1991 Rewind: Game Sixty-four


Date:  Monday, June 17.

Batting starsAl Newman was 3-for-4.  Kirby Puckett was 3-for-5 with two doubles and a stolen base, his third.  Brian Harper was 2-for-4 with a double.  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-5.   Chili Davis was 1-for-4 with a home run, his fifteenth.

Pitching stars:  Allan Anderson pitched 6.1 innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on eight hits and two walks and striking out two.  Steve Bedrosian pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Cal Ripken was 2-for-4 with a home run (his fourteenth), a double, a walk, and two runs.  Mike Devereaux was 2-for-4 with a home run (his ninth) and a double.  Randy Milligan was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and two RBIs.  Brady Anderson was 2-for-4 with two runs.

The game:  Each team missed a chance in the first inning.  Puckett hit a two-out double and was stranded, while the Orioles had men on second and third with one out and the bases loaded with two out.  Davis homered in the second to give the Twins a 1-0 lead, but home runs by Devereaux and Ripken put the Orioles up 2-1 in the fourth.

Baltimore lengthened their lead in the fifth.  Anderson singled, went to third on an error, and scored on a sacrifice fly to make the score 3-1.  The Twins tied it in the fifth.  Mike Pagliarulo led off with a double, followed by singles by Newman and Chuck Knoblauch to cut the margin to 3-2.  A pair of ground outs scored another run to make it 3-3.

The Twins took the lead in the seventh when Puckett hit a two-out double and scored on Hrbek's single.  It went to 5-3 in the fifth when Harper singled, pinch-runner Dan Gladden was bunted to second, and Newman delivered a two-out RBI single.

Rick Aguilera came in to pitch the ninth.  He gave up singles to David Segui and Anderson.  A bunt moved the runners to second and third.  Joe Orsulak's sacrifice fly made it 5-4, but also provided the second out.  Ripken was intentionally walked, but Milligan wrecked that strategy with a two-run double that ended the game and the Twins' winning streak.

WP:  Mark Williamson (1-2).  LP:  Aguilera (2-3).  S:  None.

Notes:  Shane Mack replaced Gladden in left field, with Pedro Munoz in right.  Knoblauch moved up to the leadoff spot, with Mack batting second.  As shown above, Gladden was used as a pinch-runner and stayed in the game in left field, with Mack moving to right.  With Harper removed, Junior Ortiz came in to catch.  Newman started at shortstop in place of Greg Gagne.  Gene Larkin pinch-hit for Mike Pagliarulo in the eighth, and Gagne came in to play shortstop, with Newman moving to third base.

Harper raised his average to .347.  Puckett went up to .327.  Munoz was 1-for-3 and was batting .300.

Aguilera gave up three runs in two-thirds of an inning to raise his ERA to 2.97.

You may remember that yesterday we questioned using Aguilera in the eighth inning for no apparent reason.  He ended up pitching three innings in that game.  It came back to bite the Twins in this game.  Despite having thrown three innings the day before, Tom Kelly brought Aguilera into this game in the ninth.  He clearly did not have much left, and really should not have been expected to.  Yes, it's easy to criticize after the fact, and yes, times have changed since 1991.  Still, it does not seem very smart to have brought Aguilera into this game.

Kelly clearly loved Al Newman.  To this point in the season he had played in 49 of the Twins' 64 games.  Yes, a fair number of those were when he was used as a defensive replacement, but that's still a lot of playing time for a guy whose OPS is around .500 and whose batting average is around the Mendoza line.  Many of those defensive replacement games were at third base.  I've admitted before that I don't understand defensive stats very well--was Newman clearly superior to Pagliarulo and Scott Leius at third base?  I'm skeptical of that, but I don't have anything to base that on other than memories.

So the winning streak came to an end at fifteen.  The Twins had still won eighteen of twenty, which is obviously pretty good.  They would try to start another winning streak the next day.

Record:  The Twins were 38-26, in first place in the American League West, a half game ahead of Oakland.

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