1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty


Date:  Wednesday, September 11.

Batting star:  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a double.

Pitching stars:  Carl Willis pitched a scoreless inning, walking one.  Denny Neagle pitched two shutout innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Mark Davis pitched five innings, giving up one run on four hits and two walks and striking out three.  Joel Johnston struck out four in three shutout innings, giving up one hit.

The game:  With one out in the second, Jim Eisenreich singled and Bill Pecota followed with a two-run homer, making it 2-0 Royals.  The Twins did very little on offense in the first four innings, only once getting a man to second (Puckett's two-out double in the fourth).  They got on the board in the fifth when Shane Mack hit a one-out double and scored on a Greg Gagne single.  They got the tying run to third base but did not score him, so it remained 2-1 Kansas City.

In the sixth, Brian McRae led off with a single, George Brett walked, Todd Benzinger reached on a sacrifice/fielder's choice, and Eisenreich delivered a two-run single, making it 4-1 Royals.  That's where it stayed, as the Twins got only one hit after that.

WP:  Davis (5-1).  LP:  Kevin Tapani (14-8).  S:  Jeff Montgomery (28).

Notes:  Paul Sorrento was at first base in place of Kent Hrbek.  Hrbek would be back in the lineup the next day.  Al Newman pinch-hit for Scott Leius in the seventh and stayed in the game at third base.

Puckett raised his average to .330.  Mack was 1-for-4 and was batting .314.  Brian Harper was 0-for-4 and was also batting .314.

Tapani pitched just five innings, allowing four runs on six hits and a walk.  He struck out five.  His ERA was 2.29.  Willis lowered his ERA to 2.44.

Joel Johnston was a September call-up for the Royals.  He would allow just one run on nine hits and nine walks in 22.1 innings, giving him an ERA of 0.40.  There was nothing in his minor league record that suggested he could sustain that, and in fact there was nothing in his minor league record that suggested he deserved a September call-up.  As it turned out, he had a poor year both in AAA and in the majors in 1992, then went to the Pirates.  He pitched poorly in AAA in 1993 but got called up in early July anyway, and surprisingly did very well--2-4, 3.38, 2 saves, 1.07 WHIP.  He started 1994 in the majors, but made just four appearances, the last one a disastrous eight runs in 1.1 innings, before being sent down.  He got a cup of coffee with Boston in 1995 and played in independent ball in 1996.  He really didn't pitch very well in A, in AA, or in AAA, so there was no reason to think he'd pitch well in the majors.  But he had four good months, even if they were spread out over two years.  That's baseball, I guess.

The White Sox lost to Oakland 6-5 in ten innings, so they missed a chance to gain ground on the Twins.

Record:  The Twins were 85-55, in first place in the American League West, 8.5 games ahead of Chicago.

In the East, Toronto led Boston by four games.


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