MINNESOTA 4, KANSAS CITY 1 IN KANSAS CITY
Date: Sunday, June 2.
Batting stars: Greg Gagne was 3-for-5 with a double. Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a home run (his sixth), a double, a walk, and two RBIs. Lenny Webster was 1-for-2 with a double and two walks.
Pitching star: Scott Erickson pitched 8.1 innings, giving up one run on five hits and a walk and striking out eight. He threw 119 pitches.
Opposition stars: Jim Eisenreich was 3-for-4 with a double. Luis Aquino pitched four shutout innings, giving up three hits and a walk and striking out two.
The game: The Twins scored exactly one run in each of the first four innings. In the first, Chuck Knoblauch tripled followed by a Puckett double. In the second, Mike Pagliarulo doubled, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Gagne's single. In the third, Puckett homered.
The Royals got on the board in the bottom of the third, as Terry Shumpert walked, went to second on a ground out, and scored on Kirk Gibson's single. Webster homered in the fourth to make the score 4-1.
And that was it. Erickson was in control after that, retiring ten straight batters at one point and not allowing a man past second base. Rick Aguilera came on with one out in the ninth to complete the game.
WP: Erickson (8-2). LP: Tom Gordon (4-3). S: Aguilera (11).
Notes: Pedro Munoz replaced Dan Gladden in left. Gagne was the leadoff batter. Gene Larkin was in right field. Gladden was used as a pinch-runner for Larkin in the eighth and went to left field, with Munoz moving to right. Al Newman pinch-ran for Pagliarulo, also in the eighth inning, and remained in the game at third base. With the injury to Junior Ortiz, Webster was called up and made his 1991 debut. He had been up briefly in 1989 and 1990, getting a total of twenty-six at-bats, but his home run in this game was the first of his major league career. It's interesting that Tom Kelly continued to use someone other than Brian Harper to catch Erickson.
Webster, after his debut, was batting .500. Puckett raised his average to .335. Gagne raised his average to .319. Erickson lowered his ERA to 1.58. Aguilera dropped his ERA to 1.82.
Despite the fact that Erickson was only twenty-three and in his first full year in the majors, TK was not hesitant to leave him out there. This was his eleventh start, and he had thrown over one hundred pitches in eight of them. In six of them he was over one hundred ten and four he had one hundred twenty or more. His high was 134 on April 16 and his low was 84 in his next start on April 21. His average in those eleven starts was one hundred ten.
Eisenreich apparently enjoyed playing against his former team. For his career, he batted .341/.364/.514 in 179 at-bats against the Twins. The only team against whom he had a higher career OPS was the Dodgers, whom he destroyed to the tune of .405/.468/.620 in 205 at-bats. He hit seven homers against the Dodgers and no more than four against any other club. In 1991 Eisenreich batted .423/.444/.615 against Minnesota. Obviously, he did not play against the Dodgers that year.
The Twins had finally pulled back up to .500. Could they get above .500? Could they stay there? We shall see.
Record: The Twins were 25-25, in fifth place in the American League West, 4.5 games behind Oakland. They were one game ahead of sixth-place Chicago and 1.5 games behind fourth-place Seattle.