TEXAS 2, MINNESOTA 0 IN TEXAS
Date: Thursday, September 26.
Batting star: Kent Hrbek was 3-for-4.
Pitching star: Mike Smithson pitched an eight-inning complete game, giving up two runs on six hits and four walks and striking out four.
Opposition stars: Jose Guzman pitched 8.2 scoreless innings, giving up six hits and a walk and striking out five. Gary Ward was 3-for-3 with a stolen base, his twenty-second. Pete O'Brien was 1-for-1 with a home run (his twenty-first) and three walks. I guess they should've walked him the other time, too.
The game: The Twins put man on second and third with two out in the first inning but did not score. That was as close as the Twins would come to scoring all night.
The Rangers didn't get anything accomplished in the first three innings, either, but in the fourth O'Brien hit a one-out homer to give Texas a 1-0 lead. They added a run in the seventh on singles by Ward and Bob Jones, a walk to Duane Walker, and an infield out.
The Twins put one more threat together in the ninth, when Kent Hrbek and Tom Brunansky singled with two out. Dwayne Henry came in and struck out Mark Salas to end the game.
WP: Guzman (2-2). LP: Smithson (14-13). S: Henry (2).
Notes: Jeff Reed, who was a September call-up, started behind the plate in place of Salas. Salas mostly platooned with Tim Laudner in 1985.
Roy Smalley was at shortstop in place of Greg Gagne. Smalley was used at DH more than any other position, but he still played a significant number of games at short in 1985. Salas was the DH in this game.
Dave Engle pinch-hit for Reed in the eighth and stayed in the game behind the plate. Gagne replaced Smalley at shortstop in the eighth. Smalley would miss the next couple of games--perhaps he tweaked something. If not, it seems odd to make a defensive substitution in a game you're losing by two runs.
Salas was batting .301. He would be the team's lone .300 hitter, at least of players with a significant number of at-bats, as he finished at exactly .300.
The team leader in home runs was Brunansky at 27. Hrbek had 21 and Gary Gaetti 20. Also in double figures were Smalley (12), Randy Bush (10), and Tim Teufel (10).
Smithson had eight complete games in 1985. From 1983-1986 he had 36 complete games and led the league in starts in two of those seasons. That may be why he was pretty much done after 1986.
This was the year Bert Blyleven came back to the Twins in early August. He was easily the team's best starter the rest of the season. Other starters were Smithson, Frank Viola, John Butcher, and Ken Schrom. Viola was the best of the rest, going 18-14, 4.09, 1.32 WHIP.
Even though he shut them down in this game, the Twins did pretty well most of the time against Guzman. He was 5-6, 4.25, 1.45 WHIP against them. This was only the fourth start of his major league career, as he came up as a September call-up.
Texas really didn't have a closer in 1985. Seven different pitchers had saves, with Greg Harris leading with eleven. Henry was in his rookie year, coming up in mid-August.
Record: The Twins were 70-83, in sixth place in the American League West, 16.5 games behind California and Kansas City. They would finish 77-85, tied for fourth with Oakland, 14 games behind Kansas City.
The Rangers were 58-94, in seventh (last) place in the American League West, 28 games behind California and Kansas City. They would finish 62-99, in seventh place, 28.5 games behind Kansas City.
Random record: The Twins are 29-27 in Random Rewind games.