MINNESOTA 6, TEXAS 4 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Friday, September 20.
Batting stars: Chili Davis was 2-for-3 with a walk. Shane Mack was 2-for-4 with a double. Kirby Puckett was 2-for-5 with two RBIs. Kent Hrbek was 2-for-5.
Pitching stars: Denny Neagle pitched four innings, giving up two runs on six hits and two walks and striking out three. Rick Aguilera struck out two in a perfect inning.
Opposition stars: Julio Franco was 3-for-5 with a double. Dean Palmer was 2-for-4 with two home runs (his eleventh and twelfth) and three RBIs. Jack Daugherty was 2-for-4.
The game: Singles by Chuck Knoblauch, Hrbek, and Davis plated a run for the Twins in the first inning. While each team missed a good chance, the score stayed 1-0 until the fourth, when Palmer homered to tie it 1-1. The Rangers took the lead in the fifth when Brian Downing walked, went to third on Franco's double, and scored on a sacrifice fly.
The Twins went back in front in the sixth. Hrbek walked, Davis singled, Brian Harper had an RBI single, and Mack had a run-scoring double. A wild pitch brought home one more run to give the Twins a 4-2 advantage. That advantage lasted until the next half-inning. Franco singled and Palmer hit a two-out two-run homer to once again tie the score, this time a 4-4.
The Twins finally took the lead to stay in the eighth. Mack led off with a single, followed by a sacrifice/fielder's choice and a walk to Randy Bush which left the bases loaded with one out. With two down, Puckett delivered a two-run single to put the Twins up 6-4. Texas went down in order in the ninth.
WP: Gary Wayne (1-0). LP: Wayne Rosenthal (1-3). S: Aguilera (40).
Notes: Al Newman started at short in place of Greg Gagne. Paul Sorrento pinch-hit for him in the eighth. Bush pinch-hit for Dan Gladden in the eighth. Gagne pinch-ran for him and stayed in the game at shortstop. Jarvis Brown replaced Sorrento and went to right field, with Mack moving to left.
Puckett raised his average to .322. Harper was 1-for-4 and was batting .311. Mack raised his average to .310.
Carl Willis allowed two runs in three innings to raise his ERA to 2.47. Terry Leach pitched a third of an inning and allowed no runs to make his ERA 3.03. Wayne retired both men he faced to make his ERA 3.38. Aguilera's ERA fell to 2.13.
Newman was 1-for-15 and 2-for-26, dropping his average to .197.
The losing pitcher, Wayne Rosenthal, was with Texas for a little over half of 1991 and also appeared in six games in 1992. That was his entire major league career. His numbers were 1-4, 5.40, 1.56 WHIP in 42 games (75 innings). He didn't pitch very well in AAA, either: 7-12, 4.36, 1.45 WHIP. He was a reliever his entire career and pitched well at lower levels, but topped out at AA.
This would be Wayne's only win in 1991. He would have fourteen of them for his career.
This was the first time in Aguilera's career that he reached forty saves. He would do it again in 1992, the only two seasons of his career in which he had forty saves.
The White Sox defeated California 3-2 in eleven innings to avoid losing ground, but as we've observed before, time was running out on them.
Record: The Twins were 88-60, in first place in the American League West, six games ahead of Chicago.
In the East, Toronto lost and Boston won, so the Red Sox cut the Blue Jays' lead to 1.5 games.