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.