1991 Rewind: Game Ninety-seven

MINNESOTA 6, MILWAUKEE 3 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Friday, July 26.

Batting stars:  Chili Davis was 2-for-3 with a home run (his twenty-second), a double, a walk, and two RBIs.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Mike Pagliarulo was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Kevin Tapani pitched eight innings, giving up three runs on five hits and no walks and striking out six.  Rick Aguilera pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.

Opposition star:  Chris Bosio pitched 6.1 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and six walks and striking out five.

The game:  Davis homered in the second inning to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  It went to 2-0 in the third when Puckett singled, Kent Hrbek walked, and Brian Harper delivered an RBI single.

The Brewers had only two hits through five innings, both singles.  The Twins loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, but Harper hit into a double play to end the inning.

It cost the Twins, as Milwaukee took the lead in the sixth.  With one out Dale Sweum doubled, Paul Molitor doubled, and Darryl Hamilton tripled to tie it.  Hamilton then scored on a ground out to put the Brewers up 3-2.

The Twins tied it in the seventh.  Randy Bush singled, Puckett walked, and Davis came through with a two-out RBI double to make it 3-3.  In the eighth Pagliarulo singled, Greg Gagne reached on an error, a fielder's choice loaded the bases, and Dan Gladden delivered a bases-clearing double, giving the Twins a 6-3 lead.  The Brewers went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Tapani (7-7).  LP:  Darren Holmes (1-2).  S:  Aguilera (26).

Notes:  Bush was in right field in place of Shane Mack.  He batted second.  Al Newman was at second base, replacing Chuck Knoblauch.  Knoblauch pinch-ran for Pagliarulo in the eighth and stayed in the game at second base, with Newman moving to third.

Puckett raised his average to .337.  Harper was 1-for-3 with a walk and was batting .319.  Tapani's ERA was 3.05.  Aguilera lowered his ERA to 2.86.

Milwaukee had just five hits.  Three of them were for extra bases and all three came in the sixth inning.  They had only two singles other than that, and had no hits after the sixth.  They had only one man left on base and were 2-for-3 with men in scoring position.  The Twins, on the other hand, stranded ten men and went 3-for-13 with men in scoring position.

I remembered that Chili Davis had a good year in 1991, but I had not remembered just how important he was.  He was second on the team in runs (to Puckett), first in doubles, first in home runs, first in RBIs, first in walks (by a long way--he had 95, second was Hrbek with 67), first in OBP, second in slugging and OPS (to Mack), first in OPS+, and first in total bases.  That's almost every significant offensive category.  He was certainly the most valuable player on the offense, and maybe the MVP of the team.  He was fourteenth in MVP voting that season, behind (among others, obviously) Jack Morris (13th) and Puckett (7th).

The White Sox did not play, so the Twins gained a half game on them in the standings.

Record:  The Twins were 57-40, in first place in the American League West, 4.5 games ahead of Chicago.

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