1991 Rewind: Game Forty-nine


Date:  Saturday, June 1.

Batting stars:  Mike Pagliarulo was 2-for-3.  Chili Davis was 2-for-5 with two home runs (his tenth and eleventh) and four RBIs.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-5.  Dan Gladden was 2-for-5.  Chuck Knoblauch was 1-for-2 with two walks.

Pitching star:  Terry Leach pitched two shutout innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Terry Shumpert was 2-for-3 with a home run, a stolen base (his eighth) and three runs.  Brian McRae was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.

The game:  Kent Hrbek walked leading off the second and Davis followed with a two-run homer, putting the Twins up 2-0.  The Royals tied it in the third.  A walk and an error put men on second and third, a ground out scored one, and a Kirk Gibson single brought home the tying run.

The Twins took the lead again in the top of the fifth on singles by Brian HarperPagliarulo, and Knoblauch.  Kansas City tied it in the bottom of the inning when Shumpert singled, stole second, and scored on a McRae single.

The Twins went into the lead to stay in the sixth.  Puckett led off the inning with a single and with one out, Davis hit another two-run homer, giving the Twins a 5-3 advantage.  They took control of the game in the seventh.  Pagliarulo led off with a single and Knoblauch walked, but pinch-runner Greg Gagne was picked off second.  Not to worry.  Gladden singled, a ground out moved the runners up, and Puckett delivered a two-run single to put the Twins in front 7-3.

Each team scored one more time.  Shumpert homered in the seventh to make the score 7-4.  In the eighth, Pedro Munoz singled, stole second, and scored on Gladden's single to make it 8-4.  The Royals got only one hit after Shumpert's homer.

WP:  Allan Anderson (2-4).  LP:  Kevin Appier (3-6).  S:  None.

Notes:  Al Newman started at shortstop, with Gagne on the bench.  Newman batted second, with Knoblauch ninth.  I assume there was a reason TK did that, but I have no idea what it is.  I can kind of get making Knoblauch the "second leadoff man", but not when it means putting Newman, his .197 average, and his .509 OPS in the number two spot.  But Tom Kelly did sometimes move in a mysterious way.

When Gagne pinch-ran for Pagliarulo, he remained in the game at short with Newman moving to third.  Munoz was the right fielder.

Harper was 1-for-5, dropping his average to .333.  Not that there's anything wrong with .333, but that's the lowest it had been since May 9.  Puckett went up to .332.  Gagne was 0-for-1 and was batting .308.  Davis went up to .301.

Carl Willis pitched two-thirds of an inning without giving up a run, dropping his ERA to 3.38.  Leach went down to 3.32.

This was Anderson's first win since April 10, the second game of the season.  He pitched 6.1 innings, giving up four runs (two earned) on eight hits and two walks.  He did not record a strikeout.  One of the things that has struck me in doing this series is how few strikeouts there were in the game back then, especially compared to today.  The Twins staff was tenth in team pitching strikeouts, and their batters struck out the least of any team in the league, so their games would obviously tend to have fewer strikeouts than average.

Appier pitched six innings, allowing five runs on six hits and a walk and striking out five.  Appier had been sent to the bullpen for a few weeks in May, although he really wasn't pitching all that badly.  He returned to the rotation in late May and stayed there the rest of the year, having a fine season.  Appier was a very good pitcher from 1990-1997, but then suffered a torn labrum.  While he resumed pitching in 1999, his numbers make it look like he didn't fully recover until 2001.  He had another good year in 2002, but then he struggled for two more seasons before calling it quits.  For his career, he was 169-137, 3.74, 1.29 WHIP over sixteen seasons.  That's a pretty good career.

The Royals starting shortstop in this game was David Howard, who was in his rookie year.  After this game, he was batting .056 (1-for-18).  He was obviously not their regular shortstop--that was Kurt Stillwell--but Howard was with the team for all but about three weeks of the season.  He was still in double digits (.087) on July 11, but pulled his average up to .216 by the end of the season.  He played for parts of nine seasons in the majors.  His highest average in a season in which he got 25 or more at-bats was .245 in 1998.  His highest OPS was .655 that same year.  He actually was the Royals regular shortstop in 1996 and batted .219 with an OPS of .595.  For his career he batted .225/.291/.303 in 1583 at-bats.  He played all over, but mostly middle infield.  I assume he's a heck of a nice guy, because he'd never have played that long if he wasn't.

Record:  The Twins were 24-25, fifth in the American League West, 5.5 games behind Oakland.  They were one game ahead of sixth-place Chicago and two games behind fourth-place Seattle.

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