MINNESOTA 12, OAKLAND 4 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Saturday, August 17.
Batting stars: Chuck Knoblauch was 3-for-5 with two runs. Kent Hrbek was 2-for-2 with three walks and three runs. Chili Davis was 2-for-3 with a walk. Brian Harper was 2-for-4. Shane Mack was 2-for-5 with a double and three RBIs. Kirby Puckett was 2-for-5 with two runs.
Pitching stars: Jack Morris pitched a complete game, giving up four runs on eight hits and no walks and striking out six. He threw 113 pitches.
Opposition stars: Jose Canseco was 2-for-4 with a home run (his thirty-fourth), two runs, and two RBIs. Harold Baines was 2-for-4.
The game: The Athletics opened the game consecutive singles by Rickey Henderson, Dave Henderson, Canseco, and Baines, producing two runs. A double play made it 3-0 in the top of the first. The Twins got on the board in the second when Hrbek walked, went to third on a Davis single, and scored on a ground out. Oakland got the run right back in the third when Canseco homered, giving the Athletics a 4-1 lead.
It was all Minnesota after that. In the bottom of the third Dan Gladden led off with a walk and scored on Knoblauch's double. Puckett followed with an RBI single, and singles by Hrbek and Harper brought home another run, tying the score 4-4. The Twins had two out and nobody on in the fifth, but a walk to Hrbek, a single by Davis, and a walk to Harper loaded the bases. Mack then unloaded them with a three-run double to give the Twins a 7-4 lead.
The Twins kept adding on. In the sixth, again with two out and none on, singles by Knoblauch, Puckett, and Hrbek scored one run, a walk to Davis loaded the bases, and Harper delivered a two-run single to increase the lead to 10-4. In the seventh, Mike Pagliarulo doubled, went to third on an Al Newman single, and scored on a sacrifice fly. The Twins finished the scoring in the eighth when a Hrbek walk, a Gene Larkin single, and a double play produced the team's twelfth run.
WP: Morris (15-9). LP: Bob Welch (10-8). S: None.
Notes: Newman was at shorstop, replacing Greg Gagne. Gagne would play the next day, but then would miss two days and be used as a late-game replacement in three more before returning to the starting lineup August 24.
Larkin pinch-hit for Davis in the eighth. Randy Bush pinch-ran for Hrbek in the eighth and stayed in the game at first base.
Puckett raised his average to .325. Harper raised his average to .305.
Welch pitched 5.2 innings. He was allowed to stay in the game long enough to allow nine runs on eleven hits and four walks. He struck out one. The Athletics had used six pitchers in the twelve-inning game the day before, so I assume Welch was simply being asked to take one for the team. He threw one hundred pitches. Eric Show pitched the rest of the game, going 2,1 innings while allowing three runs on five hits and two walks.
I know it was a different era, but there was still no real reason for Morris to pitch a complete game. The Twins had used only four pitchers in the previous game, and one of them had only thrown six pitches. The game was well in hand after six. Yes, I know Morris didn't want to come out of games, but that's why you have someone called "the manager" who makes decisions that are in the best long-term interest of both the player and the team. I'm glad that, for the most part, we've moved past that phony macho thinking in baseball.
By game scores, this was actually Welch's third-worst game of the season. The worst was on May 5, when he allowed eleven runs (eight earned) on thirteen hits and two walks in 4.2 innings for a game score of two. The second-worst was June 28, when he allowed nine runs (eight earned) on nine hits and three walks in three innings for a game score of five. His game score in this game was eight. Those three games probably went a long way to giving him an ERA of 4.58 for the season.
Knoblauch was 8-for-13 with two doubles and two walks over his last three games.
Canseco had three home runs in the two games of the series.
The White Sox lost to the Yankees 4-2, so the Twins were starting to put some space between themselves and second place.
Record: The Twins were 70-48, in first place in the American League West, 3.5 games ahead of Chicago.