OAKLAND 8, MINNESOTA 7 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Monday, August 19.
Batting stars: Mike Pagliarulo was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer, his fifth. Kent Hrbek was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer (his fourteenth), a double, and two runs. Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a home run (his thirteenth) and two runs. Brian Harper was 2-for-4. Shane Mack was 2-for-4.
Pitching star: Steve Bedrosian pitched three innings, giving up one run on two hits and two walks and striking out two.
Opposition stars: Brook Jacoby was 3-for-5. Terry Steinbach was 2-for-4. Jose Canseco was 2-for-5 with a home run (his thirty-fifth) and two runs. Rickey Henderson was 1-for-3 with a three-run homer (his eleventh) and two walks. Joe Klink pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up three hits and a walk and striking out one.
The game: Canseco hit a two-out homer in the top of the first to give the Athletics a 1-0 lead. Puckett responded with a two-out homer in the bottom of the first to tie it 1-1. There was no more scoring until the fourth, when Oakland exploded for five runs. Terry Steinbach started the inning with a walk. Jacoby singled and Brad Komminsk had an RBI single to give the Athletics the lead. Mark McGwire walked to load the bases. With one out, Mike Bordick laid down a squeeze bunt. Rickey Henderson followed with a three-run homer to give Oakland a 6-1 lead.
The Twins came right back in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Hrbek and Chili Davis hit back-to-back doubles to score one run. Harper singled, but Davis was thrown out at the plate. Undaunted, Mack singled and Pagliarulo hit a three-run homer to cut the Athletics' lead to 6-5.
In the fifth, singles by Canseco, Jacoby, and McGwire plated a run to make it 7-5. In the bottom of the fifth Knoblauch walked and Hrbek hit a two-run homer to tie it 7-7.
There was no more scoring until the ninth. With one out, Dave Henderson walked. He went to second on a ground out and Steinbach delivered an RBI single to give Oakland an 8-7 lead. In the bottom of the ninth Randy Bush hit a pinch-hit one-out double, but a ground out and a pop up ended the game.
WP: Klink (9-3). LP: Steve Bedrosian (4-3). S: Dennis Eckersley (34).
Notes: Dan Gladden was on the bench for this game. Mack moved to left and Gene Larkin went to right. Knoblauch moved up to the leadoff spot and Larkin batted second. Al Newman was at shortstop in Greg Gagne's place.
Bush pinch-hit for Newman in the ninth. Scott Leius then pinch-ran for Bush.
Puckett raised his average to .328. Harper went up to .306. Mack got over .300 for the first time all season at .301.
David West started and lasted just 3.2 innings, allowing six runs on six hits and three walks. He struck out four. Terry Leach gave up one run in 2.1 innings to make his ERA 2.78.
The Athletics' starter was Joe Slusarski. He pitched four innings and also allowed six runs. He gave up seven hits and and one walk with one strikeout.
You may remember Brad Komminsk--he was a can't-miss prospect who missed. The Braves took him with the fourth pick of the 1979 draft. He tore up the minors and made his major league debut with Atlanta in mid-August of 1983. He batted .222 in 36 at-bats, but he was only twenty-two. He was doing well in AAA in 1984, came up to the majors at the end of May, and batted .203 in 301 at-bats. He stuck with the Braves the entire 1985 season, but batted just .227. He did draw a fair number of walks, but not enough to offset his low average. Also, he was supposed to be a power hitter, and he was in the minors, but his high in home runs for Atlanta was eight in 1984. He was with the Braves through 1986, was with Milwaukee in 1987, was in the minors all of 1988, played for Cleveland in 1989, was with Baltimore and San Francisco in 1990, and was with Oakland in 1991. He hit well in AAA, but for some reason could not translate that to the majors. It's true that he rarely got regular playing time--his high in at-bats in a season was 301--but it's also true that he never showed he deserved it. For his career, in 1119 plate appearances, he batted .218/.301/.336 with 23 home runs. He was in AAA with the White Sox in 1992-1993, played in the Northern League in 1996, and played one game of AAA for Detroit in 1997. He was a long-time minor league coach and manager.
The White Sox lost to Detroit 3-2, so the Twins maintained their lead.
Record: The Twins were 71-49, in first place in the American League West, 3.5 games ahead of Chicago.