Tag Archives: clutch hitting

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-four


Date:  Sunday, September 15.

Batting stars:  Randy Bush was 2-for-4.  Gene Larkin was 1-for-2 with a double and two walks.  Brian Harper was 1-for-2 with a walk.

Pitching star:  Mark Guthrie pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Jose Guzman pitched six innings, giving up two runs on four hits and five walks and striking out five.  Ruben Sierra was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two RBIs.  Ivan Rodriguez was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.

The game:  The Twins jumped to an early lead.  Larkin led off the game with a double, Chuck Knoblauch walked, and Shane Mack reached on a fielder's choice, loading the bases with none out.  The Twins did not totally cash that in, but a ground out and a sacrifice fly each plated a run to make it 2-0 Twins.

That was as good as it would get.  In the second, Monty Fariss had a one-out single, Mario Diaz walked, a wild pitch moved the runners up, and Rodriguez delivered a two-run double to tie the score.  The Twins put two on in the third and the fourth, but could not score.  The Rangers went ahead in the fifth when Brian Downing singled and scored from first on a Sierra double.

The Twins had men on second and third with one out in the sixth, but a pair of strikeouts ended the threat.  Texas added an insurance run in the seventh when Rodriguez led off with a single, was bunted to second, and scored on a Sierra single.  The Twins would again put two in the ninth, but a fly out ended the game.

WP:  Guzman (12-5).  LP:  Allan Anderson (5-9).  S:  Jeff Russell (28).

Notes:  Pedro Munoz was in left in place of Dan Gladden.  Larkin was in right field, with Mack moving to center and Kirby Puckett on the bench.  Larkin batted first.  Randy Bush was at DH in place of Chili DavisAl Newman was at third in place of Mike Pagliarulo and Scott Leius.

Again there were a lot of bench moves.  Jarvis Brown pinch-ran for Larkin in the seventh.  He stayed in the game in left field, with Munoz moving to right.  Paul Sorrento pinch-hit for Munoz in the eighth.  Gladden replaced him and went to left field, with Brown going to right.  Lenny Webster pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the ninth.  Davis pinch-hit for Chuck Knoblauch in the ninth.

Harper raised his average to .312.  Mack was 0-for-5 and fell to .312.  Webster was 0-for-1 and was batting .381.  Terry Leach pitched a third of an inning and did not give up a run, dropping his ERA to 3.05.

Sorrento was 0-for-1 and was batting .174.

The Twins stranded ten runners and were 0-for-10 with men in scoring position.

The Twins had scored 13 runs in their last five games.  Four of them came in one extra inning.

The White Sox beat California 9-2, so they gained a game on the Twins.

Record:  The Twins were 86-58, in first place in the American League West, 7.5 games ahead of Chicago.

Boston won and Toronto lost, so the Blue Jays' lead in the East fell to 3.5 games.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Twenty-three


Date:  Thursday, August 22.

Batting stars:  Randy Bush was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer (his fifth) and a walk.  Brian Harper was 2-for-4.  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-5 with a double.  Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-5.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-5.

Pitching stars:  Jack Morris struck out seven in 6.1 innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and five walks.  Rick Aguilera pitched two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Rick DeLucia pitched 6.1 innings, giving up one run on six hits and two walks and striking out three.  Greg Briley was 3-for-5 with two stolen bases, his seventeenth and eighteenth.  Pete O'Brien was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Jay Buhner was 2-for-5 with a double.  Edgar Martinez was 2-for-6 with a double and two runs.  Harold Reynolds was 2-for-6 with a double.

The game:  Martinez led off the game with a single, went to second on a ground out, and scored on an O'Brien single to give the Mariners a 1-0 lead.  Each team missed a chance in the second.  In the third O'Brien hit a two-out single and scored on Buhner's double to make it 2-0 Seattle.

Each team put a man on second in the fourth but neither scored.  The Twins had two on in the sixth and the Mariners loaded the bases in the seventh, but the score remained 2-0.  The Twins finally got on the board in the seventh when Mike Pagliarulo doubled and scored on Knoblauch's two-out single.  Seattle came right back in the eighth.  Dave Cochrane singled, and with two out Martinez had an RBI double and Reynolds had a run-scoring single, putting the Mariners ahead 4-1.

It was still 4-1 going to the bottom of the ninth.  With one out, Al Newman walked, Knoblauch singled, and Bush hit a three-run homer to tie the score 4-4.  Seattle went down in order in the top of the tenth.  With two out and none on in the bottom of the tenth, Leius hit a walkoff home run to win the game for the Twins.

WP:  Aguilera (4-4).  LP:  Mike Schooler (0-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Shane Mack was in left field, with Dan Gladden out of the lineup.  Gene Larkin took Mack's place in right.  Knoblauch was the leadoff batter, with Bush batting second.  Bush replaced Chili Davis in the DH slot.  Newman was again at shortstop in place of Greg Gagne.

The Twins again made liberal use of their bench.  Gagne pinch-ran for Brian Harper in the eighth.  Davis pinch-hit for Larkin in the eighth and stayed in the game in left field, with Mack moving to right.  Junior Ortiz replaced Gagne in the ninth and was the catcher.  Gladden pinch-hit for Pagliarulo in the ninth and stayed in the game in left field, replacing Davis.  Leius entered the game in the tenth at third base.

Puckett raised his average to .330.  Harper went up to .312.  Mack was 0-for-4 and was batting .306.  Aguilera lowered his ERA to 2.38.

The Twins stranded nine men and went 2-for-12 with men in scoring position.  The Mariners stranded fourteen men and went 2-for-19 with men in scoring position.

Morris threw 137 pitches in his 6.1 innings.

It seemed odd that Schooler had not had a decision before this game, but he missed the first half of 1991, not appearing in his first game until July 12.  He had five saves to this point.

Edgar Martinez was the leadoff batter for Seattle in this series.  It was his second full season, and he was still primarily a third baseman at this point.  He batted leadoff 67 times in 1991 and was good at it.  He didn't steal any bases, which is no surprise, but he batted .307 as a leadoff batter with an OBP of .405.  He would move down to (primarily) the number two spot in 1992 and would not return to the number one position.

The White Sox did not play and Oakland defeated California 2-1, so those two teams moved in to a "virtual tie" for second place.

Record:  The Twins were 74-49, in first place in the American League West, six games ahead of Chicago and Oakland.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Fifteen


Date:  Wednesday, August 14.

Batting stars:  Chili Davis was 2-for-4 with a walk, a double, and two RBIs.  Shane Mack was 2-for-5.  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-5.

Pitching star:  Carl Willis pitched three innings, giving up one run on two hits and striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Luis Polonia was 2-for-3.  Wally Joyner was 2-for-4 with a home run, his sixteenth.  Dave Winfield was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his twenty-second.  Lance Parrish was 1-for-4 with a home run, his fourteenth.

The game:  The Twins loaded the bases with none out in the second inning, but Mike Pagliarulo was caught looking, Greg Gagne hit into a forceout at the plate, and Al Newman grounded out.  The Angels started the scoring in the third when Luis Sojo doubled, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a sacrifice fly.  The Twins got on the board, and in fact took the lead, in the bottom of the third.  Mack and Randy Bush opened the inning with singles.  Kirby Puckett bunted them over and Davis delivered a two-out two-run double to give the Twins a 2-1 lead.

California took the lead back in the top of the fourth when Dave Parker walked and Winfield hit a two-run homer.  The Twins tied it 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth when Gagne tripled and scored on Newman's sacrifice fly.  The Angels went into the lead to stay in the fifth when Dick Schofield singled and Joyner hit a two-run homer to make the score 5-3.

The Twins had their chances, but could not catch up.  They had three consecutive one-out singles in the fifth, but Brian Harper flied out and Pagliarulo grounded out to end the inning.  With one out in the sixth, Newman reached on an error, Mack singled, and Dan Gladden had an RBI single to cut the lead to 5-4.  The tying run was on second, but Puckett and Kent Hrbek each struck out and the Twins never threatened again.

California added single runs in the eighth and ninth to close out the scoring.  In the eighth Polonia and Joyner singled and a sacrifice fly brought home the run.  In the ninth Parrish homered.

WP:  Kirk McCaskill (9-15).  LP:  David West (3-3).  S:  Bryan Harvey (27).

Notes:  Mack started in left and batted first in place of Gladden.  Bush played right field and batted second.  Newman was at second base in place of Chuck Knoblauch.

Gladden pinch-hit for Bush in the sixth and stayed in the game in left, with Mack moving to right.  Scott Leius pinch-hit for Pagliarulo in the seventh and stayed in the game at third base.

Puckett was 1-for-4 and was batting .326.  Harper was 0-for-4 and fell to .304.  Willis' ERA fell to 1.94.

West pitched five innings, giving up five runs on five hits and one walk and striking out four.  McCaskill also pitched five innings, giving up three runs on eight hits and two walks and striking out three.

The Twins went 4-for-14 with men in scoring position, which isn't so bad, but they stranded ten men, including (as shown above) twice leaving the bases loaded.  The Angels stranded only two men despite going 0-for-3 with men in scoring position.  The Twins out-hit California 10-8.

The White Sox defeated Detroit 9-8 to gain a game on the Twins.

Record:  The Twins were 68-47, in first place in the American League West, 1.5 games ahead of Chicago.

1991 Rewind: Game Forty-four


Date:  Monday, May 27.

Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 4-for-5.  Dan Gladden was 2-for-5 with two runs.  Kent Hrbek was 1-for-4 with a home run (his third) and three RBIs.  Chuck Knoblauch was 0-for-1 with four walks.

Pitching stars:  None.

Opposition stars:  Juan Gonzalez was 3-for-5 with a double, two runs, and three RBIs.  Rafael Palmeiro was 3-for-5 with two runs.  Steve Buechele was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Julio Franco was 2-for-5 with a home run (his fifth), a triple, two runs, and three RBIs.  Mike Stanley was 2-for-5 with a double.  Brian Downing was 1-for-3 with a triple, two walks, and two RBIs.

The game:  Well, the Twins got off to a good start.  Gladden led off with a bunt single, Chuck Knoblauch walked, and Puckett delivered an RBI single, giving the Twins a run before anyone was retired.  A double play and a ground out took them out of the inning, though, and it was all downhill from there.

With one out in the bottom of the first, Palmeiro singled and Ruben Sierra doubled.  A ground out held the runners at second and third and gave the Twins hope, but the hope was dashed as Gonzalez hit a two-run double and Stanley followed with an RBI single, putting the Rangers up 3-1.

The Twins opened the second with a single and a walk, but a double play again took them out of the inning.  They got men to second and third with one out in the third, but again could not tally.

Texas added a run in the third on singles by Buechele, Stanley, and Mario Diaz.  The Rangers put it out of reach in the fourth.  Downing led off with a walk, Palmeiro singled, and Sierra's sacrifice fly made it 5-1.  Franco had an RBI triple and scored on Gonzalez' single and the score was 7-1.

Hrbek hit a two-run homer in the fifth to cut the margin to 7-3.  The Twins put men on second and third in the seventh but could not bring them home.  Texas padded their lead with a two-run triple by Downing in the bottom of the seventh and a two-run homer by Franco in the eighth.

The Twins tried to rally in the ninth.  Gladden led off with a single, Knoblauch walked, Puckett singled, and Hrbek walked, forcing in a run and leaving the bases loaded with none out.  "Leaving the bases loaded", however, is exactly what the Twins did, as Kenny Rogers came in to strike out Chili Davis, get Brian Harper on a short fly ball, and strike out Pedro Munoz to end the game.

WP:  Kevin Brown (4-3).  LP:  Allan Anderson (1-4).  S:  None.

Notes:  Munoz was in right field.  Al Newman was at third base.  Scott Leius came into the game in the eighth inning to play shortstop, replacing Greg Gagne.

Harper was 1-for-5 and was batting .361.  Puckett raised his average to .339.  Davis was 1-for-5 and was batting .310.  Munoz was 1-for-4 with a walk and was batting .302.

Anderson lasted just 3.1 ininngs, allowing seven runs on eleven hits and a walk and striking out two.  It was his third poor start out of four, and his ERA was up to 5.20.

Paul Abbott relieved Anderson, making his 1991 debut.  He had made seven starts for the Twins in 1990.  He did not pitch particularly well, either, going 3.1 innings and giving up two runs on three hits and four walks.  He did strike out three.  He would stay on the team until mid-August, then come back as a September call-up.

Terry Leach finished up.  He had his second consecutive bad game, pitching 1.1 innings and allowing two runs on one hit and a walk and striking out three.  Over his last two games, his ERA rose from 2.08 to 3.66.

Texas starter Brown pitched five innings, giving up three runs on six hits and five walks and striking out two.

The Twins stranded twelve men and were 2-for-15 with men in scoring position.

The Twins had lost three in a row, seven of eight, and nine of twelve.

I'd forgotten that Kenny Rogers spent his first four major league seasons in the bullpen.  In fact, he led the league in appearances with 81 in 1992.  He would become a starter the following season, 1993, jumping from 78.2 innings to 208.1.  He would remain in a major league rotation through 2008, when he was forty-three.  He was clearly on the down side by then, but he had an excellent season in 2006, when he was forty-one:  He went 17-8, 3.84, 1.26 WHIP and finished tied for fifth (with Joe Nathan) in Cy Young voting.  For his career, he was 219-156, 4.27, 1.40 WHIP.  That may not sound super, but he was in a major league rotation for sixteen consecutive seasons and made thirty or more starts in fourteen of them, and that's pretty good.

Record:  The Twins were 20-24, in sixth place, mere percentage points ahead of seventh-place Kansas City.  They were 7.5 games behind first-place Texas and one game behind fifth-place Chicago.