MINNESOTA 8, CHICAGO 3 IN CHICAGO
Date: Monday, September 30.
Batting stars: Randy Bush was 3-for-4 with a two-run homer, his sixth. Brian Harper was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two runs. Pedro Munoz was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer (his sixth), a double, and two runs. Paul Sorrento was 1-for-4 with a home run, his fourth.
Pitching stars: Tom Edens pitched six innings, giving up one run on five hits and no walks and striking out two. Steve Bedrosian pitched two shutout innings, giving up two hits.
Opposition star: Matt Merullo was 1-for-2 with a two-run homer, his fourth.
The game: In the second Harper walked, went to third on a Bush single, and scored on a sacrifice fly to put the Twins up 1-0. The White Sox got a pair of one-out singles in the third but could do nothing with them. In the fourth, Munoz doubled, Harper had an RBI single, and Bush followed with a two-run homer, putting the Twins ahead 4-0.
The Twins put it away in the fifth. Al Newman led off with a single, but a force out put Jarvis Brown at first base instead. He stole second, Greg Gagne walked, and Munoz hit a three-run homer. Sorrento made it back-to-back homers and gave the Twins an 8-0 lead.
The White Sox got on the board in the fifth when Lance Johnson led off with a triple and scored on a ground out. They got a couple more in the ninth when Warren Newson walked and Merullo hit a two-run homer, but never threatened to get back into the game.
WP: Edens (2-2). LP: Alex Fernandez (9-13). S: None.
Notes: As you might suppose the day after clinching the division, it was an unusual lineup. Brown started in center in place of Kirby Puckett and batted first. Gagne moved up to the second spot. Munoz was in left in place of Dan Gladden and batted third. Paul Sorrento was at first base in place of Kent Hrbek and batted fourth. Harper was the DH in place of Chili Davis. Bush was in right field in place of Shane Mack. Lenny Webster was behind the plate. Newman was at second base in place of Chuck Knoblauch.
It should be noted that with the roster restrictions now, teams can no longer do this. The day after a team clinches, several regulars are still going to have to play, because there won't be enough reserves to fill out the lineup.
The Twins made just one substitution--Scott Leius came in for Gagne at shortstop in the fifth inning.
Harper raised his average to .316. Bush went up to .312. Webster was 0-for-4 and was batting .333. Rick Aguilera allowed two runs in one inning to make his ERA 2.34.
This was the first time Bedrosian had pitched since September 17. He presumably had some sort of injury or illness that he was dealing with.
A couple of weeks earlier, of course, it had looked like this might be an important series in the last week of the season. As it turned out, the Twins had clinched the day before, rendering the series meaningless as far as the pennant race was concerned.
This was the thirty-second game of Brown's career, but only his second start. He was used as either a pinch-runner or a defensive replacement in the other thirty games. I'm sure he was happy to be in the big leagues at all, and I'm sure he was also happy to be on a championship team. Still, it must have been just a little frustrating to not get more of a chance to play. He probably understood it, but it still would be frustrating.
Record: The Twins were 93-63, in first place in the American League West, nine games ahead of Chicago.
Toronto lost and Boston won, so the Red Sox kept their hopes alive in the East. The Blue Jays led by 3.5 games.