MINNESOTA 9, CLEVELAND 2 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Sunday, June 9.
Batting stars: Pedro Munoz was 3-for-3 with a double. Shane Mack was 2-for-4 with a home run (his fourth), a double, a stolen base (his second), two runs, and three RBIs. Brian Harper was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs. Al Newman was 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Kent Hrbek was 2-for-4.
Pitching stars: Jack Morris pitched eight innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on five hits and three walks and striking out three. Steve Bedrosian pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk.
Opposition star: Turner Ward was 1-for-2 with a double and a walk.
The game: Hrbek's RBI single put the Twins ahead 1-0 in the first inning. In the third, Mack hit a one-out double, went to third on a ground out, and scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0. With one out in the fourth, Harper singled and scored on a Munoz double to make it 3-0.
The Indians got on the board in the sixth on a walk, a passed ball, and Mark Lewis' RBI single. The Twins then put the game out of reach. In the seventh, Munoz singled, Newman singled, and Mack hit a two-out three-run homer to make the score 6-1. Cleveland got one back in the eighth when Ward doubled and Joel Skinner singled, but the Twins responded with three more in the bottom of the eighth. Hrbek singled, Harper doubled, and Gene Larkin was intentionally walked to load the bases. Randy Bush was then accidentally walked to bring home one run and Newman hit a two-run single to bring the score to 9-2.
WP: Morris (7-5). LP: Rod Nichols (0-5). S: None.
Notes: Mack was in left field in place of Dan Gladden. He batted second, with Chuck Knoblauch moved up to the leadoff spot. Knoblauch, however, left the game after six innings. Greg Gagne came in to play shortstop with Newman, who had started the game at short, moving to second base. Munoz was in right. Larkin pinch-hit for Munoz in the eighth and remained in the game in right field. Bush pinch-hit for third baseman Scott Leius in the eighth inning, and Mike Pagliarulo then came in to play third the rest of the game.
Harper raised his average to .331. Kirby Puckett was 0-for-4 to drop to .320. Munoz raised his average to .317. Gagne was 0-for-2 and was batting .304.
With his pinch-hit walk, Bush's average remained .189.
Knoblauch would miss the next day's game, but would be back in the lineup after that, so whatever caused him to leave this game was apparently not too serious.
Cleveland's starter was Rod Nichols. He pitched 6.1 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits and a walk and struck out three. I don't remember him, but he appears to have been a hard-luck pitcher, at least in 1991. He went 2-11 with an ERA of 3.54 and a WHIP of 1.27. In his eleven losses, the Indians scored a total of twenty runs. In fact, in his two wins they only scored five runs. Cleveland finished dead last in runs scored in 1991, and by quite a bit--they scored 576 runs, and next-to-last was California with 653. With an offensive offense like that, I suppose they had quite a few hard luck pitchers. Nichols would end his career 11-31, 4.43, 1.41 WHIP. It's kind of a shame, though, that he really didn't get rewarded for the one good year he had.
The Indians used two relievers named Valdez in this game--Sergio and Efrain. A quick check of b-r.com reveals fourteen major leaguers named Valdez, so it's kind of odd that there'd be two of them in the same bullpen.
This was the eighth straight win for the Twins. They were beating up on some bad teams--Baltimore, Kansas City, and Cleveland--but they didn't make the schedule, and beating bad teams is what you're supposed to do.
Record: The Twins were 31-25, in third place in the American League West, three games behind Oakland. They were 1.5 games behind second-place California and a half game ahead of fourth-place Seattle.