MINNESOTA 5, TORONTO 0 IN TORONTO
Date: Saturday, September 28.
Batting stars: Gene Larkin was 2-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base, his second. Kirby Puckett was 2-for-5. Chili Davis was 1-for-2 with two walks.
Pitching star: Jack Morris pitched a complete game shutout, giving up six hits and three walks and striking out four. He threw 121 pitches.
Opposition star: Roberto Alomar was 2-for-4 with a double.
The game: There was no score through four. The Twins had two on with none out in the second, but a double play took them out of the inning. The Blue Jays had two on with two out in the third and again in the fourth, but could not score.
The Twins broke through in the fifth. Davis led off with a walk, Shane Mack had a one-out single, and Greg Gagne delivered a two-run double. The Twins later put men on second and third with two out and Chuck Knoblauch had a two-run single, putting the Twins up 4-0.
That was pretty much it, really. Toronto drew a couple of walks in the sixth but could do nothing with them. The Twins added a run in the ninth when Mack was hit by a pitch, was bunted to second, took third on a wild pitch, and scored on Newman's bunt single.
WP: Morris (18-12). LP: Tom Candiotti (13-13). S: None.
Notes: Larkin was in right field, with Mack in left and Dan Gladden on the bench. Larkin also batted leadoff. He's obviously not someone you'd think of as a leadoff batter, but in 17 plate appearances there in 1991, he batted .385/.471/.538, and that will certainly work out of the leadoff spot. For his career, he batted .339/.447/.516 in 76 plate appearances while batting first. A small sample size, to be sure, but I think I might have put him there more often to see if he could keep it going.
Newman played third base in place of Mike Pagliarulo and Scott Leius. Jarvis Brown pinch-ran for Larkin in the seventh and stayed in the game in right field. Pedro Munoz pinch-hit for Kent Hrbek in the ninth. Paul Sorrento came in to play first base in the ninth.
Puckett raised his average to .322. Brian Harper was 1-for-4 and was batting .314. Mack was 1-for-3 and was batting .306. Morris lowered his ERA to 3.50.
Leading 4-0 in the ninth, the Twins laid down two bunts. Apparently back in 1991 the unwritten rules allowed this. I don't know if they allow it today. I tried to check, but since the unwritten rules are, well, unwritten, I couldn't find anything.
Toronto used seven pitchers in the game, three of them in the ninth inning.
The White Sox beat Seattle 5-2 to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Record: The Twins were 92-62, in first place in the American League West, eight games ahead of Chicago. They had clinched a tie for the division, and their magic number was now one.
Boston lost, so Toronto continued to lead the East by 3.5 games.