Tag Archives: Minnesota Twins

1991 Rewind: Game Fifty-eight

MINNESOTA 5, NEW YORK 3 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Tuesday, June 11.

Batting stars:  Greg Gagne was 2-for-2 with a stolen base, his fourth.  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Kevin Tapani pitched eight innings, giving up three runs on six hits and one walk and striking out four.  Rick Aguilera pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Scott Sanderson pitched seven innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on seven hits and no walks and striking out three.  Mel Hall was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his tenth.  Roberto Kelly was 1-for-4 with a home run, his seventh.

The game:  There was no score until the third, when Gagne singled, went to third on a stolen base-plus-error, and scored on a ground out.  It stayed 1-0 until the seventh, when Don Mattingly walked and Hall hit a one-out two-run homer, putting the Yankees ahead 2-1.  In the eighth, Kelly homered to increase the lead to 3-1.

The Twins came back in the bottom of the eighth.  Mike Pagliarulo led off with a single, chasing Sanderson from the game.  Steve Howe came in and gave up a single to Shane Mack, putting men on first and second.  John Habyan came in and Dan Gladden got a bunt single, loading the bases.  Chuck Knoblauch walked, forcing in a run to make the score 3-2.  Kirby Puckett struck out, but Greg Cadaret came in and gave up a two-run single to Hrbek, giving the Twins a 4-3 lead.  Chili Davis walked to re-load the bases and bring on Steve Farr.  He retired Brian Harper on a popup, but Gene Larkin walked to force in another run to give the Twins a 5-3 advantage.

The Yankees went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Tapani (4-6).  LP:  Habyan (4-2).  S:  Aguilera (17).

Notes:  Larkin was in right field, replacing Mack.  Mack came on in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter for Randy Bush, who had been sent up as a pinch-hitter for Gagne.  Mack stayed in the game in right field.  Al Newman, who had pinch-run for Pagliarulo, stayed in the game at shortstop.  Scott Leius replaced Larkin in the batting order and played third base.

Harper was 1-for-4 and is batting .333.  Puckett was 0-for-4 and is batting .317.  Gagne raised his average to .307.  Aguilera lowered his ERA to 2.12.

As shown above, the Yankees used five pitchers in the eighth inning.  I'm not going to judge that--I don't have the time to go back and look at all these pitchers and the matchups and all that to see if it made sense to make all those pitching changes.  I'll just echo what Bill James once said--it sure looks bad when it doesn't work.

As also shown above, and as we've already seen several times, Tom Kelly was not at all afraid to use his bench.  Of course, teams had bigger benches back then, but still, he was not hesitant to put his reserves into the game.

My recollection was that Mel Hall was somewhat of a Twins killer.  My recollection was correct.  For his career, Hall batted .314/.346/.511 against Minnesota.  For comparison, his career numbers are .276/.318/.437.  In 1991, he batted .323/.313/.452 against the Twins.  The home run in this game was his only homer against Minnesota this season.  Among teams against which he had a hundred or more plate appearances, he did best against St. Louis--.323/.376/.616.

The Twins had now won ten in a row and thirteen of fourteen.  They continued to climb the standings.  How long could they keep it going?

Record:  The Twins were 33-25, in third place in the American League West, two games behind Oakland.  They were a half game behind second-place California and 2.5 games ahead of fourth-place Seattle.

1991 Rewind: Game Fifty-seven

MINNESOTA 8, CLEVELAND 5 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Monday, June 10.

Batting stars:  Shane Mack was 3-for-5 with two runs.  Scott Leius was 2-for-2.  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs, and two RBIs.  Brian Harper was 2-for-4 with a hit-by-pitch.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4.  Dan Gladden was 1-for-3 with two walks and two runs.

Pitching star:  Paul Abbott pitched four shutout innings, giving up three hits and no walks and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  Felix Fermin was 4-for-5 with a double and a stolen base, his fourth.  Mike Huff was 2-for-5 with a home run, two runs, and two RBIs.  Luis Lopez was 2-for-4.

The game:  Huff led off the game with a home run.  The Twins got the run back in the bottom of the first when Gladden walked, went to second on a Mack single, and scored on a pair of sacrifice flies.  The Indians responded with three in the second.  Luis Lopez got a one-out single and went to second when Turner Ward walked.  With two out, Huff had a two-run single-plus-error and Fermin had an RBI single, putting Cleveland ahead 4-1.

The Twins got a pair of one-out walks in the second, but a double play took them out of the inning.  In the third, however, Mack and Puckett singled, putting men on first and third with none out.  A force out brought home one run and singles by Chili Davis and Harper plated another, cutting the lead to 4-3.  Another double play, however, took them out of the inning.

The Twins took the lead in the fifth.  Puckett and Hrbek opened the inning with singles.  With one out, Harper was hit by a pitch, loading the bases.  Mike Pagliarulo then delivered a three-run double, giving the Twins a 6-4 lead.  It went to 8-4 in the sixth.  It again started with a pair of singles, this time by Gladden and Mack.  Sacrifice flies by Puckett and Davis followed.

Fermin created a run in the seventh.  He singled, stole second, went to third on a fly ball, and scored on a ground out, making the score 8-5.  The Indians threatened in the ninth.  Alex Cole singled but was taken off the bases by a double play.  With two out, Fermin doubled and Jerry Browne singled, bringing the tying run to the plate.  Rick Aguilera then came in and retired Rick James on a deep fly ball to end the game.

WP:  Abbott (1-0).  LP:  Eric King (4-5).  S:  Aguilera (16).

Notes:  Al Newman started at second base in place of Chuck Knoblauch.  Mack took the second spot in the batting order.  Pagliarulo started at third base.  Leius batted for him in the seventh inning and remained in the game at third base.

Harper raised his average to .336.  Puckett raised his average to .323.  Abbott lowered his ERA to 2.45.  Aguilera lowered his ERA to 2.20.  Terry Leach pitched 2.2 innings, giving up one run, to make his ERA 3.12.

Mark Guthrie started for the Twins and allowed four runs in two innings on five hits and a walk.  He struck out two.  King pitched 4.1 innings, allowing six runs on eight hits and four walks.  He struck out none.

This was not Abbott's longest relief stint--in fact, it's tied for third.  Each of his next two appearances would be longer.  It was, however, his longest scoreless appearance of the season.

Despite his four hits in this game, Felix Fermin was not a good batter.  For his career he batted .259/.305/.303.  He played for ten seasons and had over three thousand plate appearances, so one assumes he was a superior fielder.  He was thought to have been one, anyway.  His best offensive season was 1994, when he batted .317 in 411 plate appearances.  That sounds impressive, and in a way it is, but because he rarely walked and had little power, his OPS was still only .718.  That was the only season he got over. 700.  The next year he batted .195, and the following year he was done.  You'd have thought that, as a light-hitting shortstop, he might have been a good base stealer, but you'd have been wrong.  His high in stolen bases was six, in 1989.  For his career, he was 27-for-48 in stolen bases.  b-r.com says that his "main claim to fame in the US is that he was traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Seattle Mariners in return for Omar Vizquel, in what was arguably the worst trade in Mariners history."  He did, however, become a successful manager in the Mexican League, winning a league championship in 2007.

The Twins had now won nine a row and had swept series from Baltimore and Cleveland.  They were continuing to climb the standings.  Next, the Twins would host the Yankees.  The Yankees of this era were not "The Yankees", but they were still about a .500 team at this stage of the season.

Record:  The Twins were 32-25, in third place in the American League West, three games behind Oakland.  They were a half game behind second-place California and 1.5 games ahead of fourth-place Seattle.

Happy Birthday–December 4

Jesse Burkett (1868)
Shano Collins (1885)
Bob Shawkey (1890)
Harvey Kuenn (1930)
Mike Couchee (1957)
Lee Smith (1957)
Stan Jefferson (1962)
Bernardo Brito (1963)
Jerome Williams (1981)
Matt Fox (1982)
Carlos Gomez (1985)
Jake Cave (1992)

Mike Couchee was drafted by Minnesota in the second round of the January Secondary draft in 1978, but did not sign.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–December 4

1991 Rewind: Game Fifty-six

MINNESOTA 9, CLEVELAND 2 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Sunday, June 9.

Batting stars:  Pedro Munoz was 3-for-3 with a double.  Shane Mack was 2-for-4 with a home run (his fourth), a double, a stolen base (his second), two runs, and three RBIs.  Brian Harper was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs.  Al Newman was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Jack Morris pitched eight innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on five hits and three walks and striking out three.  Steve Bedrosian pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition star:  Turner Ward was 1-for-2 with a double and a walk.

The game:  Hrbek's RBI single put the Twins ahead 1-0 in the first inning.  In the third, Mack hit a one-out double, went to third on a ground out, and scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0.  With one out in the fourth, Harper singled and scored on a Munoz double to make it 3-0.

The Indians got on the board in the sixth on a walk, a passed ball, and Mark Lewis' RBI single.  The Twins then put the game out of reach.  In the seventh, Munoz singled, Newman singled, and Mack hit a two-out three-run homer to make the score 6-1.  Cleveland got one back in the eighth when Ward doubled and Joel Skinner singled, but the Twins responded with three more in the bottom of the eighth.  Hrbek singled, Harper doubled, and Gene Larkin was intentionally walked to load the bases.  Randy Bush was then accidentally walked to bring home one run and Newman hit a two-run single to bring the score to 9-2.

WP:  Morris (7-5).  LP:  Rod Nichols (0-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  Mack was in left field in place of Dan Gladden.  He batted second, with Chuck Knoblauch moved up to the leadoff spot.  Knoblauch, however, left the game after six innings.  Greg Gagne came in to play shortstop with Newman, who had started the game at short, moving to second base.  Munoz was in right.  Larkin pinch-hit for Munoz in the eighth and remained in the game in right field.  Bush pinch-hit for third baseman Scott Leius in the eighth inning, and Mike Pagliarulo then came in to play third the rest of the game.

Harper raised his average to .331.  Kirby Puckett was 0-for-4 to drop to .320.  Munoz raised his average to .317.  Gagne was 0-for-2 and was batting .304.

With his pinch-hit walk, Bush's average remained .189.

Knoblauch would miss the next day's game, but would be back in the lineup after that, so whatever caused him to leave this game was apparently not too serious.

Cleveland's starter was Rod Nichols.  He pitched 6.1 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits and a walk and struck out three.  I don't remember him, but he appears to have been a hard-luck pitcher, at least in 1991.  He went 2-11 with an ERA of 3.54 and a WHIP of 1.27.  In his eleven losses, the Indians scored a total of twenty runs.  In fact, in his two wins they only scored five runs.  Cleveland finished dead last in runs scored in 1991, and by quite a bit--they scored 576 runs, and next-to-last was California with 653.  With an offensive offense like that, I suppose they had quite a few hard luck pitchers.  Nichols would end his career 11-31, 4.43, 1.41 WHIP.  It's kind of a shame, though, that he really didn't get rewarded for the one good year he had.

The Indians used two relievers named Valdez in this game--Sergio and Efrain.  A quick check of b-r.com reveals fourteen major leaguers named Valdez, so it's kind of odd that there'd be two of them in the same bullpen.

This was the eighth straight win for the Twins.  They were beating up on some bad teams--Baltimore, Kansas City, and Cleveland--but they didn't make the schedule, and beating bad teams is what you're supposed to do.

Record:  The Twins were 31-25, in third place in the American League West, three games behind Oakland.  They were 1.5 games behind second-place California and a half game ahead of fourth-place Seattle.

1991 Rewind: Game Fifty-five

MINNESOTA 2, CLEVELAND 1 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Saturday, June 8.

Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 1-for-2 with two walks.  Dan Gladden was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk.

Pitching star:  Scott Erickson pitched 8.2 innings, giving up one run on nine hits and two walks and striking out seven.  He threw 115 pitches.

Opposition stars:  Alex Cole was 3-for-4 with a walk.  Chris James was 2-for-4 with a double.  Charles Nagy pitched 6.2 innings, giving up two runs on six hits and five walks and striking out four.

The game:  The Twins put men on first and second in the first, but a strikeout and a ground out ended the inning.  Gladden led off with a double in the third but could not get past third base.  Mark Lewis led off with a double in the sixth but also could not get past third base.

The Twins finally got on the board in the sixth.  With one out, Puckett singled, Kent Hrbek walked, and Chili Davis delivered an RBI double to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  They added another run in the seventh.  Gladden drew a one-out walk and went to second on a ground out.  Puckett was intentionally walked, but Hrbek came through with a single to make the score 2-0.

The Indians rallied in the ninth.  Erickson retired the first two batters, but James singled, Jerry Browne singled, and Turner Ward drove home a run with a single to cut the lead to 2-1.  Rick Aguilera came in and walked Cole to load the bases, but Lewis flied to right to end the game.

WP:  Scott Erickson (9-2).  LP:  Nagy (2-6).  S:  Aguilera (15).

Notes:  Gene Larkin was the right fielder, replacing Shane Mack.  Mack came in for defense in the ninth inning.  With Erickson pitching, Lenny Webster was the catcher rather than Brian Harper.

Puckett raised his average to .326.  Greg Gagne was 1-for-4 and was batting .308.  Davis was 1-for-4 and was batting .303.  Erickson's ERA went to 1.53.  Aguilera lowered his ERA to 2.22.

In twelve starts so far, Erickson had not pitched fewer than 6.1 innings or thrown fewer than 84 pitches in a game.  He also had only one game score below fifty.

Nagy was in the second year of his career.  This was his twelfth start, too, and Cleveland was 3-9 in his starts.  It wasn't his fault--in the nine losses, the Indians scored a total of seventeen runs.  Twice they were shut out.  In one of the victories they scored two runs and in another they scored one.  It's hard to get wins with that kind of run support.

Jesse Orosco pitched in both yesterday's game and in this one.  He was already a veteran, in the twelfth year of his career at age thirty-four.  He would, of course, pitch twelve more years, including appearing in eight games with the Twins in 2003.

This was the Twins' seventh consecutive win.  Again, the streak was driven by pitching--the Twins had scored just 27 runs (less than four per game) but had allowed just fourteen (two per game).  They continued to move up in the standings, as you'll see below.

Record:  The Twins were 30-25, in third place in the American League West, three games behind Oakland.  They were 1.5 games behind second-place California and a half game ahead of fourth-place Seattle.

1991 Rewind: Game Fifty-four

MINNESOTA 2, CLEVELAND 0 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Friday, June 7.

Batting stars:  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base, his third.  Chili Davis was 1-for-3 with a home run (his twelfth) and a walk.

Pitching starsAllan Anderson pitched eight shutout innings, giving up two hits and one walk and striking out three.  He threw just 81 pitches.  Rick Aguilera pitched a perfect ninth and struck out one.

Opposition star:  Tom Candiotti pitched 7.1 innings, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks and striking out five.

The game:  Neither team had a hit until the bottom of the second, when Davis led off the inning with a home run.  The Indians got their first base runner in the fourth, when Mike Huff led off with a single.  He was immediately erased by a double play.  Cleveland would not get another hit until the eighth, when Joel Skinner led off with a double.  Pinch-runner Alex Cole was caught stealing third, so that baserunner was also wiped out.  They did have two on in the seventh, when Carlos Baerga was hit by a pitch and Brook Jacoby walked, but a fly out ended that inning.

The Twins added a run in the eighth.  Chuck Knoblauch and Hrbek singled, and a wild pitch brought home the run to make it 2-0.

WPAnderson (3-4).  LP:  Candiotti (7-3).  SAguilera (14).

NotesDan Gladden was dropped to the ninth spot in the batting order, with Greg Gagne leading off.  It would be the only time all year he would bat ninth.  Shane Mack was now the right fielder.  Al Newman pinch-hit for Mike Pagliarulo in the eighth and remained in the game at third base.

Brian Harper was 0-for-3 with a walk and was batting .326.  Kirby Puckett was 0-for-4 and was batting .324.  Gagne was 1-for-4 and was batting .309.  Davis was batting .304.  Aguilera's ERA went down to 2.25.

Newman was 0-for-1 and was batting .184.

This was obviously the best game of the year for Anderson.  It's too bad, given his pitch count, that he wasn't allowed to finish the game.  Aguilera had pitched in each of the team's last three games, so it's not like he needed the work.  One can only conclude that Tom Kelly did not trust Anderson with a two-run lead in the ninth and so decided he needed to bring Aguilera in.  Which, given how Anderson had pitched so far this season, was understandable, but he was certainly in complete control in this game.

In 1991, Candiotti had an ERA of 2.65 (sixth in the league), a 1.16 WHIP, and yet had a record of just 13-13.  Playing half the season for Cleveland didn't help, but he also played half the season for Toronto, a very good team.  He had a few seasons like that, where he had a low ERA, a low WHIP, but a poor won-lost record.  1992:  11-15, 3.00, 1.18.  1993: 8-10, 3.12, 1.23.  1995:  7-14, 3.50, 1.29.  For his career, he was 151-164, 3.73, 1.30.  One has to conclude that he didn't get a whole lot of support for a lot of his career.

The win gave the Twins a six-game winning streak, their longest of the season so far.  Pitching was definitely driving the streak.  They had scored more than four runs only once, but had only given up as many as four once.  They were out-scoring their opponents 25-13, for an average score of about 4-2.  And with the winning streak, they were starting to climb in the standings, as you'll see below.

Record:  The Twins were 29-25, fourth in the American League West, just five percentage points behind third-place Texas.  They were four games behind first-place Oakland and led fifth-place Seattle by a half game.

1991 Rewind: Game Fifty-three

MINNESOTA 4, BALTIMORE 3 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Wednesday, June 5.

Batting stars:  Chili Davis was 3-for-4 with a stolen base.  Lenny Webster was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his second.

Pitching star:  Kevin Tapani pitched 7.2 innings, giving up one run on seven hits and a walk and striking out four.

Opposition stars:  Randy Milligan was 2-for-4 with a home run, his fifth.  Mike Devereaux was 2-for-4.  Cal Ripken was 2-for-4.  David Segui was 1-for-4 with a home run.

The game:  Nobody got past first until the fourth inning, when the Twins put men on second and third with two out.  The Twins started the scoring in the fifth, when Mike Pagliarulo walked and Webster followed with a two-run homer, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead.

The Orioles got one back in the sixth when Devereaux singled, Tim Hulett walked, and Joe Orsulak delivered an RBI single.  The Twins got the run back plus another in the bottom of the sixth on singles by Kent Hrbek and Davis and a two-run single-plus-error by Shane Mack, making the score 4-1.

Baltimore got a pair of two-out singles in the eighth, but Rick Aguilera came in to retire Orsulak.  In the ninth, however, with Aguilera still in the game, the Orioles got one-out back-to-back homers from Milligan and David Segui to cut the lead to 4-3.  Aguilera came back to strike out Chris Hoiles and Ernie Whitt to save the win.

WP:  Tapani (3-6).  LP:  Jose Mesa (4-6).  S:  Aguilera (13).

Notes:  Al Newman was at second base in place of Chuck Knoblauch.  He batted second despite his .484 OPS.  Webster was behind the plate in place of Brian Harper.

Webster was batting .333.  He had two hits to this point in the season, both home runs.  Kirby Puckett was 0-for-3 with a walk and was batting .330.  Greg Gagne was 0-for-3 and was batting .311.  Davis raised his average to .304.  Despite giving up two runs, Aguilera still had an ERA of just 2.33.

Newman was 0-for-4 and was batting .187.

Mesa pitched 5.1 innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks and struck out one.

The Twins had won five in a row.  That matched their longest winning streak of the season, April 24-28.

Record:  The Twins were 28-25, fifth in the American League West, but just one percentage point behind fourth-place Seattle.  They trailed Oakland by 4.5 games.

1991 Rewind: Game Fifty-two

MINNESOTA 4, BALTIMORE 3 IN MINNESOTA (10 INNINGS)

Date:  Tuesday, June 4.

Batting stars:  Brian Harper was 3-for-5 with a double.  Scott Leius was 2-for-4.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-5 with a home run, his seventh.  Dan Gladden was 2-for-5 with two stolen bases, his third and fourth.

Pitching stars:  Terry Leach retired all five men he faced.  Steve Bedrosian pitched two shutout innings, giving up three hits and a walk.  Carl Willis pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Cal Ripken was 3-for-5 with two doubles.  Chris Hoiles was 2-for-4 with a double.  Joe Orsulak was 2-for-4.  Mike Devereaux was 2-for-5.  Mark Williamson struck out three in three shutout innings, giving up two hits and a walk.  Mike Flanagan pitched two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk.

The game:  Puckett homered in the first inning, giving the Twins a 1-0 lead.  In the bottom of the first, Dwight Evans drew a one-out walk.  With two out, Orsulak singled and Bob Melvin walked, loading the bases.  Bill Ripken then delivered a two-run single to put the Orioles up 2-1.

The lead didn't last long.  With two out in the second Leius singled, Greg Gagne tripled, and Gladden singled, giving the Twins a 3-2 advantage.  It stayed 3-2 until the fifth, when Devereaux singled and scored on a one-out double by Cal Ripken.

Each team threatened to take the lead, but neither could through the ninth inning.  In the fifth, Gladden singled, stole second, and went to third on a wild pitch with two out.  Hoiles hit a leadoff double in the sixth.  The Twins got two singles in the eighth, putting men on first and third with two out.  The Orioles got two singles in the ninth, putting men on first and second with two out.  But it was still 3-3 until the tenth.

Cal Ripken led off the tenth with a double and Randy Milligan walked.  Willis came in to get a fly out and a double play to end the threat.  In the bottom of the tenth, the first two Twins were retired.  Harper then singled, Kent Hrbek walked, and Randy Bush delivered a pinch-hit single to end the game.

WP:  Willis (2-1).  LP:  Gregg Olson (0-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Shane Mack started in right field, the first time he had done so since May 18.  He would remain a regular the rest of the season.  Most of that time would be in right field, but he shifted to left for about a month when Gladden was out.

Pedro Munoz pinch-ran for Harper in the tenth and scored the winning run.  Bush pinch-hit for Mack in the tenth.

Puckett raised his average to .335.  Harper went up to .333.  Gagne was 1-for-3 and was batting .317.  Leach lowered his ERA to 3.09.  Willis dropped his ERA to 3.22.

With his pinch-hit, Bush raised his average to .189.

Mike Flanagan, of course, had been a fine starting pitcher for many years, winning the Cy Young award in 1979.  He was near the end of his career in 1991.  In fact, he had been released by Toronto in May of 1990 and had not been picked up by anyone the rest of the season.  Baltimore, where he'd had his best seasons, gave him a spring training invitation.  Whether that was out of sentiment or a belief that he could still pitch, it worked out well for the Orioles.  Flanagan had a fine year in relief, posting and ERA of 2.38 and a WHIP of 1.11.  It was the last good year he would have.  He pitched again in 1992 but did not do well and his career ended.

This was the fourth win in a row for the Twins.  They had won four in a row in May, of course, and then went on to lose nine of their next twelve.  Would that happen again?

Record:  The Twins were 27-25 in the American League West, in fifth place, 4.5 games behind Oakland.  They were two games ahead of sixth-place Chicago and a game behind fourth-place Seattle.

1991 Rewind: Game Fifty-one

MINNESOTA 3, BALTIMORE 2 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Monday, June 3.

Batting stars:  Chili Davis was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-4 with a home run (his fifth) and a double.

Pitching stars:  Jack Morris pitched eight innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and a walk and striking out five.  Rick Aguilera pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Cal Ripken was 3-for-4 with a double.  David Segui was 2-for-4.  Todd Frohwirth retired all seven batters he faced, striking out one.

The game:  The Twins got a one-out double from Chuck Knoblauch in the first and from Pedro Munoz in the third, but could not bring either of them home.  With one out in the fourth, however, Hrbek hit a home run to make it 1-0.  The Twins added to their lead in the fifth.  Greg Gagne singled with one out.  With two down, Puckett reached on a single-plus-error, scoring Gagne, and Hrbek followed with a double to make it 3-0.

The Orioles got on the board in the sixth when Tim Hulett drew a two-out walk and scored on Ripken's double.  They threatened in the seventh when Ernie Whitt hit a one-out double, but the score stayed 3-1 going to the ninth.

Morris started the ninth inning, but came out after giving up a leadoff single to Ripken.  He had thrown 129 pitches.  Aguilera came in to strike out Joe Orsulak, but Sam Horn delivered an RBI double, cutting the lead to 3-2 and putting the tying run in scoring position.  David Segui hit into a fielder's choice, with pinch-runner Chris Hoiles out trying to advance to third on a ground ball to the pitcher.  But Ernie Whitt walked, putting the tying run back in scoring position and the lead run on base.  Jeff McKnight then fouled to third to end the game.

WP:  Morris (6-5).  LP:  Jeff Robinson (3-5).  S:  Aguilera (12).

Notes:  Dan Gladden was again out of the lineup, with Pedro Munoz in left and Gene Larkin in right.  Gladden entered the game as a pinch-runner in the fourth when Larkin was hit by a pitch.  He remained in the game in left field, with Munoz moving to right.  Gagne manned the leadoff spot in the batting order.

Al Newman entered the game in the seventh inning as a defensive replacement for Mike Pagliarulo at third base.

Puckett was 1-for-4 and was batting .333.  Brian Harper was 0-for-4 and dropped to .324.  He was 1-for-17 in his last five games.  Gagne was 1-for-4 and was batting .317.  Aguilera's ERA fell to 1.75.

Morris' 129 pitches were the most he had thrown in a game to this point in the season.  He would top that number only once.  It was, however, the seventh consecutive game and tenth of twelve in which he had thrown more than a hundred pitches.  His low to this point was ninety-six, on April 28.  His average was one hundred eleven.

It was the fifth appearance of the season for Todd Frohwirth.  In those five appearances, covering six innings, he had not allowed a baserunner.  No hits, no walks, no hit batsmen, nothing.  He would give up a walk in his next appearance, but would not give up a hit or a run June 8, when he surrendered two of each to Toronto.

The Twins had won three in a row to climb back over .500.  Could they stay there?  We'll see.

Record:  The Twins were 26-25, in fifth place in the American League West, 4.5 games behind Oakland.  They were two games ahead of sixth-place Chicago and a game behind fourth-place Seattle.

1991 Rewind: Game Fifty

MINNESOTA 4, KANSAS CITY 1 IN KANSAS CITY

Date:  Sunday, June 2.

Batting stars:  Greg Gagne was 3-for-5 with a double.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a home run (his sixth), a double, a walk, and two RBIs.  Lenny Webster was 1-for-2 with a double and two walks.

Pitching star:  Scott Erickson pitched 8.1 innings, giving up one run on five hits and a walk and striking out eight.  He threw 119 pitches.

Opposition stars:  Jim Eisenreich was 3-for-4 with a double.  Luis Aquino pitched four shutout innings, giving up three hits and a walk and striking out two.

The game:  The Twins scored exactly one run in each of the first four innings.  In the first, Chuck Knoblauch tripled followed by a Puckett double.  In the second, Mike Pagliarulo doubled, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Gagne's single.  In the third, Puckett homered.

The Royals got on the board in the bottom of the third, as Terry Shumpert walked, went to second on a ground out, and scored on Kirk Gibson's single.  Webster homered in the fourth to make the score 4-1.

And that was it.  Erickson was in control after that, retiring ten straight batters at one point and not allowing a man past second base.  Rick Aguilera came on with one out in the ninth to complete the game.

WP:  Erickson (8-2).  LP:  Tom Gordon (4-3).  S:  Aguilera (11).

Notes:  Pedro Munoz replaced Dan Gladden in left.  Gagne was the leadoff batter.  Gene Larkin was in right field.  Gladden was used as a pinch-runner for Larkin in the eighth and went to left field, with Munoz moving to right.  Al Newman pinch-ran for Pagliarulo, also in the eighth inning, and remained in the game at third base.  With the injury to Junior OrtizWebster was called up and made his 1991 debut.  He had been up briefly in 1989 and 1990, getting a total of twenty-six at-bats, but his home run in this game was the first of his major league career.  It's interesting that Tom Kelly continued to use someone other than Brian Harper to catch Erickson.

Webster, after his debut, was batting .500.  Puckett raised his average to .335.  Gagne raised his average to .319.  Erickson lowered his ERA to 1.58.  Aguilera dropped his ERA to 1.82.

Despite the fact that Erickson was only twenty-three and in his first full year in the majors, TK was not hesitant to leave him out there.  This was his eleventh start, and he had thrown over one hundred pitches in eight of them.  In six of them he was over one hundred ten and four he had one hundred twenty or more.  His high was 134 on April 16 and his low was 84 in his next start on April 21.  His average in those eleven starts was one hundred ten.

Eisenreich apparently enjoyed playing against his former team.  For his career, he batted .341/.364/.514 in 179 at-bats against the Twins.  The only team against whom he had a higher career OPS was the Dodgers, whom he destroyed to the tune of .405/.468/.620 in 205 at-bats.  He hit seven homers against the Dodgers and no more than four against any other club.  In 1991 Eisenreich batted .423/.444/.615 against Minnesota.  Obviously, he did not play against the Dodgers that year.

The Twins had finally pulled back up to .500.  Could they get above .500?  Could they stay there?  We shall see.

Record:  The Twins were 25-25, in fifth place in the American League West, 4.5 games behind Oakland.  They were one game ahead of sixth-place Chicago and 1.5 games behind fourth-place Seattle.