1991 Rewind: Game Thirty-nine


Date:  Wednesday, May 22.

Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 3-for-6.  Dan Gladden was 2-for-4 with two walks.  Brian Harper was 2-for-5.

Pitching stars:  Allan Anderson pitched seven innings, giving up one run on seven hit and no walks and striking out two.  Steve Bedrosian pitched a perfect inning.  Rick Aguilera pitched three innings, giving up one run on one hit and three walks and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Mario Diaz was 2-for-2 with a double.  Steve Buechele was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Brian Downing was 2-for-6.  Kevin Brown pitched six innings, giving up two runs on nine hits and two walks and striking out none.

The game:  Each team put men on first and second with two out in the first, and each team failed to score.  It stayed scoreless until the fifth, when Buechele singled, was bunted to second, and scored on Downing's two-out single.

The Twins had two on with none out in the fifth and did not score.  They got on the board in the seventh, but missed a chance for more.  They started the inning with singles by Chili DavisHarperPedro Munoz, and Shane Mack, tying the score and leaving the bases loaded with none out.  The Twins could only get one more out of it, though.  Randy Bush hit a short fly ball, Gladden walked to force in a run.  Chuck Knoblauch hit into a force at home, and Puckett fanned, giving the Twins just a 2-1 lead.

It looked like it might be enough, as the score stayed 2-1 going to the ninth and Aguilera came in to pitch.  He walked Ruben Sierra and struck out Juan Gonzalez.  Sierra then stole second, leading to an intentional walk to Kevin Reimer.  Buechele drew an accidental walk to load the bases and Jack Daugherty hit a sacrifice fly to tie it up.

It stated tied until the twelfth.  Daugherty singled and was bunted to second.  Downing singled to put men on first and third.  Rafael Palmeiro doubled home the go-ahead run.  Later in the inning, Gonzalez delivered a two-run single to make it 5-2.  The Twins got one man on in the bottom of the twelfth, on catcher's interference, but that was it.

WP:  Gerald Alexander (2-0).  LP:  Carl Willis (1-1).  S:  Jeff Russell (10).

Notes:  Munoz started in right field in this game.  Mack and Bush were used as pinch-hitters for Mike Pagliarulo and Greg Gagne, respectively, in the seventh.  Neither stayed in the game, as Al Newman went to short and Scott Leius to third.

Harper raised his average to .369.  Munoz was 1-for-4 and was batting .321.  Puckett raised his average to .316.  Gagne was 0-for-2 and was batting .302.  Knoblauch was 0-for-5 and was batting .300.  Bedrosian lowered his ERA to 2.96.  Aguilera's ERA went up to 1.83.  Terry Leach gave up no runs in two-thirds of an inning to make his ERA 2.40.

Leius went 0-for-2 and was batting .162.  Bush was 0-for-1 and was batting .180.

This was "the" Kevin Brown, the one who was a six-time all-star and finished in the top six in Cy Young voting five times.  1991 was actually one of his worst years.  He went 9-12, 4.40, 1.53 WHIP.  He was a fine pitcher for Texas, leading the league in wins in 1992 with 21, but really became a star when he went to Florida in 1996 and led the league in ERA (1.89) and WHIP (0.94).  He finished second in Cy Young voting to John Smoltz that year, even though Smoltz' ERA was more than a full run higher--one suspects the fact that Smoltz had 27 wins to Brown's 17 was a major factor.  He had some fine years with the Dodgers, too.  For his career he was 211-144, 3.28, 1.22 WHIP.  An excellent pitcher in a career that spanned nineteen seasons (1986, 1988-2005).

This was one of six career wins for Gerald Alexander.  He appeared in 36 major league games, thirty of them in 1991.  He also appeared in three games in 1990 and three in 1992.  He went 5-3, 5.24, 1.58 WHIP in 1991,  For his career he was 6-3, 5.79, 1.69 WHIP.  But he pitched three shutout innings in this game, giving up no hits and two walks.  It had to be one of the best performances of his career.

Since April 26 the Twins had not been more than three games above or below .500.  Since May 4, they had not been more than two games above or below .500.

Record:  The Twins were 19-20, sixth in the American League West, four games behind Oakland.  They were a half game behind fifth-place Chicago.

Happy Birthday–November 16

Mike McGeary (1850)
Joe Quest (1852)
Paul Foytack (1930)
Frank Bolling (1931)
Harry Chiti (1932)
Minnie Mendoza (1933)
Don Hahn (1948)
Herb Washington (1951)
Glenn Burke (1952)
Curt Wardle (1960)
Dwight Gooden (1964)
Chris Haney (1968)
Pete Rose (1969)
Julio Lugo (1975)
Juan Centeno (1989)

Sprinter Herb Washington played for Oakland for two seasons as a pinch-runner.  He appeared in 105 games but did not play in the field and did not bat.  He stole 31 bases in 48 attempts and scored 33 runs.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–November 16

1991 Rewind: Game Thirty-eight


Date:  Tuesday, May 21.

Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 1-for-4 with a home run (his fifth) and three RBIs.  Kent Hrbek was 1-for-2 with two walks.

Pitching star:  Terry Leach pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Rafael Palmeiro was 2-for-3 with two doubles and two walks.  Steve Buechele was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer (his sixth), two runs, and two RBIs.  Julio Franco was 2-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base, his fifth.

The game:  In the first inning, Dan Gladden got an infield single, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Puckett's sacrifice fly to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  The Rangers tied it in the third on doubles by Jeff Huson and Palmeiro.  The Twins went back up 3-1 in the third when Chuck Knoblauch singled and Puckett followed with a two-run homer, but Texas tied it again in the fourth when Kevin Reimer singled and Buechele followed with a two-out two-run homer.

The Rangers went into the lead to stay in the fifth.  Palmerio hit a one-out double and scored on Franco's two-out single.  They added a couple of runs in the eighth.  Singles by Gino Petralli and Buechele and a walk to Huson loaded the bases with one out.  Jack Daugherty hit a sacrifice fly to make the score 5-3 and put men on first and third, Huson then stole second, Brian Harper threw the ball into center field, and Buechele scored to make it 6-3.

The Twins came back in the bottom of the eighth.  Hrbek singled and Chili Davis doubled to put men on second and third with none out.  With one down, Harper hit a two-run double to cut the margin to 6-5.  The tying run was in scoring position, but Randy Bush and Al Newman each grounded out to end the inning.  The Twins went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Bobby Witt (2-3).  LP:  Kevin Tapani (2-4).  S:  Jeff Russell (9).

Notes:  Bush was the right fielder in this game.  Gene Larkin pinch-hit for Mike Pagliarulo in the eighth, with Scott Leius coming in to play third.  Shane Mack pinch-ran for Harper in the eighth and remained in the game in right field, with Junior Ortiz coming in to catch.

Harper was 1-for-4 and was batting .367.  Knoblauch was 1-for-4 and was batting .311.  Puckett's average went to .308.  Tapani had an ERA of 3.28.  Steve Bedrosian gave up two runs (one earned) in one inning and raised his ERA to 3.09.  Leach went down to 2.51.

Bush went 0-for-3 with a walk and was batting .184.

It was the fourth loss in a row for Tapani.  Over that span he had pitched to an ERA of 4.55 and his season ERA went from 2.10 to 3.28.  The Twins had scored a total of eight runs in those four games, with five of them obviously coming in this game.

Memory had told me that Bobby Witt always pitched well against the Twins.  Memory was right.  He was 17-7, 3.63, 1.36 WHIP against them.  That's the most wins he had against any team.  The only American League team against whom he had a better ERA was Boston (3.26).  This was the only start he would make against the Twins in 1991.  For his career, Witt was 142-157, 4.83, 1.57 WHIP.  Looking at that career, he wasn't nearly as good as I remembered him being, so I suppose his success against the Twins skewed my memory.

Record:  The Twins were 19-19, fifth in the American League West, four games behind Seattle.  They were a half game behind fourth-place California.

Happy Birthday–November 15

Tom Loftus (1856)
Pat Ragan (1883)
Mickey Livingston (1914)
Gus Bell (1928)
Big Brother A (1951)
Randy Niemann (1955)
Pedro Borbon (1967)

Tom Loftus managed Cincinnati, Chicago, and Washington around the turn of the (twentieth) century.

Big Brother A is one of the two people--Dad A being the other--from whom I got a love of baseball and a love of the Twins.  I don't know how it's possible that I have a brother who's sixty-eight years old when I'm still so young, but happy birthday, Big Brother.

We also wish a happy birthday to spookymilk’s brother.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–November 15

Remodeled basement. Same half-baked taste.