Tag Archives: Minnesota Twins

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-one

TEXAS 4, MINNESOTA 3 IN TEXAS

Date:  Thursday, September 12.

Batting stars:  Chili Davis was 1-for-4 with a home run, his twenty-eighth.  Kent Hrbek was 1-for-3 with a walk.

Pitching star:  Jack Morris pitched an eight-inning complete game, giving up four runs on five hits and two walks and striking out six.  He threw 113 pitches.  He clearly did not do a good job of pitching to the score.

Opposition stars:  Nolan Ryan struck out nine in seven innings, giving up one run on two hits and a walk.  Kevin Reimer was 1-for-2 with a three-run homer (his seventeenth) and a walk.

The game:  The Rangers got all the runs they needed in the first inning.  They opened the inning with singles by Brian Downing and Julio Franco, and a sacrifice fly scored the first run.  Ruben Sierra singled and Reimer hit a three-run homer to make the score 4-0 Texas.

That was all the Rangers got, but again it was all they needed.  The Twins got on the board in the fourth when Dan Gladden and Chuck Knoblauch singled and Kirby Puckett hit an RBI ground out, but that was it for the inning.  Those were the only hits the Twins got against Ryan.  They scored two in the ninth when Hrbek hit a two-out single and Davis hit a two-run homer, cutting the margin to 4-3.  That was it, though as pinch-hitter Randy Bush grounded out to end the game.

WP:  Ryan (10-6).  LP:  Morris (16-11).  S:  Jeff Russell (27).

Notes:  Gene Larkin pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the eighth, with Scott Leius then coming in to play shortstop.  Bush pinch-hit for Brian Harper in the ninth.

Puckett was 0-for-4 and was batting .327.  Mack was 1-for-3 and was batting .314.  Harper was 0-for-3 and was batting .311.

Nolan Ryan was forty-four in 1991.  If this wasn't the best season a forty-four year old pitcher ever had, it's pretty darn close.  He made 27 starts, pitching 173 innings.  He went 12-6, 2.91, 1.01 WHIP.  He led the majors in WHIP, in fewest hits per nine innings, and in most strikeouts per nine inning.

Russell gave up two runs in one inning, taking the score from 4-1 to 4-3, and was credited with the save.

The White Sox lost to California 7-4, so another day came off the schedule without them gaining any ground.

Record:  The Twins were 85-56, in first place in the American League West, 8.5 games ahead of Chicago.

In the East, Boston won and Toronto did not play, so the Blue Jays' margin fell to 3.5 games.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty

KANSAS CITY 4, MINNESOTA 1 IN KANSAS CITY

Date:  Wednesday, September 11.

Batting star:  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a double.

Pitching stars:  Carl Willis pitched a scoreless inning, walking one.  Denny Neagle pitched two shutout innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Mark Davis pitched five innings, giving up one run on four hits and two walks and striking out three.  Joel Johnston struck out four in three shutout innings, giving up one hit.

The game:  With one out in the second, Jim Eisenreich singled and Bill Pecota followed with a two-run homer, making it 2-0 Royals.  The Twins did very little on offense in the first four innings, only once getting a man to second (Puckett's two-out double in the fourth).  They got on the board in the fifth when Shane Mack hit a one-out double and scored on a Greg Gagne single.  They got the tying run to third base but did not score him, so it remained 2-1 Kansas City.

In the sixth, Brian McRae led off with a single, George Brett walked, Todd Benzinger reached on a sacrifice/fielder's choice, and Eisenreich delivered a two-run single, making it 4-1 Royals.  That's where it stayed, as the Twins got only one hit after that.

WP:  Davis (5-1).  LP:  Kevin Tapani (14-8).  S:  Jeff Montgomery (28).

Notes:  Paul Sorrento was at first base in place of Kent Hrbek.  Hrbek would be back in the lineup the next day.  Al Newman pinch-hit for Scott Leius in the seventh and stayed in the game at third base.

Puckett raised his average to .330.  Mack was 1-for-4 and was batting .314.  Brian Harper was 0-for-4 and was also batting .314.

Tapani pitched just five innings, allowing four runs on six hits and a walk.  He struck out five.  His ERA was 2.29.  Willis lowered his ERA to 2.44.

Joel Johnston was a September call-up for the Royals.  He would allow just one run on nine hits and nine walks in 22.1 innings, giving him an ERA of 0.40.  There was nothing in his minor league record that suggested he could sustain that, and in fact there was nothing in his minor league record that suggested he deserved a September call-up.  As it turned out, he had a poor year both in AAA and in the majors in 1992, then went to the Pirates.  He pitched poorly in AAA in 1993 but got called up in early July anyway, and surprisingly did very well--2-4, 3.38, 2 saves, 1.07 WHIP.  He started 1994 in the majors, but made just four appearances, the last one a disastrous eight runs in 1.1 innings, before being sent down.  He got a cup of coffee with Boston in 1995 and played in independent ball in 1996.  He really didn't pitch very well in A, in AA, or in AAA, so there was no reason to think he'd pitch well in the majors.  But he had four good months, even if they were spread out over two years.  That's baseball, I guess.

The White Sox lost to Oakland 6-5 in ten innings, so they missed a chance to gain ground on the Twins.

Record:  The Twins were 85-55, in first place in the American League West, 8.5 games ahead of Chicago.

In the East, Toronto led Boston by four games.

 

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-nine

MINNESOTA 7, KANSAS CITY 2 IN KANSAS CITY

Date:  Tuesday, September 10.

Batting stars:  Shane Mack was 3-for-5 with a stolen base, his tenth.  Dan Gladden was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Randy Bush was 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.  Pedro Munoz was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his fifth.

Pitching stars:  Allan Anderson pitched five shutout innings, giving up three hits and a walk and striking out two.  Rick Aguilera pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Mark Gubicza struck out five in five innings, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks.  Todd Benzinger was 2-for-4 with a double.  Brian McRae was 2-for-5.

The game:  Chuck Knoblauch reached third with one out in the first inning but did not score.  The Twins got the scoring underway in the third when Gladden hit a two-out double and Knoblauch singled him home.  In the fourth Chili Davis doubled and Mack singled him home, making it 2-0.

In the fifth Jorge Pedre led off with a double but nothing came of it.  In the bottom of the fifth Mack hit a two-out single and Munoz followed with a two-run homer to give the Twins a 4-0 lead.  In the sixth, a single and two walks loaded the bases for the Royals, but Jim Eisenreich struck out to end the inning.  In the seventh, Gagne and Gladden led off with singles and Bush hit a one-out double to put the Twins up 6-0.

Kansas City scored both of their runs in the eighth.  McRae led off with a single, went to second on a passed ball, and scored on a George Brett double.  Brett went to third on Benzinger's double and scored on a ground out to cut the margin to 6-2.  That was as much as the Royals would do.  The Twins added a run in the ninth when, with two out, Bush singled, Davis walked, and Brian Harper had an RBI single.

Kansas City did threaten in the bottom of the ninth.  Two walks and a single loaded the bases with none out.  But Aguilera came on to get a short fly ball, a strikeout, and another fly ball to end the game.

WP:  Anderson (5-8).  LP:  Gubicza (8-9).  S:  Aguilera (39).

Notes:  Bush was at first base in place of Kent Hrbek.  Kirby Puckett was also given a day off, with Mack moving to center and Munoz playing right.

Scott Leius pinch-hit for Mike Pagliarulo in the eighth, staying in the game to play third base.  Al Newman came in to play second base in the eighth, replacing Knoblauch.

Harper was 1-for-5 and was batting. 317.  Mack raised his average to .315.

Terry Leach allowed two runs in 1.2 innings to make his ERA 3.10.  Aguilera lowered his ERA to 2.19.

I don't know why Anderson was pulled after five innings.  He made his next start, so injury is probably not a factor (although it's always possible he felt a slight twinge or something).  TK may have started looking at these games as tune-ups for the playoffs, since the Twins already had a big lead, or it could be that he felt like getting five shutout innings out of Anderson was a good thing that shouldn't be pushed.  He had thrown just sixty-six pitches, so it seems unlikely that was an issue.

I'm always a little intrigued when I run across a player I've never heard of.  This was the second career major league game for Jorge Pedre.  His fifth-inning double was the only double of his career.  A catcher, he played in ten games in 1991 and in four for the Cubs in 1992.  For his career he was 5-for-23, batting.217/.308/.348.  He was an eleventh-round draft choice for the Braves in 1986.  He hit well in Class A, but not much after that--.249/.303/.373 in AA, .228/.275/.351 in AAA.  He looks like your stereotypical good defensive catcher--I don't know how good his defense actually was, but you figure he must've done something to justify his presence on rosters.  Wikipedia indicates that he is now working at a refinery on their emergency response team.

The Royals used six pinch-hitters in this game.  Sadly, with expanded bullpens and the severe restrictions on September call-ups, this will probably never happen again.

The White Sox defeated Oakland 3-1 to avoid falling farther behind, but time was running out on them.

Record:  The Twins were 85-54, in first place in the American League West, 8.5 games ahead of Chicago.

In the East, Toronto led Boston by four games.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-eight

MINNESOTA 10, KANSAS CITY 4 IN KANSAS CITY

Date:  Monday, September 9.

Batting starsGreg Gagne was 3-for-4 with a double.  Chuck Knoblauch was 3-for-5 with a double.  Brian Harper was 2-for-4.  Shane Mack was 2-for-5 with two stolen bases (his eighth and ninth), two runs, and two RBIs.  Chili Davis was 2-for-5 with two runs.  Lenny Webster was 1-for-1 with a two-run homer, his third.

Pitching stars:  Tom Edens struck out five in five innings, giving up two runs on five hits and three walks.  Gary Wayne pitched 3.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out three.

Opposition star:  Brian McRae was 3-for-4 with a triple.

The game:  It was close most of the way.  In the first, McRae tripled and George Brett singled to give the Royals a 1-0 lead.  In the second Brent Mayne led off with a double and scored on a pair of ground outs to make it 2-0.

The Twins got it going in the fifth.  Mack singled and Gene Larkin reached on an error.  With one out, Gagne had an RBI single and Dan Gladden delivered a two-run triple.  Knoblauch then singled in a run to make the score 4-2 Minnesota.  In the sixth, Davis and Harper singled and an RBI ground out followed, increasing the Twins lead to 5-2.

Kansas City came back in the bottom of the sixth.  Bill Pecota led off with a walk, but the next two men went out.  Then, however, Jim Eisenreich, Kirk Gibson, and McRae all singled, plating two runs and cutting the Twins' lead to 5-4.

That was as close as they would come, though, and the Twins put it away in the last two innings.  In the eighth, Harper singled and pinch-runner Jarvis Brown scored from first on a Mack single.  Mack then stole second and scored on a Gagne single to make it 7-4.  In the ninth Knoblauch led off with a double, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a sacrifice fly.  Then Davis singled and Webster hit a two-run homer to bring the final score to 10-4.

WP:  Edens (1-1).  LP:  Mike Boddicker (11-11).  S:  Wayne (1).

Notes:  Larkin was at first base in place of Kent HrbekHrbek pinch-ran for Larkin in the fifth and stayed in the game at first base.  Paul Sorrento pinch-hit for Hrbek in the eighth and stayed in the game at first base.  Brown pinch-ran for Harper in the eighth and was replaced by Webster, who went behind the plate.

Puckett was 0-for-3 and was batting .328.  Harper raised his average to .318.  Mack raised his average to .311.  Webster was now batting .368.  Carl Willis was charged with two runs in two-thirds of an inning to raise his ERA to 2.48.

Sorrento was 0-for-1 to drop his average to .158.  Edens lowered his ERA to 6.00.

Boddicker pitched 5.1 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits and no walks and striking out three.  This was Boddicker's last full year as a starter.  He wasn't bad, going 12-12, 4.08, 1.37 WHIP.  He would make eight starts and twenty-one relief appearances for the Royals in 1992 and ten starts for Milwaukee in 1993.

This was one of four career saves for Wayne.  He had one in each of 1989, 1990, 1991, and 1993.

Hrbek was being given some time off, presumably due to a minor injury.  This was the only game he would play between September 7 and September 12, and he didn't finish this one.  Larkin presumably came out of the game due to a minor injury as well.  He would not start a game again until September 15, although he would make two pinch-hitting appearances in that time.

The White Sox defeated Oakland 7-1, so the distance between them and the Twins remained the same.

Record:  The Twins were 84-54, in first place in the American League West, 8.5 games ahead of Chicago.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-seven

MINNESOTA 6, NEW YORK 5 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Sunday, September 8.

Batting stars:  Chili Davis was 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs.  Greg Gagne was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Shane Mack was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer (his eighteenth) and two runs.  Scott Leius was 2-for-4.  Pedro Munoz was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his fourth.

Pitching star:  Mark Guthrie struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Matt Nokes was 3-for-4 with a home run, his twenty-third.  Hensley Meulens was 2-for-2 with a double and a walk  Pat Sheridan was 1-for-1 with a home run, his fourth.

The game:  Each team scored two in the second.  In the top of the inning, Nokes singled, Roberto Kelly tripled, and a sacrifice fly made it 2-0.  In the bottom of the second, Davis singled and Mack hit a home run to tie it 2-2.

The Yankees edged back into the lead.  Nokes homered in the fourth to make it 3-2.  In the fifth, Pat Kelly singled, went to second on a ground out, and scored on an error to give the Yankees a 4-2 lead.  But in the sixth, Mack  and Davis led off with singles followed by Munoz' three-run homer to put the Twins in front 5-4.

The Twins loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, but Mack hit into a double play to end the inning.  In the eighth, Gene Larkin walked, Lenny Webster singled, and Gagne hit an RBI double to make it 6-4.  They needed the run, because Sheridan homered leading off the ninth to make it 6-5.  That was it, though, as the next three batters went out and the Twins held on for the victory.

WP:  Scott Erickson (18-6).  LP:  Jeff Johnson (5-10).  S:  Steve Bedrosian (6).

Notes:  Dan Gladden was again out of the lineup, with Mack moving to left and Munoz in right.  Scott Leius batted leadoff.  Larkin was at first base in place of Kent Hrbek.  Junior Ortiz caught in place of Brian Harper.

Webster pinch-hit for Ortiz in the sixth and stayed in the game at catcher.  Paul Sorrento pinch-hit for Leius in the eighth and was pinch-run for by Al Newman.  Newman went to second base because Randy Bush pinch-hit for Chuck Knoblauch in the eighth.  Mike Pagliarulo replaced Bush and went to third base.

Kirby Puckett was 0-for-3 with a walk and was batting .330.  Mack raised his average to .310.  Webster was 1-for-2 and was batting .333.  Sorrento drew a walk and was batting .167.

Scott Erickson pitched six innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on eight hits and three walks and striking out one.  His ERA was 3.13.

Jeff Johnson started for the Yankees and pitched five innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and two walks and struck out none.

This was the second consecutive day that Gladden was out of the lineup.  I don't know if he had a slight injury or if he was just being given a couple of days off.

Rick Aguilera was apparently given the day off after being used two days in a row.  Bedrosian gave up the leadoff home run in the ninth but after that got the job done.

Nokes was 6-for-12 with two doubles and a home run in the series.  The Twins swept the series from the Yankees (doesn't that sound good?), but it wasn't Nokes' fault.

The White Sox lost to Texas 7-6, so the Twins gained a game in the standings.

Record:  The Twins were 83-54, in first place in the American League West, 8.5 games ahead of Chicago.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-six

MINNESOTA 3, NEW YORK 2 IN MINNESOTA (10 INNINGS)

Date:  Saturday, September 7.

Batting starsChuck Knoblauch was 3-for-5.  Chili Davis was 2-for-4 with two doubles.  Gene Larkin was 2-for-4 with a double.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with two runs.

Pitching stars:  Jack Morris pitched 8.2 innings, giving up two runs on four hits and three walks and striking out five.  Carl Willis struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Pascual Perez pitched six innings, giving up one run on seven hits and a walk and striking out two.  Matt Nokes was 2-for-4 with two doubles.

The game:  The Yankees took the lead in the first inning.  Leadoff batter Bernie Williams walked, stole second, was bunted to third, and scored on a two-out double by Nokes to make it 1-0.  The Twins put two on with one out in the bottom of the first, but Kent Hrbek hit into a double play.  Davis led off the second with a double, but was thrown out at third trying to advance on a short passed ball.  The Twins put two on with two out in the third but again could not score.

The Twins finally broke through in the sixth.  Larkin led off with a double and scored on Knoblauch's single, tying it 1-1.  The Twins again missed a chance, though, as Puckett reached on an error to put two on with none out and nothing came of it.

The Twins took the lead in the eighth.  Puckett hit a one-out single, went to second on a ground out, and scored on a Davis double.  The Yankees came right back to tie it in the ninth.  Their first two batters went out, but Nokes doubled.  Morris came out of the game and Rick Aguilera came in, but he gave up an RBI single to Roberto Kelly, tying the score at two and sending the game to extra innings.

In the tenth, Puckett again hit a one-out single.  He again went to second on a ground out.  Pedro Munoz pinch-hit and delivered a game-winning single, giving the Twins the victory.

WP:  Carl Willis (8-3).  LP:  Lee Guetterman (3-3).  S:  None.

Notes:  Dan Gladden was out of the starting lineup.  Shane Mack went to left, with Larkin playing right.  Larkin batted leadoff.

The Twins made extensive use of the bench.  Paul Sorrento pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the seventh.  Al Newman then came in to play shortstop.  Jarvis Brown pinch-ran for Davis in the eighth.  He was officially the DH at that point, but Munoz pinch-hit for him when his spot in the order came up in the tenth.  Gladden came in for defense at the start of the ninth.  He went to left field, with Mack moving to right.  Scott Leius pinch-hit for Mike Pagliarulo in the ninth and stayed in the game at third base.

Puckett raised his average to .332.  Brian Harper was 0-for-4 and was batting .316.  Mack was 1-for-4 and was batting .308.

Aguilera officially pitched a third on an inning and was not charged with a run, lowering his ERA to 2.23.  Willis' ERA fell to 2.26.

Morris threw just 98 pitches in his 8.2 innings.

Steve Howe pitched a scoreless inning.  This was his first year with the Yankees, and it was a really good one--3-1, 1.68, 3 saves, 0.95 WHIP.  This, however, would be the last game he would pitch for the  Yankees this season.  I could not quickly find whether he was injured or if this was one of the numerous times he got into trouble.  He would go on to pitch very well in 1992, struggle in 1993, and pitch very well again in 1994, which was his last good season.

The White Sox defeated Texas 11-6, so the distance between them and the Twins remained the same.

Record:  The Twins were 82-54, in first place in the American League West, 7.5 games ahead of Chicago.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-five

MINNESOTA 3, NEW YORK 1 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Friday, September 6.

Batting star:  Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-4 with a triple and a double.

Pitching stars:  Kevin Tapani pitched eight innings, giving up one run on seven hits and no walks and striking out six.  Rick Aguilera struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition star:  Wade Taylor pitched 7.1 innings, giving up three runs on six hits and three walks and striking out six.

The game:  The Yankees got a pair of one-out singles in the first, but a popup and a ground out ended the inning.  They scored their run in the third.  A Pat Kelly single and a Bernie Williams double put men on second and third with one out.  Steve Sax then had an RBI fielder's choice, with Williams thrown out trying to go to third.

The Twins had only one hit through three innings.  In the fourth, however, Knoblauch led off with a triple and scored on a Kirby Puckett double.  Kent Hrbek walked, and with one out Brian Harper had an RBI single to put the Twins ahead.  A run-scoring ground out made it 3-1 Twins.

And that was it for the scoring.  New York had just two hits after that, both singles.  Neither man got past first base.

WP:  Tapani (14-7).  LP:  Taylor (7-8).  S:  Aguilera (38).

NotesScott Leius was at shortstop in place of Greg Gagne, with Mike Pagliarulo at third.  Paul Sorrento pinch-hit for Leius in the seventh, with Gagne coming in to play short.

Puckett was 1-for-4 and was batting .331.  Harper was 1-for-3 and was batting .320.  Shane Mack was 1-for-3 and was batting .308.  Tapani lowered his ERA to 2.82.  Aguilera lowered his ERA to 2.24.

This was the one major league season of Wade Taylor's career.  It was not a very good one--he went 7-12, 6.27, 1.69 WHIP in 23 games (22 starts).  He did have a few good starts--three of his starts topped the game score of 57 that he had in this game.  He obviously did not have enough of them, though.  He had injury trouble after this season.  He pitched just thirteen minor league innings in 1992 and thirty in 1993, and then was done.  He pitched pretty well in AAA, and since he was only twenty-five in 1991 he might have figured it out had he stayed healthy, but unfortunately for him, he didn't.  He was a major league scout until 2016, when he lost his job due to salary cutbacks.  He was working for UPS at last report.

I apologize, but the notes section is probably going to be short for a while.  Too much other stuff going on.

The White Sox defeated Texas 11-6, so they did not lose any more ground to the Twins.

Record:  The Twins were 81-54, in first place in the American League West, 7.5 games ahead of Chicago.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-four

CLEVELAND 8, MINNESOTA 4 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Wednesday, September 4.

Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a double.  Chili Davis was 2-for-4.  Dan Gladden was 2-for-5.  Kent Hrbek was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his sixteenth.

Pitching stars:  Allan Anderson pitched two shutout innings, giving up two hits and striking out one.  Mark Guthrie struck out three in a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Alex Cole was 4-for-5 with a double.  Albert Belle was 2-for-5 with a home run (his twenty-fifth), a double, and five RBIs.  Willie Blair pitched eight innings, giving up three runs on eight hits and one walk and striking out one.

The game:  With one out in the first Chuck Knoblauch and Puckett singled and Hrbek followed with a three-run homer to put the Twins ahead 3-0.  That was as good as it got for them.  In the third, a walk, an error, and a bunt single loaded the bases for the Indians with none out.  A force out followed, but Carlos Baerga was hit by a pitch to force in a run and Belle followed with a bases-clearing double to give Cleveland a 4-3 lead.

The Indians added a run in the fourth when Jim Thome led off with a single, went to third on a pair of productive outs, and scored on Cole's single.  In the fifth Baerga led off with a single and Belle hit a two-run homer to make the score 7-3.  In the seventh, singles by Jose Gonzalez, Carlos Martinez, and Thome brought home another run to make it 8-3.

Meanwhile, the Twins did not get a man past first base in innings two through seven.  Puckett hit a two-out double in the eighth.  The Twins tried to get back into it in the ninth.  Singles by Davis and Brian Harper and a walk to Shane Mack loaded the bases with none out.  Mike Pagliarulo then hit into a double play, scoring a run but pretty much taking the Twins out of the inning.

WP:  Blair (2-2).  LP:  David West (4-4).  S:  Shawn Hillegas (7).

Notes:  The Twins used their standard lineup.  Paul Sorrento pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the seventh.  Al Newman then went in to play shortstop.  Gene Larkin pinch-hit for Newman in the ninth.

Puckett raised his average to .331.  Harper was 1-for-4 and was batting .320.  Mack was 0-for-2 with two walks and was batting .308.

West started for the Twins.  He pitched well for two innings.  His line was 2.1 innings, four runs (three earned), two hits, two walks, and two strikeouts.  It seems like a pretty quick hook--again, the sequence in the third was walk, error, bunt single, ground out, hit batsman, double.  Only one hard-hit ball, although obviously the walk and the hit batsman weren't helpful.  Still, with a big lead in the division, Tom Kelly might have given West more of a chance to work out of trouble.  As it happened, the Twins burned through five relievers, including Carl Willis and Terry Leach, in a game they didn't win anyway.

Willis allowed two runs in one inning to raise his ERA to 2.29.  Leach gave up a run in one inning to make his ERA 2.88.

Tom Edens gave up a run in 1.2 innings to raise his ERA to 7.20.

People have forgotten what an awesome hitter Albert Belle was.  He had a reputation for being a jerk, and he way have been, but the jerk could hit.  1991 was his first season as a regular, and it was the first of ten consecutive seasons in which he hit twenty-three or more home runs.  He had eight consecutive seasons in which he hit thirty homers or more, and in three of them he hit forty-eight or more.  He had an OPS of over 1.000 four times and an OPS of over .900 two more times.  Injuries forced him to retire in 2000, after his age-thirty-three season, but his career numbers were .295/.369/.564 with 381 home runs in basically ten seasons.  Whatever else he may have been, Albert Belle was a great batter.

This was the last save of Shawn Hillegas' career.  He had ten total, seven of them in 1991.  Steve Olin is listed as the closer, but he had just seventeen saves, and Hillegas and Dave Otto each had seven.  He was not a particularly good pitcher:  in 181 major league games (62 starts) he was 24-38, 4.61, 1.47 WHIP.  He was substantially better as a reliever, although not a star or anything:  9-12, 3.77, 1.37 WHIP.  Given his lack of success as a starter, I don't know why teams kept giving him starts rather than putting him in the bullpen, but they did.  There was obviously something about him that convinced teams he could be a successful starting pitcher, even though the stats provide no evidence to back it up.

Chicago defeated Kansas City 4-1 and Oakland lost to Milwaukee 2-0, so the White Sox moved back into second place.

Record:  The Twins were 80-54, in first place in the American League West, eight games ahead of Chicago.

In the East, Toronto took a three game lead over Detroit.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-three

MINNESOTA 9, CLEVELAND 3 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Monday, September 2.

Batting stars:  Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a double, two runs, and two RBIs.  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-4 with two runs.  Shane Mack was 1-for-3 with a grand slam, his seventeenth home run.

Pitching stars:  Scott Erickson struck out seven in seven shutout innings, giving up six hits and two walks.  He threw 119 pitches.  Rick Aguilera pitched two perfect innings.

Opposition stars:  Mike Aldrete was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Albert Belle was 2-for-4 with a double.  Alex Cole was 2-for-4 with a walk.

The game:  Despite the final score, it was a pitchers' duel for six innings.  The Indians had a couple of mild threats, getting a two-out double from Carlos Baerga in the first and putting men on first and second with one out in the third.  The Twins did not get a hit until the fourth.  Knoblauch led off with a single and went to third with none out on a pickoff error, but he was thrown out trying to score on a ground ball to short (one assumes it was the contact play).  Cleveland put men on first and second with one out in the fifth and had men on first and third with one out in the sixth, but the latter threat went away when Carlos Martinez was thrown out at home on the back end of a second-and-home double steal.  So the game remained scoreless in the sixth.

The Twins broke through in the seventh.  Randy Bush led off with a walk.  Jarvis Brown pinch-ran and scored from first on Puckett's double.  Hrbek followed with an RBI single.  A pair of productive outs moved Hrbek to third and he scored on an error.  Junior Ortiz delivered an RBI double to put the Twins up 4-0.

The Indians came right back in the eighth.  Steve Bedrosian came in to pitch and walked Baerga.  Belle doubled, and RBI singles by Martinez and Aldrete made it 4-2.  Aguilera came on and got Jeff Manto to hit into a double play, but a run scored to make it 4-3.

Undaunted, the Twins put it away in the bottom of the eighth.  Knoblauch led off with a single and Chili Davis walked.  Puckett delivered an RBI single.  Hrbek laid down a bunt single, loading the bases.  Mack then hit a grand slam, making the score 9-3 and effectively ending the game.  Not literally, of course--Cleveland still batted in the ninth, but they went down in order.

WP:  Erickson (17-6).  LP:  Eric King (5-9).  S:  Aguilera (37).

Notes:  Mack was in left field, with Dan Gladden getting the day off.  Gene Larkin was in right.  Once again Ortiz caught Erickson, with Brian Harper on the bench.  Randy Bush was at DH in place of Davis.  Knoblauch led off, with Bush batting second.

Again, we had plenty of bench players used.  Brown pinch-ran for Bush in the seventh.  Davis pinch-hit for Brown in the eighth.  Al Newman then pinch-ran for Davis in the eighth.  Gladden pinch-ran for Larkin in the seventh and stayed in the game in left field, with Mack moving to right.  Paul Sorrento pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the eighth.  Scott Leius went into the game at shortstop in the ninth.

Puckett raised his average to .330.  Mack raised his average to .310.  Mike Pagliarulo was 0-for-4 and was batting .300.  Erickson lowered his ERA to 3.08.

Tom Kelly allowing Erickson to throw seven innings and 114 pitches is at least questionable.  Yes, he was pitching well, and yes, it was a scoreless game until the seventh.  But he was obviously still hurting, this was the first good game he'd pitched in a month, and the Twins were in first place by eight games.  Plus, TK gave Gladden and Davis the day off, so he clearly did not consider this a must-win game.  It seems to me a lower pitch-limit would have been indicated, even though such things were not as common back then.

Using three pinch-runners in a game is certainly unusual.  Even back then the only way you could do it is with September call-ups, and with the new limit on September call-ups it may never happen again.  I think if I ran a team, I'd have a couple of pitchers practiced up so they could be used as pinch-runners when necessary.  It used to not be uncommon to use pitchers as pinch-runners--there's no real reason you couldn't do it today.  Yes, there's a chance someone could get hurt, but there's also a chance someone could get hurt running in the outfield before the game.  To me, with today's shorter benches, it makes perfect sense.

Oakland did not play, but the White Sox defeated Kansas City 5-1, so the two teams were once again tied for second place.

Record:  The Twins were 80-53, in first place in the American League West, 8.5 games ahead of Chicago and Oakland.

Toronto continued to lead Detroit by 2.5 games in the East.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-two

MINNESOTA 14, BALTIMORE 3 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Sunday, September 1.

Batting stars:  Brian Harper was 3-for-4 with a home run (his ninth), a double, and three runs.  Shane Mack was 3-for-5 with a double and two runs.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-3.  Gene Larkin was 2-for-4 with a double, two runs, and two RBIs.  Chili Davis was 1-for-3 with a three-run homer (his twenty-seventh), a walk, and two runs.  Paul Sorrento hit a pinch-hit two-run homer, his second.

Pitching stars:  Jack Morris pitched seven innings, giving up three unearned runs on six hits and two walks and striking out three.  Mark Guthrie struck out three in two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Brady Anderson was 2-for-3 with a triple and two walks.  Chito Martinez was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his tenth.

The game:  Anderson led off the game with a triple but failed to score.  That was the only time the Orioles threatened to take the lead.  In the second, Harper and Mack led off with back-to-back doubles, with a bunt and a sacrifice fly bringing home the second run.  The Twins took control in the fourth.  Davis led off with a walk, which was followed by five consecutive singles.  HarperMackScott LeiusLarkin, and Greg Gagne all got base hits, making the score 5-0 with the bases loaded.  With one out Knoblauch walked to bring in a run and a sacrifice fly brought home another, giving the Twins a 7-0 lead.  Harper led off the fifth with a home run to make it 8-0.

Baltimore got on the board in the sixth.  Anderson led off with a single and went to third on a pair of productive outs.  Glenn Davis then reached on an error, bringing home a run, and Martinez hit a two-run homer to cut the margin to 8-3.

That was as close as the Orioles would come.  Davis hit a three-run homer in the sixth to make it 11-3.  They added three more in the seventh, two of them coming on a Sorrento pinch-hit two-run homer, to bring the final score to 14-3.

WP:  Morris (16-10).  LP:  Arthur Rhodes (0-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Larkin was at first base in place of Kent Hrbek.  At least some of the September call-ups arrived, and with a blowout game there were numerous substitutions.  Jarvis Brown went to center field in the seventh, replacing Puckett.  Al Newman pinch-hit for Gagne in the seventh and stayed in the game at second base.  Sorrento pinch-hit for Gladden in the seventh and stayed in the game at first base.  Lenny Webster came in to catch in the eighth, replacing Harper.  Knoblauch moved from second base to shortstop in the eighth.  Mack moved from right field to left in the eighth.  Larkin went from first base to right field in the eighth.  Randy Bush pinch-hit for Davis in the eighth.

Puckett raised his average to .329.  Harper went up to .321.  Webster went 1-for-1 and was batting .313 (5-for-16).  Mack raised his average to .310.

Rhodes lasted just three innings and allowed seven runs on eight hits and a walk.  This was his rookie season, and was just his third start.  He would make eight starts in 1991, five of them with game scored of forty or lower.  He would go on to have a long and relatively successful career as a reliever, pitching in twenty major league seasons and lasting until he was forty-one.

This was Knoblauch's second game at shortstop.  He had played one inning there on July 18.  For his career he played thirteen games at shortstop.  He started two of them, one in 1993 and one in 1997.  It's interesting that Tom Kelly played Newman at second and Knoblauch at short, rather than vice-versa.  It was a blowout game--maybe TK just wanted to give Knoblauch a little time at short in case injuries came up and he needed to play him there.

Oakland lost to Detroit 5-2, so the Twins regained the game they'd lost yesterday.

Record:  The Twins were 79-53, in first place in the American League West, eight games ahead of Oakland.

There was a closer race in the American League East.  Toronto had a record of 73-59 and was in first place, 2.5 games ahead of Detroit.