MINNESOTA 5, KANSAS CITY 2 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Tuesday, June 9.
Batting stars: Dan Gladden was 3-for-5 with two stolen bases, his tenth and eleventh. Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a double, scoring once and driving in one. Tim Laudner was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his fifth. Mark Davidson was 1-for-2 with a triple, two walks, and a stolen base (his sixth), scoring once.
Pitching stars: Joe Niekro struck out six in 6.1 innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on nine hits and three walks. Keith Atherton struck out four in 2.2 perfect innings.
Opposition stars: Willie Wilson was 2-for-5 with a double and a stolen base (his fifteenth), driving in one. Jaime Quirk was 2-for-4 with a double and a run. Kevin Seitzer was 1-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base (his third), scoring once.
The game: With one out in the first Seitzer walked and Danny Tartabull singled. A passed ball moved the runners up and a ground out put the Royals up 1-0. The Twins loaded the bases with two out in the first and had two on with two out in the second, but the score did not change.
It changed in the third. Puckett led off with a double. Gaetti singled to put men on first and third, Gene Larkin singled home the tying run, and a sacrifice fly made it 2-1 Twins. The Twins had two on in the fourth and Kansas City had two on in the fifth, but it stayed 2-1.
Until the bottom of the fourth. Tom Brunansky hit a one-out double and Laudner hit a two-out two-run homer to make it 4-1 Twins. The Royals again put two on in the sixth, but did not score again until the seventh, when Quirk and Wilson hit back-to-back doubles to cut the margin to 4-2. They had men on first and third with one out, but could do no more damage.
The Twins added a run in the eighth. Davidson led off with a walk and Randy Bush and Gladden singled, loading the bases with none out. A sacrifice fly was all they could get out of it, but it was enough. Atherton retired the last eight Kansas City batters to preserve the victory.
WP: Niekro (4-4). LP: Danny Jackson (2-8). S: Atherton (1).
Notes: Al Newman started at shortstop in place of Greg Gagne and led off, with Gladden batting second. Gene Larkin played first base in place of Kent Hrbek, Davidson was in right field, with Tom Brunansky at DH and Roy Smalley out of the lineup.
This was Niekro's first start as a Twin.
Puckett raised his average to .319. He would finish at .332 Larkin was batting .362. He would finish at .266.
On the other end of the scale, Laudner was batting .163. He would finish at .191. Newman was batting .193. He would finish at .221. The Twins batted .261, tenth in the league. Boston led at .278.
Kent Hrbek led in home runs with 34. Brunansky was second at 32 and Gaetti was right behind at 31. Puckett hit 28, Laudner 16, Bush 11, and Gagne 10. The Twins hit 196 home runs, fifth in the league. Detroit led with 225.
As you recall, the Twins rotation was Frank Viola (17-10, 2.90) and Bert Blyleven (15-12, 4.01) and not much else. The rest of it was Les Straker (8-10, 4.37), Mike Smithson (4-7, 5.94), and Niekro (4-9, 6.26). The bullpen wasn't much better. The closer, Jeff Reardon, was 8-8, 4.48, although he had 31 saves. The only reliever with a sub-four ERA was Juan Berenguer at 3.94. The Twins were eleventh in ERA at 4.63, with Toronto leading at 3.74. The Twins were tenth in WHIP at 1.42. Toronto led there, too, at 1.30.
This was the fourth game of a seven-game winning streak for the Twins. They would win ten of eleven.
Record: The Twins were 31-26, in second place in the American League West, one percentage point behind Kansas City. They would finish 85-77, in first place, two games ahead of Kansas City.
The Royals were 30-25, in first place in the American League West, one percentage point ahead of Minnesota. They would finish 83-79, in second place, two games behind Minnesota.
Rewind record: The Twins are 57-52 in Random Rewind games.