  After that, however, he had several worse, especially as he struggled through a miserable August.  He was able to right the ship in September, though.

Record:  The Twins were 19-21, in sixth place in the American League West, 4.5 games behind Texas.  They were 1.5 games behind fifth-place Chicago.  They had lost four in a row (the last two in extra innings) and six of their last eight.

2 thoughts on “1991 Rewind: Game Forty”

  1. This was Jose Guzman's first major league appearance in three seasons as the one-time prospect finally returned from years of shoulder problems, and he was somehow allowed to walk nine Twins. The Twins stranded 21 baserunners. The Twins had 23 baserunners the first seven innings.

    Kelly said, "How can you leave 21 men in base? Nobody can do that. We ever get close to that again, I'll just forfeit the game."

    Guzman walked four consecutive hitters in the third inning. Mack then bounced into an inning-ending double play on the first pitch. Yuck.

    This was Kirby's second six-hit game. I'm sure many can remember the first. Jimmie Foxx and Doc Cramer (who?) were the only other players with multiple six-hit games since 1900.

    Kelly described Erickson's start as "beautiful." I can only imagine how he would describe certain conversations. Erickson hadn't allowed a run at the Metrodome all year until this game.

    With the sweep, Texas now had a ten-game winning streak.

    When Chili Davis doubled to start the tenth, Kelly chose not to pinch run with Gladden. Instead, he sent Gladden up to bunt as a pinch hitter. Gladden then bunted poorly, but Davis was called safe at third (a little skepticism in reports about the call). Davis was then thrown out on the contact play when Knoblauch hit a chopper to short. Has the contact play ever worked?

    1. Are there any studies on the benefits/costs of the contact play? I hate it, but my perception could easily be skewed by how frustrating it is when it doesn't work.

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