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1991 Rewind: World Series Game Two

MINNESOTA 3, ATLANTA 2 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Sunday, October 20.

Batting stars:  Chili Davis was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer.  Scott Leius was 1-for-3 with a home run.

Pitching stars:  Kevin Tapani pitched eight innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and no walks and striking out three.  Rick Aguilera struck out three in a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Tom Glavine pitched an eight-inning complete game, giving up three runs (one earned) on four hits and three walks and striking out six.  Terry Pendleton was 2-for-4.

The game:  In the first Dan Gladden reached on an error and Chuck Knoblauch walked.  Kirby Puckett hit into a double play, but Davis picked him up with a two-run homer, putting the Twins ahead 2-0.  The Braves came right back in the second.  David Justice led off with a single and Sid Bream followed with a double, putting men on second and third with none out.  Brian Hunter hit a sacrifice fly, getting Atlanta on the board, but a ground out and a strikeout kept the Twins ahead 2-1.

Neither team got a hit in the third or fourth.  In the fifth, Greg Olson led off with a double, went to third on a ground out, and scored on Rafael Belliard's sacrifice fly to tie it 2-2.

In the eighth, Belliard led off with a bunt single, was sacrificed to second, and went to third on a Pendleton infield single.  A foul out and a fly out kept them off the board, though, and it cost them.  The Twins entered the inning having gotten only one hit since the first, but Leius led off with a home run, putting them up 3-2.  Hunter got a one-out single in the ninth but did not advance past first base, and the Twins came away with their second win of the series.

WP:  Tapani (1-1).  LP:  Glavine (0-3).  S:  Aguilera (5).

Notes:  The Twins went with a standard lineup and did not make any substitutions.

The Twins had just four hits in the game, but two of them went over the fence.  The home runs accounted for all the Twins runs.

The Braves were 1-for-6 with men in scoring position.  Both of their runs scored on sacrifice flies.

The Twins did not steal any bases in the game.

Leius was another unlikely home run hero, having hit just five during the season.  His career high was fourteen in 1994.  That was the only season in which he hit more than five home runs.

This was the game with the famous play where Ron Gant overran first base and was tagged out by Hrbek.  It happened in the third inning.  Lonnie Smith was on first with two out.  Gant singled to left, and Smith went to third.  Gladden's throw went past third base and was fielded by Tapani.  Tapani threw to first and Gant, trying to get back to first after rounding it, went past the base.  Atlanta complained that Hrbek had pulled Gant off first base, but we all know that was just sour grapes on the part of the Braves.

The Twins were looking good through two games.  Atlanta would have to take at least two at home to send the series back to Minnesota.

Record:  The Twins led the best-of-seven series 2-0.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Four

OAKLAND 3, MINNESOTA 1 IN OAKLAND

Date:  Friday, August 2.

Batting stars:  Chili Davis was 2-for-4.  Brian Harper was 1-for-2 with a double and a walk.  Greg Gagne was 1-for-2 with a walk.

Pitching star:  Jack Morris pitched an eight-inning complete game, giving up three runs on five hits and four walks and striking out nine.

Opposition stars:  Bob Welch pitched a complete game, giving up one run on seven hits and two walks and striking out five.  Rickey Henderson was 1-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base, his thirty-fifth.  Terry Steinbach was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk.

The game:  There was no score through two.  Harper led off the third with a double.  He was still on second with two out, but Chuck Knoblauch delivered an RBI single to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  Unfortunately, that was the only run the Twins would get.

In the bottom of the third Mike Gallego singled and Rickey Henderson walked, putting men on first and second with two out.  Dave Henderson then singled to tie it 1-1.  In the fourth Steinbach doubled and scored on a two-out single by Mark McGwire to give the Athletics a 2-1 lead.  The Twins had a chance to tie it in the seventh when Davis led off with a double.  Harper drew a one-out walk, but a strikeout/throw out double play ended the inning.

Oakland got an insurance run in the eighth without getting a hit.  With one out, Jose Canseco was hit by a pitch and stole second.  Harold Baines was intentionally walked.  A wild pitch moved the runners up and led to another intentional walk, this time to Steinbach.  Brook Jacoby then hit an RBI ground out to make it 3-1.

The Twins got a two-out single from Davis in the ninth, bringing the tying run to bat, but Shane Mack flied out to end the game.

WP:  Welch (9-6).  LP:  Morris (13-8).  S:  None.

Notes:  It was a standard lineup with no substitutions.  Kirby Puckett was 0-for-4, dropping his average to .328.  Harper raised his average to .312.

Both pitchers threw a complete game and neither team used a substitute.  The ten players on each side who started the game finished the game.  I don't know how unusual that is, but it's definitely unusual.  Morris threw 132 pitches, Welch 121.

Morris had ten complete games in 1991.  He was 6-4 in those games.

The Twins were 0-for-4 in stealing bases in this game.  The players caught stealing were Dan GladdenHarper, Davis, and Kent HrbekHrbek was caught trying to steal second on a strikeout/throw out on a full count with one out in the second. Harper was caught trying to steal second with one out in the fifth.  Davis was caught trying to steal third on a strikeout/throw out on a full count with one out in the seventh.  Gladden was caught trying to steal second with two out in the eighth.

Welch was coming off his Cy Young season in 1990, when he went 27-6, 2.95.  He struggled in 1991, going just 12-13, 4.58.  He would bounce back to have a solid season in 1992, but then fell apart, struggling through two more poor years before calling it quits.

The White Sox lost to Baltimore 3-0, so the gap between the two remained the same.

Record:  The Twins were 61-43, in first place in the American League West, two games ahead of Chicago.