CLEVELAND 12, MINNESOTA 3 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Wednesday, October 1.
Batting star: Randy Bush was 2-for-4 with a triple and a stolen base, his fifth.
Pitching star: Keith Atherton struck out two in 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit.
Opposition stars: Tom Candiotti struck out twelve in a complete game, giving up three runs on eight hits and no walks. Julio Franco was 4-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs. Pat Tabler was 3-for-5 with a triple and a double. Chris Bando was 2-for-4. Otis Nixon was 2-for-5 with a stolen base (his twenty-third), two runs, and two RBIs. Joe Carter was 1-for-5 with a three-run homer, his twenty-ninth.
The game: Nixon led off the game with a single, stole second, and scored on Franco's single. In the second Tabler singled, Brook Jacoby reached on an error, and Jay Bell hit a two-run double to make it 3-0. In the third Franco singled and scored on Tabler's double to make it 4-0.
The Twins got on the board in the third when Kirby Puckett doubled and scored on a Gary Gaetti single. But it was all downhill from there. In the fifth Brett Butler doubled, went to third on a fly ball, and scored on a balk. The Indians put the game out of reach with four runs in the sixth. Jacoby singled, Bell walked, and Bando singled to load the bases. Nixon had a two-run single, Butler had a sacrifice fly, and Franco had an RBI single. Cleveland led 9-1.
With two out in the eighth Butler was hit by a pitch, Franco singled, and Carter hit a three-run homer. The Twins got a couple of runs in the ninth. Mickey Hatcher singled, Bush tripled, and Ron Washington had an RBI ground out.
WP: Candiotti (15-12). LP: Allan Anderson (3-6). S: None.
Notes: A meaningless game at the end of a lost season. Ray Miller was fired as manager in mid-September, with Tom Kelly taking over. The Twins had long since been eliminated from the playoffs by this time.
Puckett was still a leadoff batter at this point. Hatcher played first base in place of Kent Hrbek. Jeff Reed was behind the plate, with Mark Salas at DH and Roy Smalley out of the lineup. The Twins used three catchers about evenly in 1986: Salas (69 games), Laudner (68), and Reed (64). Alvaro Espinoza was at second base in place of Steve Lombardozzi.
The Twins made numerous substitutions. Washington replaced Gaetti at third base in the seventh. Mark Davidson replaced Tom Brunansky in right field in the seventh. Laudner replaced Reed at catcher in the eighth. Lombardozzi went to second in the eighth, with Espinoza moving to short and Greg Gagne coming out of the game. Billy Beane went to left field in the eighth, with Bush moving to right, Davidson to center, and Puckett coming out of the game.
Anderson was the Twins' starter. He lasted only three innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits and no walks and striking out two. Other pitchers used in the game were Roy Lee Jackson, Bill Latham, Atherton, and Ray Fontenot. This was Anderson's rookie season. He made 10 starts and 11 relief appearances, going 3-6, 5.55, 1.61 WHIP in 84.1 innings. When you look at his ERA title in 1988, it really looks like a fluke--his ERA was 2.45 that year, 3.80 in 1989, and well over four in every other season. He got a lot of criticism for sitting out the last game in 1988 to preserve his ERA title, but it's really the only thing he accomplished in his career, so I say good for him.
The leading batter for the Twins was Puckett at .329.
Record: The Twins were 68-90, in sixth place in the American League West, twenty-three games behind California. They would finish 71-91, in sixth place, twenty-one games behind California.
The Indians were 81-78, in fifth place in the American League East, fifteen games behind Boston. They would finish 84-78, in fifth place, 11.5 games behind Boston.