MINNESOTA 8, CHICAGO 7 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Wednesday, August 23.
Batting stars: Greg Gagne was 4-for-5 with two doubles. Kent Hrbek was 3-for-4 with two two-run homers (his nineteenth and twentieth) and three runs. Tim Laudner was 2-for-4 with a double. Brian Harper was 2-for-4 with two runs.
Pitching star: Juan Berenguer struck out three in 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits.
Opposition stars: Ozzie Guillen was 3-for-4. Ivan Calderon was 3-for-5 with a home run (his twelfth) and two runs. Carlos Martinez was 2-for-4 with a walk. Carlton Fisk was 2-for-5 with a three-run homer, his tenth. Sammy Sosa was 2-for-5.
The game: The White Sox got two singles and a walk in the second but did not score. In the bottom of the second, consecutive singles by Hrbek, Dan Gladden, Carmelo Castillo, and Laudner as well as a sacrifice fly by Al Newman put the Twins ahead 3-0. In the third Harper singled and Hrbek hit a two-run homer, to make it 5-0.
Chicago put their first two men on in the fourth but did not score. In the sixth, however, they got back into the game. Calderon led off the inning with a home run. With one out, consecutive singles by Martinez, Sosa, Steve Lyons, and Guillen and a run-scoring ground out produced three more runs, cutting the lead to 5-4.
The Twins increased their lead in the seventh when Harper singled and again Hrbek hit a two-run homer to make it 7-4. They added a run in the eighth when John Moses singled, went to third on a ground out-plus-error, and scored on Gagne's single, making the score 8-4.
They needed them all. With one out in the ninth, Scott Fletcher and Calderon singled and Fisk hit a three-run homer to cut the lead to 8-7. The next two batters flied out, however, and the Twins held on to win.
WP: Roy Smith (10-4). LP: Greg Hibbard (3-5). S: None.
Notes: Newman was at second base, as regular Wally Backman was given the day off. Castillo was in right field in place of Randy Bush. Bush was used as a pinch-hitter and stayed in the game in right field until the eighth, when Moses pinch-hit and then went to right field. Laudner was the DH. Jim Dwyer got the most games at DH with 73 and Gene Larkin had 41. Others with double-digit games at DH were Harper (19), Laudner (19), Hrbek (18) and Castillo (16).
The Twins leading batter was Kirby Puckett at .333. He would finish at .339. Harper was batting .321. He would finish at .325. This was the first time Harper was actually given a starting job, at age twenty-nine, and he certainly made the most of it.
Smith started for the Twins and pitched 5.1 innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and two walks and striking out one. He had pitched very well for the first five innings, but threw ninety-eight pitches. 1989 was his first full season, and it was his best: 10-6, 3.92, 1.34 WHIP. He would play for two more seasons, but would not come close to matching those numbers. He was a fairly big guy, 6'3", 200 pounds, but as I recall he did not throw very hard. He struck out 4.7 betters per nine innings throughout his career, which would seem to support that memory.
Reardon had not pitched since August 19, and then faced just one batter, and so was presumably just brought in to get him some work. It nearly backfired, as he gave up the three runs in the ninth. The play-by-play indicates that the next batter hit a long fly ball, so he came close to allowing the tying run. He did not have a particularly good season in 1989, going 5-4, 4.07, although with a WHIP of 1.10. He had thirty-one saves, but with eight blown saves.
Hrbek would lead the team with twenty-five home runs. Gaetti was second with nineteen. Bush was the only other Twin in double figures, with fourteen.
White Sox starter Hibbard lasted just 1.2 innings. He allowed three runs on six hits and no walks with no strikeouts. Bill Long pitched five innings of relief, allowing three runs on six hits and no walks and striking out three.
Record: The Twins were 61-64, in fifth place in the American League West, sixteen games behind Oakland. They would finish 80-82, in fifth place, nineteen games behind Oakland.
The White Sox were 53-73, in sixth (last) place in the American League West, 24.5 games behind Oakland. They would finish 69-92, in sixth place, 29.5 games behind Oakland.