KANSAS CITY 4, MINNESOTA 3 IN KANSAS CITY
Date: Friday, August 26.
Batting star: Gene Larkin was 2-for-4.
Pitching star: Frank Viola pitched 7.2 innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and three walks and striking out six.
Opposition stars: Charlie Liebrandt pitched a complete game, giving up three runs on seven hits and no walks and striking out three. Danny Tartabull was 3-for-3 with a double and a walk. Pat Tabler was 2-for-3. Bo Jackson was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his twenty-first.
The game: The Royals put a man on second with two out in the second and men on first and third with two out in the third, but could not score either time. In the fourth, Tom Herr doubled, went to third on a ground out, and scored on a balk to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.
The lead lasted until the next half-inning. Kansas City started the inning with singles by George Brett, Tabler, and Tartabull to tie the score. With one out, Jackson hit a three-run homer to put the Royals up 4-1.
The Twins had a two-out rally in the fifth. John Christensen singled, Greg Gagne doubled, and Al Newman delivered a two-run single, cutting the margin to 4-3. But that was as good as it got, though, as the Twins could not get a man past first base the rest of the game.
WP: Liebrandt (9-11). LP: Viola (19-6). S: None.
Notes: Herr was at second base. He was, of course, acquired in the controversial trade of Tom Brunansky. He was the second baseman when he could play, but he only played 73 games at second due to injuries. Steve Lombardozzi actually played more, playing 90 games at second.
Newman was at third in place of Gary Gaetti, who missed about three weeks. Christensen was in right field in place of Randy Bush, who was given the day off against the left-handed Liebrandt.
Puckett was batting .352. He would finish at .356. Hrbek was batting .300. He would finish at .312. Christensen was batting .348 in 23 at-bats. He would finish at .263 in 38 at-bats.
This was Viola's second attempt at his twentieth win. He had lost 3-2 to Texas on August 20. He would have only one more loss, finishing at 24-7 with an ERA of 2.64. He would win the Cy Young Award that season. This was also the one really good year Allan Anderson had, going 16-9, 2.45 and winning the ERA title. Unfortunately, those were their only two reliable starters. Bert Blyleven went 10-17, 5.43. Other starters were Charlie Lea (7-7, 4.85), Fred Toliver (7-6, 4.24), and Les Straker (2-5, 3.92 in 14 starts while battling injuries).
The 1988 team was, in many ways, a better team than the 1987 World Championship team. Unfortunately, the Oakland Athletics were better still.
This was the first game of a three-game series in Kansas City. The Twins were swept by the Royals in that series.
Record: The Twins were 72-55, in second place in the American League West, 7 games behind Oakland. They would finish 91-71, in second place, 13 games behind Oakland.
The Royals were 66-61, in third place in the American League West, 13 games behind Oakland. They would finish 84-77, in third place, 19.5 games behind Oakland.
Random record: The Twins are 36-32 in Random Rewind games.