1991 Rewind: Game Sixty-eight

MINNESOTA 4, NEW YORK 3 IN NEW YORK

Date:  Saturday, June 22.

Batting stars:  Chili Davis was 2-for-4.  Gene Larkin was 1-for-3 with a walk.

Pitching star:  Kevin Tapani pitched 8.2 innings, giving up three runs on eight hits and no walks and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Matt Nokes was 2-for-4 with a double.  Mel Hall was 2-for-4 with a double.  Wade Taylor pitched 7.1 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on five hits and two walks and striking out six.

The game:  The Twins again scored in the first inning.  Dan Gladden walked and Chuck Knoblauch was hit by a pitch.  A force out put men on first and third, and Davis delivered an RBI single that put the Twins ahead 1-0.

There was not even another baserunner until the top of the fourth, when Larkin got a two-out single.  In the bottom of the fourth Don Mattingly singled and Hall doubled, putting men on second and third with two out, but Nokes grounded out to end the inning.  The Twins increased their lead in the fifth.  Mike Pagliarulo reached on an error, was bunted to second, and scored on a Knoblauch single, making the score 2-0.  They got a couple more in the eighth.  With one out, Kirby Puckett and Davis singled and Brian Harper followed with a two-run double, giving the Twins a 4-0 lead.

The Yankees got on the board in the eighth on an Alvaro Espinoza home run.  With two out in the ninth Hall singled, Nokes doubled home a run, and Jesse Barfield doubled home another run, cutting the lead to 4-3 with the tying run on second.  Roberto Kelly was intentionally walked, putting the potential winning run on base, but Espinoza struck out to end the game.

WP:  Tapani (5-6).  LP:  Taylor (2-2).  S:  Rick Aguilera (19).

Notes:  Larkin was at first base in place of Kent Hrbek.  Al Newman was at shortstop in place of Greg Gagne.  Scott Leius pinch-hit for Pagliarulo in the ninth and stayed in the game at third base.

Harper was 1-for-4 and was batting .340.  Puckett was 1-for-4 and was batting .326.  Tapani's ERA was 3.33.  Aguilera lowered his ERA to 2.86.

Newman was 0-for-3 and was batting .196.

Aguilera entered the game with the score 4-2.  He gave up the double to Barfield and the intentional walk to Kelly.  "The book" used to say that you never put the potential winning run on base.  Tom Kelly went against the book and it worked.

This was the only major league season of Wade Taylor's career.  He came up to the majors at the start of June and stayed in the Yankees rotation the rest of the season.  He had pitched quite well in AAA, but could not repeat that success in the majors.  In twenty-two starts, he went 7-12, 6.27, 1.69 WHIP.  He apparently had injury problems after that, as he appeared in just five minor league games in 1992, seven in 1993, and then was done.  He was a scout for many years, working for the Yankees, Washington, the Dodgers, and Arizona.  It appears that he has now become a real estate agent in Oviedo, Florida.

The Twins had now won four in a row, nineteen of twenty, and twenty-two of twenty-four.  That's pretty good.

Record:  The Twins were 42-26, in first place in the American League West, four games ahead of Oakland.

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