MINNESOTA 9, DETROIT 3 IN DETROIT
Date: Thursday, July 25.
Batting stars: Kirby Puckett was 3-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base, his sixth. Greg Gagne was 3-for-5 with a double and a stone base, his sixth. Scott Leius was 2-for-3 with a home run (his third), two walks, and three runs. Dan Gladden was 2-for-5 with a double and four RBIs.
Pitching stars: Scott Erickson pitched 5.2 innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits and four walks and striking out two. Steve Bedrosian pitched 3.1 scoreless innings, giving up three hits and striking out two.
Opposition stars: Lou Whitaker was 2-for-2 with a double. Scott Livingstone was 2-for-3 with a double. Lloyd Moseby was 2-for-5 with a double.
The game: The Twins started the second with singles by Brian Harper and Shane Mack. Kent Hrbek bunted them to second and third, Leius was intentionally walked, and with two out Gladden delivered a three-run single-plus-error that gave the Twins a 3-0 lead. The Tigers got on the board in the bottom of the second on a walk, an error, and an RBI single by Livingstone. They tied it in the third when Whitaker singled and Moseby and Cecil Fielder each had an RBI double.
The Twins got the lead back in the fourth. Hrbek walked and Leius singled, putting men on first and second with two out. Gladden then came through again with a two-run double. He scored on a Puckett single to give the Twins a 6-3 lead. It went to 7-3 in the fifth when Mack scored on a balk. The Twins added a run in the seventh on a Leius home run and one in the ninth on a Hrbek home run to round out the scoring.
The Tigers did little on offense after the third inning. Only twice did they advance a man as far as second, and never did they advance one any farther.
WP; Erickson (14-3). LP: Scott Aldred (0-1). S: Bedrosian (5).
Notes: Gladden was back in the lineup for the first time since June 28. Mack returned to right field. Jarvis Brown replaced Gladden in the seventh and went to right, with Mack moving to left.
Puckett raised his average to .335. Harper went 1-for-4 and was batting .319. Erickson's ERA went to 2.07. Bedrosian went down to 3.12.
Puckett now had a fifteen-game hitting streak. He was 26-for-60 during the streak, raising his average from .316.
The Twins were seventh in the league in stolen bases in 1991 with 107. They were tied for the second-highest total of caught stealing, however, with 68. They were eleventh in sacrifice bunts, with 44.
One assumes that Hrbek was bunting on his own in the second inning.
Erickson would have only one more good game between this one and the end of August. He did rebound somewhat in September, however.
This was Scott Aldred's second start of the season. He had made three starts in 1990. He was awful through August, but pitched very well in September. He really had an amazing career. From 1990-1997 he made 67 major league starts, along with a handful of relief appearances. His ERA over that span was 6.14. Outside of the three starts in 1990, his best ERA was the year we're looking at, when it was 5.18. He then spent three years as a reliever. His ERA was better, at 4.49, but his WHIP was 1.53. In his year and a half with the Twins, 1996-1997, he went 8-15, 6.10, 1.54 WHIP. For his career he was 20-39, 6.02, 1.62 WHIP. Yet, he pitched in 229 games, made 67 starts, and pitched 499.2 innings. I'm sure he's a nice guy--he has to be to have gotten this many chances--but as I've said before, it really annoys me that guys like this get chance after chance, long after they've established beyond any reasonable doubt that they're not good enough, and other guys tear up the minors and get one brief chance at best. As we've said before, no one ever promised that life or baseball is fair.
Chicago won, Oakland lost, and Texas did not play, so White Sox moved into second place.
Record: The Twins were 56-40, in first place in the American League West, four games ahead of the White Sox.