1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-one


Date:  Saturday, August 31.

Batting stars:  Chili Davis was 2-for-2 with a double and two walks.  Shane Mack was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4.  Chuck Knoblauch was 1-for-3 with a home run.

Pitching stars:  Kevin Tapani pitched seven innings, giving up one run on five hits and two walks and striking out two.  Rick Aguilera retired all four men he faced, striking out one.

Opposition star:  Cal Ripken was 2-for-4 with a double.

The game:  Davis led off the second with a walk, went to third on a Brian Harper single, and scored on a ground out to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  In the fourth, Ripken led off with a double.  He went to third on a balk and scored on a ground out to tie it 1-1.

Knoblauch homered with one out in the sixth to put the Twins up 2-1.  The then took a commanding lead in the seventh.  Mack led off with a double and was bunted to third.  Gene Larkin then delivered a run-scoring single, Dan Gladden followed with an RBI triple, and a ground out brought home one more run to make it 5-1 Minnesota.

The Orioles threatened to get back in the game in the eighth.  Dwight Evans led off with a double and Joe Orsulak drew a one-out walk.  With two-out, Glenn Davis hit an RBI single to cut the lead to 5-2.  Milligan then walked, loading the bases and bringing the go-ahead run up to bat.  But Chito Martinez flied to center, ending the inning.  Baltimore went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Tapani (13-7).  LP:  Mike Mussina (2-4).  S:  Aguilera (36).

Notes:  The Twins used a standard lineup but made use of most of their bench.  Larkin pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the seventh.  Al Newman then ran for Larkin and stayed in the game at second base.  He did that because Randy Bush pinch-hit for Knoblauch.  Scott Leius then replaced Bush on defense and played shortstop.

Puckett raised his average to .327.  Brian Harper was 1-for-4 and was batting .316.  Mack raised his average to .305.  Mike Pagliarulo was 1-for-3 and was batting .304.  Tapani lowered his ERA to 2.89.  Aguilera's ERA went down to 2.35.

This was Knoblauch's first career home run and his only home run in 1991.  He would eventually develop moderate power, hitting 98 home runs in his career with a high of 18 in 1999.

Tapani had allowed just four earned runs in his last three starts (23 innings).

Remember that Mack had hit .143 in April?  He had an awesome second half.  In August, which we've just completed, he batted .343/.387/.637.  His July was even a little better:  .366/.435/.622.  He would not quite match those numbers in September, but he still batted .326/.363/.453.  For the second half of the season, he batted .356/.405/.595.  He hit 19 doubles, 7 triples, and 10 home runs in the second half.

It was a rare thing when the Twins beat Mussina.  For his career, Mussina was 22-6, 3.09, 1.17 WHIP against the Twins.  That's the most wins he had against any team other than Toronto and the best winning percentage against any American League team.  It was the third-lowest ERA he had against any American League team.  His career ERA was 3.68 and his career WHIP was 1.19.

Oakland defeated Detroit 7-6 in ten innings, so the margin between the two teams remained the same.

Record:  The Twins were 78-53, in first place in the American League West, seven games ahead of Oakland.