MINNESOTA 6, OAKLAND 2 IN OAKLAND
Date: Sunday, August 4.
Batting stars: Chili Davis was 2-for-3 with a home run (his twenty-fifth), a double, a stolen base, (his fourth), two runs, and two RBIs. Shane Mack was 2-for-3 with two doubles, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch.
Pitching stars: Scott Erickson pitched 6.2 innings, giving up two runs on five hits and no walks and striking out two. Carl Willis pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up on hit.
Opposition star: Gene Nelson pitched 3.1 scoreless innings, giving up two walks.
The game: The first two Twins went out, but then Kirby Puckett doubled, Kent Hrbek hit an RBI single (taking second on the throw), Davis had an RBI double, and Mike Pagliarulo hit an RBI single to make it 3-0 Minnesota. The Twins got another run with two out in the third. Davis walked, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Mack's double. The Twins loaded the bases with two out in the fifth, but Pagliarulo grounded out and the score remained 4-0.
The Athletics got on the board in the bottom of the fifth. Jaime Quirk singled and scored from first on a two-out double by Brook Jacoby. The Twins got the run back in the sixth when Junior Ortiz singled, went to second on an Al Newman single, went to third on a fly ball, and scored on Chuck Knoblauch's sacrifice fly.
Oakland got one more run in the seventh. Harold Baines singled and was bunted to second. Mark McGwire singled to bring him in and make the score 5-2. The Athletics did not get a man past first the rest of the game. Davis homered in the ninth to bring the final score to 6-2.
WP: Erickson (15-3). LP: Dave Stewart (8-6). S: None.
Notes: With Erickson pitching, Ortiz was behind the plate. Newman was at shortstop in place of Greg Gagne.
Scott Leius pinch-hit for Pagliarulo in the ninth. Gagne replaced him in the bottom of the ninth and went to short, with Newman moving to third.
Puckett was 1-for-4 with a walk and was batting .330. Mack raised his average to .300, the highest it had been all season. Erickson's ERA was 2.36. Willis dropped his ERA to 2.06.
Oakland was down 5-1 in the bottom of the seventh. Baines led off with a single. Dave Henderson then bunted him to second, with Jamie Quirk coming up next. McGwire batted after him and did single the run home, but one run was all they got. It just seems like a really strange strategy to have Henderson bunt in that situation. If it had been Rickey Henderson I might have understood it, because he was a good bunter and had a very good chance to beat it out. I don't know how good a bunter Dave was, but he wasn't exactly a speed demon, and he could hit for power. Maybe he did it on his own, seeing the third baseman playing really deep or something. Still, four runs down in the seventh inning is not a time to play for one run.
Dave Stewart had a poor year in 1991--he'd had four consecutive years of pitching over 250 innings a season from 1987-1990, and at age thirty-four that may have caught up to him. Against the Twins he was 1-2, 5.61, 1.71 WHIP. The Twins always handled him pretty well, actually--for his career he was 10-16, 4.37, 1.47 WHIP against them in 31 starts.
The White Sox defeated Baltimore 1-0, so the Twins' lead remained the same.
Record: The Twins were 63-43, in first place in the American League West, three games ahead of Chicago.