MINNESOTA 14, BOSTON 1 IN BOSTON
Date: Sunday, July 21.
Batting stars: Shane Mack was 3-for-4 with two doubles, a walk, and two runs. Chili Davis was 3-for-5 with a double and a stolen base, his third. Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Scott Leius was 2-for-5 with a double, a walk, and three runs. Brian Harper was 2-for-6 with two runs. Chuck Knoblauch was 1-for-3 with three walks and three runs.
Pitching stars: Kevin Tapani pitched six innings, giving up an unearned run on three hits and no walks and striking out none. Paul Abbott struck out three in two shutout innings, giving up two hits. Allan Anderson pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.
Opposition star: Steve Lyons was 2-for-3 with a double.
The game: Leius led off the game with a single, followed by singles by Knoblauch and Puckett to give the Twins a 1-0 lead. An RBI ground out made it 2-0. In the third Knoblauch walked and went to third on Davis' two-out single. Davis then stole second. A passed ball scored one run, a Harper single scored another, and a Mack double made it 5-0. in the fourth, Greg Gagne hit a one-out double, walks to Leius and Knoblauch filled the bases, and Puckett's two-run single made it 7-0.
The Red Sox got on the board in the bottom of the seventh. Jody Reed reached on an error and scored on a Jack Clark double. That was the end of their good news, though. The Twins scored five in the sixth and two more in the seventh to get the 14-1 victory.
WP: Tapani (6-7). LP: Tom Bolton (7-7). S: None.
Notes: Mack was again in left field in the absence of Dan Gladden. Gene Larkin was in right. Leius was the leadoff batter.
Jarvis Brown pinch-ran for Puckett in the fifth and stayed in the game in center field. Al Newman went into the game at shortstop in the fifth, replacing Gagne. Randy Bush went into the game in the sixth inning at first base, replacing Kent Hrbek. Davis went to left field in the eighth inning, with Abbott entering the lineup in Mack's spot.
Puckett raised his average to .328. Harper went up to .325. Tapani lowered his ERA to 3.03. Abbott went down to 3.31.
Tapani hadn't gotten much run support up to this point in the season, but that turned around in this game. Including this game, he won five starts in a row and went 9-0 over ten starts. In those games, the Twins scored 71 runs. Tapani was still pitching well--he did not give up more than four runs in any of those starts, and six times gave up fewer than three.
This was Davis' first appearance in the field all season. He would make just one more, about a month later. He would, of course, play one game in the field in the World Series. He had been a regular outfielder from 1982-1989 and had played a substantial number of games in the outfield in 1990, but would make only token appearances there after that and none from 1995-1999, when his career ended.
Boston starter Bolton pitched just 2.2 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits and three walks and striking out one. He had pitched five innings of relief just three days earlier. He really couldn't be expected to pitch well after that, and he didn't.
Tapani pitched six innings and neither struck out nor walked anyone. I don't know how rare that is, but it is at least unusual. I suspect it might have been more common years ago than it is now, but I don't think it was all that common in the old days, either.
The White Sox lost and Texas won, so the Twins gained a game in the standings while the Rangers tied Chicago for second place. The Twins had won four in a row, five of six, and eight of ten.
Record: The Twins were 55-38, in first place in the American League West, 5.5 games ahead of Texas and Chicago.