MINNESOTA 5, BOSTON 4 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Friday, July 12.
Batting stars: Mike Pagliarulo was 3-for-4. Kirby Puckett was 2-for-3. Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-5 with a double, a stolen base (his ninth) and two runs. Kent Hrbek was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his ninth) and a walk.
Pitching stars: Paul Abbott struck out three in two perfect innings. Steve Bedrosian pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit. Rick Aguilera struck out two in a perfect inning.
Opposition stars: Tom Brunansky was 2-for-4. Tony Pena was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer, his third. Luis Rivera was 1-for-3 with a home run, his fifth.
The game: The Twins took a 2-0 lead in the first, as Puckett had a two-out single and Hrbek followed with a home run. It stayed 2-0 until the fifth. Brunansky led off the inning with a single and Pena followed with a two-run homer. Rivera made it back-to-back homers and the Red Sox led 3-2. With one out, Jody Reed walked and stole second. He went to third on a fly out and scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-2 Boston.
The Twins cut the lead to one in the bottom of the fifth, again with two out. Knoblauch singled, stole second, and scored when Puckett reached on an error. With one out in the sixth Pagliarulo and Shane Mack singled and Randy Bush walked, loading the bases. A ground out scored a run and tied the score 4-4.
Knoblauch led off the seventh with a double and was bunted to third. Chili Davis came through with an RBI single to give the Twins a 5-4 lead. Boston got just one single after that and did not advance the man past first base.
WP: Abbott (3-0). LP: Roger Clemens (11-6) S: Aguilera (23).
Notes: Mack was in left with Dan Gladden still out. Bush was in right. Junior Ortiz was again behind the plate in place of Brian Harper. Greg Gagne batted first.
Paul Sorrento pinch-hit for Ortiz in the sixth and hit the run-scoring ground out that tied the game. Harper came in to catch. Jarvis Brown went to right field for defense in the eighth, replacing Bush.
Puckett raised his average to .317. Abbott lowered his ERA to 3.41. Aguilera lowered his ERA to 2.68.
Sorrento's average fell to .154.
I don't know if Harper was battling a minor injury or if Tom Kelly simply was choosing to take advantage of Ortiz' defense. If Harper was injured, it seems odd that he kept coming in to catch when Ortiz was pinch-hit for. But it also seems odd that Kelly would prefer Ortiz' .203 average to Harper's .332, no matter how good his defense was. At any rate, Harper would not start again until July 14.
Allan Anderson pitched five innings, giving up four runs on five hits and three walks and striking out one. This would be his last start until late August. He would make three relief appearances, then go back to AAA for a month before returning on August 23.
Roger Clemens started for the Red Sox and pitched 6.1 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on eleven hits and two walks and striking out six. Clemens did just slightly better against the Twins in his career than he did overall. He was 24-13, 2.97, 1.12 WHIP against Minnesota. For his career he was 354-184, 3.12, 1.18 WHIP.
Texas lost to Toronto 6-2, so the Twins picked up a game in the standings.
Record: The Twins were 49-36, in first place in the American League West, two games ahead of Texas.