Tag Archives: clutchiness

1991 Rewind: World Series Game Three

ATLANTA 5, MINNESOTA 4 IN ATLANTA (12 INNINGS)

Date:  Tuesday, October 22.

Batting stars:  Dan Gladden was 3-for-6 with a triple.  Kirby Puckett was 1-for-4 with a home run (his third) and two walks.  Chili Davis had a pinch-hit two-run homer, his second.

Pitching stars:  Steve Bedrosian pitched two perfect innings, striking out one.  Carl Willis pitched two shutout innings, giving up two walks.  Mark Guthrie pitched two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Steve Avery pitched seven innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on four hits and no walks, striking out five.  Mark Lemke was 2-for-5 with a walk.  David Justice was 2-for-6 with a home run (his second), two runs, and a stolen base.  Lonnie Smith was 1-for-4 with a home run.  Greg Olson was 1-for-3 with three walks.

The game:  Gladden led off the game with a triple and scored on Chuck Knoblauch's sacrifice fly to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  In the second Olson drew a two-out walk, Lemke singled, and Rafael Belliard delivered an RBI single to tie it 1-1.

Justice led off the fourth with a home run to put the Braves up 2-1.  Smith homered with one out in the fifth to make it 3-1.  Terry Pendleton walked.  With two out Justice reached on an error, Sid Bream walked, and Olson drew a bases loaded walk to force in a run and make the score 4-1.

The Twins started the sixth with two singles but did not score.  Puckett led off the seventh with a home run to cut the lead to 4-2.  In the eighth Brian Harper reached on an error and Davis (who was not in the lineup because there was no DH) hit a pinch-hit two-run homer to tie the score 4-4.

Each team got a man to second base in the ninth and again in the tenth, but neither scored.  With one out in the top of the twelfth, Gladden singled and went to third when Knoblauch reached on an error.  Knoblauch stole second, but Kent Hrbek struck out.  Puckett was then intentionally walked to bring up Guthrie.  The Twins had burned through their entire bench by now, so Rick Aguilera was sent up to pinch-hit.  He hit a liner to deep center, but it was caught and the inning was over.  in the bottom of the twelfth Justice hit a one-out single.  He stole second with two out, Olson walked, and Lemke singled home the winning run.

WP:  Jim Clancy (1-0).  LP:  Aguilera (0-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Scott Erickson started, so Junior Ortiz was behind the plate.  There was no DH, so Davis was on the bench.

There were lots of substitutions.  Gene Larkin pinch-hit for Terry Leach in the sixth.  Harper pinch-hit for Ortiz in the eighth and remained in the game behind the plate.  Davis pinch-hit for Bedrosian in the eighth.  Jarvis Brown replaced Davis and went to right field, with Willis going to the mound and replacing Shane Mack on a double switch.  Mike Pagliarulo pinch-hit for Scott Leius in the ninth and stayed in the game at third base.  Randy Bush pinch-hit for Brown in the ninth and stayed in the game in right field.  Paul Sorrento pinch-hit for Willis in the tenth.  Al Newman pinch-hit for Pagliarulo in the eleventh and stayed in the game at third base.  Aguilera pinch-hit for Guthrie in the twelfth.

Erickson lasted 4.2 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits and two walks and striking out three.

The Twins bullpen was again stellar.  Other than Aguilera, they combined for 6.1 scoreless innings, giving up just one hit and five walks and striking out three.

The Twins used twenty-three players.  The only Twins not to appear in the game were starters Jack Morris and Kevin Tapani.  The Twins had gone with just a nine-man pitching staff, something that would be unheard of today.

The Twins stranded ten men and were 0-for-10 with men in scoring position.  Atlanta stranded twelve and was 2-for-11 with men in scoring position.

Record:  The Twins still led the best-of-seven series 2-1.  The Braves would still have to win at least one more game to send the series back to Minnesota.

1991 Rewind: World Series Game Two

MINNESOTA 3, ATLANTA 2 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Sunday, October 20.

Batting stars:  Chili Davis was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer.  Scott Leius was 1-for-3 with a home run.

Pitching stars:  Kevin Tapani pitched eight innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and no walks and striking out three.  Rick Aguilera struck out three in a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Tom Glavine pitched an eight-inning complete game, giving up three runs (one earned) on four hits and three walks and striking out six.  Terry Pendleton was 2-for-4.

The game:  In the first Dan Gladden reached on an error and Chuck Knoblauch walked.  Kirby Puckett hit into a double play, but Davis picked him up with a two-run homer, putting the Twins ahead 2-0.  The Braves came right back in the second.  David Justice led off with a single and Sid Bream followed with a double, putting men on second and third with none out.  Brian Hunter hit a sacrifice fly, getting Atlanta on the board, but a ground out and a strikeout kept the Twins ahead 2-1.

Neither team got a hit in the third or fourth.  In the fifth, Greg Olson led off with a double, went to third on a ground out, and scored on Rafael Belliard's sacrifice fly to tie it 2-2.

In the eighth, Belliard led off with a bunt single, was sacrificed to second, and went to third on a Pendleton infield single.  A foul out and a fly out kept them off the board, though, and it cost them.  The Twins entered the inning having gotten only one hit since the first, but Leius led off with a home run, putting them up 3-2.  Hunter got a one-out single in the ninth but did not advance past first base, and the Twins came away with their second win of the series.

WP:  Tapani (1-1).  LP:  Glavine (0-3).  S:  Aguilera (5).

Notes:  The Twins went with a standard lineup and did not make any substitutions.

The Twins had just four hits in the game, but two of them went over the fence.  The home runs accounted for all the Twins runs.

The Braves were 1-for-6 with men in scoring position.  Both of their runs scored on sacrifice flies.

The Twins did not steal any bases in the game.

Leius was another unlikely home run hero, having hit just five during the season.  His career high was fourteen in 1994.  That was the only season in which he hit more than five home runs.

This was the game with the famous play where Ron Gant overran first base and was tagged out by Hrbek.  It happened in the third inning.  Lonnie Smith was on first with two out.  Gant singled to left, and Smith went to third.  Gladden's throw went past third base and was fielded by Tapani.  Tapani threw to first and Gant, trying to get back to first after rounding it, went past the base.  Atlanta complained that Hrbek had pulled Gant off first base, but we all know that was just sour grapes on the part of the Braves.

The Twins were looking good through two games.  Atlanta would have to take at least two at home to send the series back to Minnesota.

Record:  The Twins led the best-of-seven series 2-0.

1991 Rewind: ALCS Game Four

MINNESOTA 9, TORONTO 3 IN TORONTO

Date:  Saturday, October 12.

Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 3-for-4 with a home run, two runs, and two RBIs.  Dan Gladden was 3-for-5 with a stolen base (his second) and three RBIs.  Chili Davis was 2-for-4 with two doubles and a walk.  Mike Pagliarulo was 2-for-4 with a double, two runs, and two RBIs.

Pitching star:  Jack Morris pitched eight innings, giving up two runs on nine hits and one walk and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  Pat Borders was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.  Roberto Alomar was 2-for-5 with a stolen base, his second.  Devon White was 2-for-5 with a stolen base, his second.

The game:  With two out in the second Candy Maldonado singled, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on Borders' RBI single.  The Blue Jays had a major threat in the third.  One-out singles by White and Alomar and a double steal put men on second and third with Joe Carter and John Olerud coming up.  But Carter struck out and Olerud grounded out, so the game remained 1-0.

The Twins took over in the fourth.  Puckett led off with a home run, tying the score.  The home run kicked off a rally.  Davis hit a one-out double.  With two down, Shane Mack walked, Pagliarulo delivered an RBI single, Greg Gagne was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Gladden stroked a two-run single to put the Twins ahead 4-1.

The Twins added to their lead in the sixth.  Brian Harper led off with a double and Pagliarulo scored him with a one-out double.  Gladden delivered an RBI single with two-out to make the score 6-1.  Doubles by Kelly Gruber and Borders cut the margin to 6-2 after six.  But the Twins got the run back in the seventh when Puckett got an infield single, went to second on a ground out, and scored on an error.

The Twins added single runs in the eighth and ninth.  In the eighth Gladden singled, went to third on an error, and scored on a sacrifice foul popup.  In the ninth Davis led off with a double and scored on a pair of fly balls.  Toronto got one run in the ninth on a walk to Rance Mulliniks and singles by Devon White and Alomar.

WP:  Morris (2-0).  LP:  Todd Stottlemyre (0-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Jarvis Brown pinch-ran for Davis in the ninth, so he was the one who actually scored the ninth run for the Twins.  Scott Leius pinch-hit for Pagliarulo in the ninth and stayed in the game at third base.

Morris bounced back from a less-than-stellar game one to pitch quite well in game four.  He threw 110 pitches.

Stottlemyre did not fare so well.  He surrendered four runs on seven hits and one walk in 3.2 innings.  He struck out three.

The Blue Jays again struggled with men in scoring position.  The stranded ten men and went 3-for-16 with men in scoring position.  The Twins stranded nine but went 4-for-13 with men in scoring position.

The Twins had won two consecutive road games to take a commanding 3-1 lead.  They were one win away from the World Series.  Could they put it away in game five?

Record:  The Twins led the best-of-seven series three games to one.

1991 Rewind: ALCS Game Three

MINNESOTA 3, TORONTO 2 IN TORONTO (10 INNINGS)

Date:  Friday, October 11.

Batting stars:  Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-5 with a double.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-5 with a double.  Mike Pagliarulo hit a pinch-hit home run.

Pitching stars:  David West struck out three in 2.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and three walks.  Carl Willis pitched two shutout innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.  Rick Aguilera pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Jimmy Key pitched six innings, giving up two runs on five hits and a walk and striking out one.  Joe Carter was 1-for-3 with a walk.

The game:  With two out in the first inning Carter homered to get the Blue Jays on the board.  They weren't done, as John Olerud walked, Kelly Gruber singled, and Candy Maldonado delivered an RBI double, giving Toronto a 2-0 lead.

The Twins did not get a hit until the fourth, when Puckett hit a double.  Nothing came of it, and nothing came of the Blue Jays' fourth, when they opened the inning with a pair of walks.  The Twins got on the board in the fifth, when Shane Mack tripled and scored on a ground ball.

In Toronto's fifth, two more walks and a wild pitch put men on second and third, but again nothing came of it.  The Twins tied it in the sixth when Knoblauch hit a one-out double and Puckett drove him in with a single.  The Blue Jays threatened again in the seventh when Devon White singled, was bunted to second, and Carter was intentionally walked, but again they did not score.  There were no further threats through nine, so we went to extra innings.

Well, only one extra inning.  With one out in the tenth, Pagliarulo pinch-hit for Scott Leius and hit a 1-0 pitch over the fence to give the Twins their first lead at 3-2.  Aguilera came on and retired Toronto in order in the bottom of the tenth to give the Twins a victory.

WP:  Mark Guthrie.  LP:  Mike Timlin.  S:  Aguilera (2).

Notes:  Scott Erickson was the starting pitcher, so Junior Ortiz was behind the plate.  Paul Sorrento pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the ninth.  Al Newman came in to play shortstop.  Gene Larkin pinch-hit for Ortiz in the tenth.  Brian Harper came in to catch.  As stated above, Pagliarulo pinch-hit for Leius in the tenth and stayed in the game at third base.

Erickson pitched four innings, giving up two runs on three hits and five walks and striking out two.  He came out in the fifth after giving up a leadoff walk to Roberto Alomar.  It was a quick hook, in a way, but five walks (and three in the last inning-plus) will tend to make a manager do that.  The Twins bullpen came through in a big way, pitched six scoreless innings.  In addition to the pitchers listed under "pitching stars", Guthrie came in to retire the only man he faced, Rob Ducey.

Toronto stranded ten men and went 1-for-9 with men in scoring position.  The Twins were not a lot better, stranding six and going 1-for-7 with men in scoring position.  The Blue Jays drew eight walks, but could get only five hits.  It had to be a tough loss for Toronto--their first home game of the series, they had all kinds of chances to win, and yet they could not do it.

Record:  The Twins led the best-of-seven series 2-1 and regained home field advantage.

1991 Rewind: ALCS Game Two

TORONTO 5, MINNESOTA 2 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Wednesday, October 9.

Batting star:  Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs.

Pitching star:  Mark Guthrie retired all seven men he faced.

Opposition stars:  Juan Guzman pitched 5.2 innings, giving up two runs on four hits and four walks and striking out two.  Duane Ward struck out four in two shutout innings, giving up one hit.  Roberto Alomar was 2-for-3 with a stolen base.  Devon White was 2-for-4 with a double, a stolen base, and three runs.  Kelly Gruber was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

The game:  White led off the game with a single, stole second, was bunted to third, and scored on a Joe Carter single to put the Blue Jays up 1-0.  The Twins put men on first and second in the bottom of the first, but did not score.  Toronto put men on first and second in the second, but also did not score.

In the third White led off with a double and went to third on Alomar's single.  Alomar then stole second and Gruber singled them both home, making it 3-0 Blue Jays.  The Twins got on the board in the bottom of the third when Knoblauch hit a two-out single, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a Kirby Puckett single.

The Twins got closer in the sixth.  Walks to Knoblauch and Chili Davis put men on first and second with two out.  Brian Harper then delivered an RBI single to cut the lead to 3-2.  In the seventh, however, Manny Lee and White walked, putting men on first and second with one out, Alomar hit an RBI single, and Carter hit a sacrifice fly, making the score 5-2 Blue Jays.

And that was it.  The Twins had only one baserunner after that, Knoblauch's eighth-inning single, but he did not get past first base.

WP:  Guzman.  LPKevin TapaniS:  Ward.

Notes:  The Twins made just one substitution.  Gene Larkin pinch-hit for Shane Mack in the ninth.

Tapani pitched 6.1 innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and two walks and striking out five.

This was Guzman's rookie year.  He had an excellent season, going 10-3, 2.99, 1.18 WHIP.  He was especially good against the Twins, going 2-1, 1.66, 0.88 WHIP.  It was no surprise that he had a good game against the Twins in the ALCS.

The Twins again did well with men in scoring position, going 2-for-6.  They simply did not get enough men in scoring position.

With the series tied 1-1, home field advantage swung to Toronto.  The Twins would have to win at least one game there to bring the series back to Minnesota.  Could they do it?  We will see.

Record:  The Twins were 1-1 in the best-of-seven series.

1991 Rewind: ALCS Game One

MINNESOTA 5, TORONTO 4 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Tuesday, October 8.

Batting stars:  Shane Mack was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and a stolen base.  Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-3 with a walk and two stolen bases.  Brian Harper was 2-for-4 with a double.  Dan Gladden was 2-for-5.  Chili Davis was 1-for-2 with two walks, two RBIs, and a stolen base.

Pitching stars:  Carl Willis retired all seven batters he faced, striking out two.  Rick Aguilera struck out two in 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Joe Carter was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs.  Kelly Gruber was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a stolen base.  John Olerud was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.  Roberto Alomar was 2-for-4.  David Wells pitched three shutout innings, giving up two hits and two walks and striking out one.  Mike Timlin pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and one walk and striking out two.

The game:  Gladden and Knoblauch started the first inning with singles.  A fly ball and a stolen base moved them to second and third with two out.  Davis then came through with a two-run single to put the Twins up 2-0.  Mack led off the second with a single, stole second, and scored on a Greg Gagne single.  Singles by Gladden and Knoblauch brought home Gagne to make it 4-0.  In the third Davis walked, stole second, and scored on Mack's double to put the Twins up 5-0.

The Blue Jays started their comeback in the fourth.  Alomar singled and Carter doubled, but Alomar was thrown out at the plate.  Carter went to third on the throw, however, and scored on a ground out to make it 5-1.

The Twins loaded the bases in the fifth but did not score.  In the sixth Toronto got five consecutive one-out singles, by Devon White, Alomar, Carter, Olerud, and Gruber, to cut the lead to 5-4.  The Blue Jays had men on first and second with one out, but at that point Jack Morris was replaced by Willis, who retired the next two batters to get the Twins out of the inning.  The Blue Jays had only one baserunner after that, a two-out single by Olerud in the eighth.  The Twins held on to take game one 5-4.

WP:  Morris.  LP:  Tom Candiotti.  S:  Aguilera.

Notes:  Scott Leius pinch-hit for Mike Pagliarulo in the fifth inning and stayed in the game at third base.  Junior Ortiz came in to replace Brian Harper at catcher in the eighth.  Gene Larkin pinch-hit for Leius in the eighth, with Al Newman coming in to play third base in the ninth.

Morris pitched very well for four innings, got out of trouble in the fifth, but could not get out of the sixth.  Five consecutive singles sounds like bad luck, and maybe it was, but four of the five are described as line drives.  Willis really came in and saved the day, as he did so many times in the 1991 season.

I was a little surprised to see that the Blue Jays had gone with Candiotti as their game one starter.  Their other starters were Todd Stottlemyre, Jimmy Key, David Wells, and Juan Guzman.  But in 1991 Candiotti had a 2.65 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP.  He was really good that year, and you can see why Toronto started him in game one.

Both teams hit well with men in scoring position.  The Blue Jays were 3-for-8 and the Twins were 4-for-12.  Toronto stranded four men and the Twins stranded eight.

The Twins weren't a particularly strong basestealing team, but they stole four bases in this game.  They were 4-for-6.  Candiotti, a knuckleballer, being on the mound probably influenced that.

Record:  The Twins led the best-of-seven series 1-0.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Sixty-one

MINNESOTA 3, TORONTO 1 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Saturday, October 5.

Batting stars:  Shane Mack was 3-for-4 with two doubles.  Chili Davis was 2-for-4 with a home run, his twenty-ninth.  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Scott Erickson pitched six shutout innings, giving up four hits and four walks and striking out two.  He threw 92 pitches.  Rick Aguilera pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk and striking out one.

Opposition star:  Roberto Alomar was 2-for-2 with a home run (his ninth) and two walks.

The game:  The Twins took the lead in the first inning when Chuck Knoblauch walked and scored from first on a Kirby Puckett double.  Each team got a man to third base in the second inning, but neither scored.  Each team put men on first second with one out in the fifth, but each was taken out of the inning by a double play.

The Twins stretched their lead to 2-0 in the sixth when Davis homered.  They scored again in the seventh when Knoblauch was hit by a pitch, stole second, and scored on a Hrbek single.

The Blue Jays got on the board in the eighth when Alomar led off the inning with a home run, but did not get a hit after that.

WP:  Erickson (20-8).  LP:  Juan Guzman (10-3).  S:  Aguilera (42).

Notes:  The Twins used their regular starting lineup.  Junior Ortiz was behind the plate in place of Brian Harper, but that always happened when Erickson pitched.

Paul Sorrento pinch-hit for Ortiz in the sixth.  Lenny Webster replaced him in the seventh and went behind the plate.  Jarvis Brown pinch-ran for Puckett in the seventh and stayed in the game in center field.  Scott Leius pinch-hit for Mike Pagliarulo in the eighth.

Puckett was 1-for-3 and was batting .319.  Mack raised his average to .309.  Erickson lowered his ERA to 3.18.  Carl Willis pitched two-thirds of an inning without allowing a run and lowered his ERA to 2.63.  Aguilera lowered his ERA to 2.35.

The Blue Jays essentially treated this like a spring training game.  Alomar was the only Toronto player to play the entire game.  The regulars pretty much all came out after two turns through the batting order.  Starter Guzman pitched just three innings, giving up one run on three hits and a walk and striking out two.

Each team stranded eight runners.  They combined to go 1-for-15 with men in scoring position, with Hrbek's eighth-inning single as the one hit.

Record:  The Twins were 95-66, in first place in the American League West, nine games ahead of Chicago.

Toronto was 90-71, in first place in the American League East, six games ahead of Boston.

1991 Rewind: Game Ninety-seven

MINNESOTA 6, MILWAUKEE 3 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Friday, July 26.

Batting stars:  Chili Davis was 2-for-3 with a home run (his twenty-second), a double, a walk, and two RBIs.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Mike Pagliarulo was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Kevin Tapani pitched eight innings, giving up three runs on five hits and no walks and striking out six.  Rick Aguilera pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.

Opposition star:  Chris Bosio pitched 6.1 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and six walks and striking out five.

The game:  Davis homered in the second inning to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  It went to 2-0 in the third when Puckett singled, Kent Hrbek walked, and Brian Harper delivered an RBI single.

The Brewers had only two hits through five innings, both singles.  The Twins loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, but Harper hit into a double play to end the inning.

It cost the Twins, as Milwaukee took the lead in the sixth.  With one out Dale Sweum doubled, Paul Molitor doubled, and Darryl Hamilton tripled to tie it.  Hamilton then scored on a ground out to put the Brewers up 3-2.

The Twins tied it in the seventh.  Randy Bush singled, Puckett walked, and Davis came through with a two-out RBI double to make it 3-3.  In the eighth Pagliarulo singled, Greg Gagne reached on an error, a fielder's choice loaded the bases, and Dan Gladden delivered a bases-clearing double, giving the Twins a 6-3 lead.  The Brewers went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Tapani (7-7).  LP:  Darren Holmes (1-2).  S:  Aguilera (26).

Notes:  Bush was in right field in place of Shane Mack.  He batted second.  Al Newman was at second base, replacing Chuck Knoblauch.  Knoblauch pinch-ran for Pagliarulo in the eighth and stayed in the game at second base, with Newman moving to third.

Puckett raised his average to .337.  Harper was 1-for-3 with a walk and was batting .319.  Tapani's ERA was 3.05.  Aguilera lowered his ERA to 2.86.

Milwaukee had just five hits.  Three of them were for extra bases and all three came in the sixth inning.  They had only two singles other than that, and had no hits after the sixth.  They had only one man left on base and were 2-for-3 with men in scoring position.  The Twins, on the other hand, stranded ten men and went 3-for-13 with men in scoring position.

I remembered that Chili Davis had a good year in 1991, but I had not remembered just how important he was.  He was second on the team in runs (to Puckett), first in doubles, first in home runs, first in RBIs, first in walks (by a long way--he had 95, second was Hrbek with 67), first in OBP, second in slugging and OPS (to Mack), first in OPS+, and first in total bases.  That's almost every significant offensive category.  He was certainly the most valuable player on the offense, and maybe the MVP of the team.  He was fourteenth in MVP voting that season, behind (among others, obviously) Jack Morris (13th) and Puckett (7th).

The White Sox did not play, so the Twins gained a half game on them in the standings.

Record:  The Twins were 57-40, in first place in the American League West, 4.5 games ahead of Chicago.