MINNESOTA 11, MILWAUKEE 5 IN MINNESOTA
Batting stars: Kirby Puckett was 4-for-5 with a two-run homer (his twenty-seventh), a double, a stolen base (his sixteenth), and two runs. Gary Gaetti was 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs. Tom Brunansky was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer (his twenty-first) and a walk. Steve Lombardozzi was 2-for-4 with two runs. Al Woods was 1-for-1 with a three-run homer.
Pitching stars: Mike Smithson pitched seven innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and no walks and striking out six. Roy Lee Jackson retired all four batters he faced.
Opposition stars: Robin Yount was 3-for-5 with a home run, his fifth. Jim Gantner was 2-for-4. Ernie Riles was 2-for-4 with a double. Bill Schroeder was 1-for-1 with a two-run homer, his fourth. Mike Birkbeck pitched three shutout innings of relief, giving up two hits and two walks and striking out two.
The game: Yount led off the game with a home run, but the Twins took over after that. In the bottom of the first, Puckett singled, stole second, and scored on Gaetti's single to tie it at one. Brunansky then hit a single-plus-error that scored Gaetti from first and put the Twins up 2-1.
The Twins took a commanding lead in the second. Mickey Hatcher drew a one-out walk and went to third on Lombardozzi's single. A wild pitch scored a run and Puckett hit a two-run homer to make it 5-1. Gaetti then doubled and Brunansky hit a two-run homer, giving the Twins a 7-1 lead.
The Twins kept adding on. In the fourth, Lombardozzi singled and scored from first on Gaetti's two-out double. In the fifth, Kent Hrbek and Mark Salas led off with singles and Woods hit a three-run homer to put the Twins ahead 11-1.
The Brewers got the rest of their runs in the eighth. A tiring Smithson gave up singles to Gantner and Yount and a two-run double to Charlie Moore. Allan Anderson came in and gave up a two-run homer to Schroeder before retiring the side. Milwaukee went down in order in the ninth.
WP: Smithson (12-10). LP: Teddy Higuera (17-9). S: None.
Notes: Tim Laudner started at catcher in this game, with Salas pinch-hitting in the fifth. Laudner, Salas, and Jeff Reed divided the catching duties almost evenly: Salas caught in 69, Laudner in 68, and Reed in 64.
Billy Beane was in left in place of Randy Bush. Beane actually played quite a bit of left field in 1986--64 games, with Bush playing 90 and Hatcher 45. Hatcher was the DH in this game, playing in place of Roy Smalley.
With the blowout game, the Twins made quite a few substitutions. i already mentioned Salas replacing Laudner. Woods pinch-hit for Beane in the fifth, with Mark Davidson then taking over in left. Smalley pinch-hit for Hatcher in the fifth and stayed in the game at DH. Alvaro Espinoza came in at short to replace Greg Gagne in the seventh.
I must confess that I had no memory that the Twins once had a player named "Al Woods" and in checking it appears that I completely missed him in the birthday list. His birthday is August 8, so I'll try to include him next month. In checking on him, I do remember him playing for Toronto as "Alvis Woods". He was an outfielder for them from 1977-1982 and had a few pretty good years. He had a poor year in 1982, though, and then spent three and a half years in AAA before resurfacing with the Twins for about a month and a half in 1986. He did well for them, batting .321/.375/.571 in 28 at-bats, nearly all of them as a pinch-hitter. It was pretty much his swan song, though--he played in Mexico in 1987 and then was done.
Puckett was batting .349 at this point. He would finish at .328. He was the team's only .300 hitter (other than Woods). The Twins batted .261, which was seventh in the league. Cleveland led at .284, well ahead of second-place Boston at .271.
Gaetti led the team in homers with 34. Puckett had 31 homers and Hrbek 29. Also in double figures were Brunansky (23), Smalley (20), Gagne (12), and Laudner (10). The Twins hit 196 home runs, second in the league to Detroit (198).
Frank Viola led the team in starts and went 16-13, but with a 4.51 ERA. Bert Blyleven was 17-14, 4.01 and Smithson was 13-14, 4.77. Neal Heaton actually had the lowest ERA among the starters, going 4-9, 3.98, but he made just 17 starts, as he was traded to the Twins from Cleveland in June. Also making double-digit starts were Mark Portugal (6-10, 4.31), Anderson (3-6, 5.51), and John Butcher, who was traded for Heaton (0-3, 6.30).
Six different pitchers had saves. Keith Atherton led the team with 10, going 5-8, 3.75. George Frazier had six saves with a 4.39 ERA. Frank Pastore (4.01) and Ron Davis (9.08) each had two saves, with Roy Lee Jackson (3.86) and Juan Agosto (8.85) each getting one.
The Twins were dead last in ERA at 4.77. Leading the league was Kansas City at 3.82. The Twins were twelfth in WHIP at 1.45. California lead at 1.26.
I remembered Yount as more of a power hitter than he actually was. He only had four seasons of over 20 homers, with a high of 29 in 1982. He had nine seasons in which he did not even reach ten. Maybe I remember him as more of a power threat because of all the doubles and triples--he hit 583 doubles, twice leading the league, and 126 triples, also twice leading the league. He did hit 251 homers in his career, and I don't mean this as a criticism of him. He was a great player. He just wasn't a big home run guy.
Teddy Higuera was a fine pitcher, and 1986 was one of his best years, but you sure couldn't tell it by this game. He allowed seven runs on seven hits and a walk in just 1.2 innings. For the season he was 20-11, 2.79 and finished second in Cy Young voting to Roger Clemens. From 1985-1990 he was 89-54, 3.34. He then had injury troubles and was never the same pitcher. He's largely forgotten now, but for several years he was a pitcher you'd have been very happy to have on your team.
This was one of the last games Ray Miller managed for the Twins. He would be replaced by Tom Kelly a little over a week later.
This was the last of a three-game winning streak. The Twins would drop their next five.
Record: The Twins were 58-75, in seventh (last) place in the American League West, 18 games behind California. They would finish 71-91, in sixth place, 21 games behind California.
The Brewers were 64-68, in seventh (last) place in the American League East, 14.5 games behind Boston. They would finish 77-84, in sixth place, 18 games behind Boston.
Random Record: The Twins are 52-49 in Random Rewind games.