MINNESOTA 8, OAKLAND 6 IN OAKLAND
Date: Saturday, August 3.
Batting stars: Shane Mack was 3-for-5 with a home run (his thirteenth) and two runs. Kirby Puckett was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs. Brian Harper was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer, his sixth. Chili Davis was 2-for-5.
Pitching star: Rick Aguilera pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and striking out one.
Opposition stars: Dave Henderson was 3-for-5 with three home runs, his twentieth, twenty-first, and twenty-second. Mark McGwire was 2-for-3 with a home run (his sixteenth), a double, and a walk. Harold Baines was 1-for-1 with a home run, his fourteenth. Jose Canseco was 1-for-5 with a home run, his twenty-ninth.
The game: Henderson hit a home run in the first inning to give the Athletics a 1-0 lead. They loaded the bases with two out in the inning but could do no further damage. In the third Henderson struck again, making it 2-0. Again Oakland threatened later in the inning, putting men on second and third with two out, but they again could not score. Henderson hit yet another home run in the fifth, making the score 3-0. In the sixth, McGwire hit a home run to increase the lead to 4-0. In the seventh Canseco hit a home run to boost the lead to 5-0.
It looked bad, but the Twins came back in a big way in the eighth. With one out Greg Gagne walked and Mack singled. Chuck Knoblauch had an RBI double and Puckett delivered a two-run single, cutting the margin to 5-3. Kent Hrbek walked and Davis had an RBI single to make it 5-4. Harper then stepped up and hit a three-run homer. It killed the rally, but it gave the Twins the lead at 7-5.
Baines hit a pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the eighth to cut the lead to 7-6. The Twins got the run back in the ninth on Mack's home run. The Athletics got a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate, but Brook Jacoby flied out to end the game.
WP: Steve Bedrosian (4-2). LP: Joe Klink (8-3). S: Aguilera (28).
Notes: Mack was in left field in place of Dan Gladden, with Gene Larkin in right. Mack also batted leadoff. Gladden pinch-ran for Larkin in the eighth and stayed in the game in left field, with Mack moving to right.
Puckett raised his average back up to .331. Harper went up to .315. Terry Leach retired both batters he faced to make his ERA 2.82. Aguilera lowered his ERA to 2.64.
Mack's batting average went up to .296, the highest it had been to this point in the season.
The Twins were able to keep Rickey Henderson completely off the base paths this game, as he went 0-for-5.
Oakland had ten hits. Six of them were home runs, all solo home runs. They also had two doubles and two singles. They stranded eight runners and went 0-for-5 with men in scoring position. I don't know what the record is for having all of your runs come on solo homers (which don't hurt you), but I would have to think that six is at least in the ball park, so to speak.
David West started for the Twins. He pitched well other than the home runs, but his line is 5.1 innings, four runs, seven hits, four walks, and six strikeouts. The Athletics starter was Joe Slusarski. He pitched well for seven innings, but unfortunately for him he also started the eighth. That makes his line 7.1 innings, four runs, nine hits, one walk, one strikeout.
This was Slusarski's rookie season. He's another guy who got chance after chance despite not doing anything. In 1991 he made 19 starts and went 5-7, 5.27, 1.58 WHIP. In 1992 he made 14 starts and went 5-5, 5.45, 1.47 WHIP. He made only two appearances in 1993 and none in 1994. He was with Milwaukee in 1995 for 12 appearances out of the bullpen and went 1-1, 5.40, 1.80 WHIP. He next appeared in the majors in 1991 with Houston for 3 games. In 2000 he had his best major league season, going 2-7, 4.21, 1.33 WHIP in 54 relief outings. In 2001 he made 12 appearances for Houston and Atlanta, going 0-1, 9.00, 1.81 WHIP. Add it all together and he was 13-21, 5.18, 1.53 WHIP. He appeared in 118 games, 34 starts. His AAA numbers are 34-36, 4.12, 1.36 WHIP, not awful but not particularly impressive, either. It's yet another case of how some guys get chance after chance without ever showing they deserve it, while other guys star in AAA and at most get one brief major league shot.
The White Sox lost to Baltimore 6-3, so the Twins gained a game.
Record: The Twins were 62-43, in first place in the American League West, three games ahead of Chicago.