Tag Archives: pitching to the score

1991 Rewind: World Series Game Seven


Date:  Sunday, October 27.

Batting stars:  Dan Gladden was 3-for-5 with two doubles.  Brian Harper was 2-for-4.

Pitching star:  Jack Morris pitched ten shutout innings, giving up seven hits and two walks and striking out eight.  He threw 126 pitches.

Opposition stars:  John Smoltz pitched 7.1 scoreless innings, giving up six hits and a walk and struck out four.  Lonnie Smith was 2-for-4 with a walk.

The game:  Obviously there was no score through nine innings, so we'll detail the threats.  In the second, the Twins got a pair of two-out singles.  With one out in the third, Rafael Belliard singled and Smith walked.  Gladden hit a one-out double in the bottom of the third but did not advance.

The Braves had a significant threat in the fifth.  Mark Lemke led off with a single, was bunted to second, and went to third on Smith's infield single.  But Terry Pendelton popped up and Ron Gant struck out to end the inning.

The big threat came in the eighth.  Smith singled and Pendleton doubled, putting men on second and third with none out.  This was the famous Chuck Knoblauch deke play, where he fooled Smith by pretending to field a ground ball and throw to second.  Still, Atlanta had the middle of their order coming to bat.  But Gant grounded out, David Justice was intentionally walked, and Sid Bream hit into a 3-2-3 double play to keep the game scoreless.

The Twins had a threat of their own in the ninth.  Chili Davis and Brian Harper led off with singles.  Shane Mack hit into a double play, but pinch-runner Jarvis Brown was still on third with two out.  But pinch-hitter Paul Sorrento struck out and the game continued.

The Braves went down in order in the top of the tenth.  Gladden led off with a bloop double in the bottom of the tenth.  Knoblauch bunted him to third.  Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek were both intentionally walked, loading the bases.  With the outfield drawn in, pinch-hitter Gene Larkin then hit a fly ball to left-center, which fell for a hit and won the game and the series for the Twins.

WP:  Morris (4-0).  LP:  Alejandro Pena (0-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Randy Bush pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the eighth.  Al Newman then pinch-ran for Bush and stayed in the game at shortstop.  In the ninth, Brown pinch-ran for Davis and Sorrento pinch-hit for Newman.  Scott Leius came into the game in the tenth at shorstop.  Larkin pinch-hit for Brown in the tenth.

What a game.  If you've watched it, there's probably not much I can tell you about it that you don't know.  If you haven't, I probably can't do it justice.

Morris pitched about as good a game as you will ever see anyone pitch in that situation.

Gladden gets a lot of credit for aggressive baserunning in the tenth, and I guess he deserves it, but I remember thinking as I saw the ball dropping in that it should be a double.

I always think about how close Jarvis Brown came to being a World Series hero.  When he pinch-ran in the ninth, he came that close to scoring the deciding run.  But, of course, it didn't happen.

The Braves eighth was amazing.  Even with Smith's baserunning blunder, I still thought they would score at least once and probably win.  I can still remember how awesome that 3-2-3 double play was.

The only bench player the Twins had left was Junior Ortiz.  Had the game continued, there would've have been almost no moves for Tom Kelly to make beyond pitching changes.

I don't remember if the Twins had anyone warming up to come in to pitch the eleventh or if Morris would've gone back out there.

So, the Twins were World Series champions.  We'll do a couple of statistical wrap-up posts before we let go of 1991 Rewind.  Thanks for reading!

Record:  The Twins won the best-of-seven series four games to three.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-one


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 Twenty-eight


Date:  Tuesday, August 27.

Batting star:  Scott Leius was 2-for-3.

Pitching star:  Jack Morris pitched 7.2 innings, giving up two runs on eleven hits and one walk and striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Greg Swindell pitched 8.2 innings, giving up one run on five hits and no walks and striking out six.  Albert Belle was 2-for-4 with a double.  Carlos Martinez was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.  Glenallen Hill was 2-for-4.

The game:  The Indians put men on first and second in the first inning but did not score.  The Twins got the scoring started in the third.  With one out, Leius singled, Greg Gagne doubled, and a sacrifice fly put Minnesota up 1-0.  Cleveland tied it in the fourth.  Mark Whiten and Mike Aldrete opened the inning with singles, putting men on first and third.  Martinez then hit into a force out to tie the score at 1-1.

The Indians put men on first and third with one out in the seventh but did not score.  In the eighth, however, Belle hit a one-out double and Whiten walked.  With two out, Martinez delivered an RBI single to give Cleveland a 2-1 lead.

The Twins threatened in the ninth.  With two out, Chili Davis and Kent Hrbek singled, putting men on first and second.  Randy Bush then grounded out to end the game.

WP:  Swindell (8-12).  LP:  Morris (15-10).  S:  Steve Olin (8).

Notes:  Gene Larkin was again at first base in place of Hrbek.  Hrbek pinch-hit for Brian Harper in the ninth.  Al Newman pinch-ran for Davis in the ninth.  Bush pinch-hit for Shane Mack in the ninth.

Kirby Puckett was 0-for-4 and was batting .327.  Harper was 1-for-3 and was batting .313.  Mack was 0-for-3 and was batting .301.

The Indians stranded nine men and were 1-for-11 with men in scoring position.

Olin had started the season with Cleveland, but got off to a poor start and was sent back to AAA in mid-May.  He came back to the majors in mid-July and almost immediately took over the closer role.  He was the Indians closer for all of the 1992 season and had a fine year.  He probably would've remained in that role for some time to come, but as many of you know, he was killed that off-season in a boating accident.

Morris threw 122 pitches.  He pitched well, but unfortunately was not able to sufficiently pitch to the score.

The White Sox again lost, falling to Kansas City 3-2.  Oakland lost again as well, falling to Boston 6-4.

Record:  The Twins were 76-52, in first place in the American League West, eight games ahead of Chicago and Oakland.

1991 Rewind: Game Seventy-one


Date:  Tuesday, June 25.

Batting stars:  Gene Larkin was 3-for-3 with a walk.  Dan Gladden was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-5.  Chili Davis was 1-for-2 with a two-run homer (his seventeenth), three walks, and two runs.  Mike Pagliarulo was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer, his third.

Pitching star:  Rick Aguilera pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Greg Myers was 4-for-4 with a home run (his third) and two runs.  Devon White was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his sixteenth.  Kelly Gruber was 1-for-4 with a home run, his fifth.  John Olerud was 1-for-4 with a home run, his eighth.

The game:  In the first inning, Knoblauch hit a one-out single and Davis hit a two-out two-run homer to put the Twins up 2-0.  In the third, Gladden and Knoblauch singled and Kirby Puckett drew a walk to load the bases with one out.  Brian Harper hit a sacrifice fly and Larkin singled home a run to make it 4-0.

The Blue Jays came storming back in the fifth.  Gruber led off with a home run and Olerud hit a one-out homer to cut the lead to 4-2.  Myers singled and Manny Lee hit a single-plus-error, scoring Myers and making it 4-3.  Mookie Wilson then hit a sacrifice fly to tie it 4-4.  Toronto wasn't done, as White singled and stole second and then scored on a Roberto Alomar single to put the Blue Jays up 5-4.

It stayed 5-4 until the sixth, when Larkin singled and Pagliarulo hit a two-run homer to put the Twins back in front 6-5.  They got a couple of insurance runs in the seventh.  Puckett was hit by a pitch and Davis walked.  A bunt moved the runners up, Mack's sacrifice fly scored one, and an Al Newman single made the score 8-5.

Myers homered in the eighth to make it 8-6, but that was the only hit Toronto had after the sixth inning.

WP:  Jack Morris (10-5).  LP:  Todd Stottlemyre (8-3).  S:  Aguilera (20).

Notes:  Larkin remained at first base, as Kent Hrbek was still out of the lineup.  Newman pinch-hit for Pagliarulo in the seventh and stayed in the game at third base.

Harper was 1-for-3 and was batting .340.  Puckett was 1-for-4 and was batting .327.  Aguilera lowered his ERA to 2.78.

Morris pitched seven innings, allowing five runs on nine hits and two walks and striking out four.  He pitched really well other than in the fourth inning.  Again, I would suggest that any other pitcher would've come out of the game in that fourth inning--Morris allowed five runs on six hits, including two home runs, in that inning.  For whatever reason, Tom Kelly stuck with Morris.  I guess you can say it worked, as Morris pitched well after that inning and the Twins came back and won.  It could be suggested, however, that it would've been better to not have lost the lead in the first place, and that using a relief pitcher might have accomplished that.

Stottlemyre pitched six innings, allowing six runs on ten hits and three walks and striking out six.  Stottlemyre had a really good year in 1991, this game notwithstanding.  He went 15-8, 3.78, 1.23 WHIP.  That was the highest win total of his career, the second-lowest ERA (3.74 in 1998), and the second-lowest WHIP (1.22 in 1997).  He never made an all-star team and never got any Cy Young votes, but he was a solid rotation starter for eleven seasons.  For his career, he was 138-121, 4.28, 1.38 WHIP.

Record:  The Twins were 44-27, in first place in the American League West, 4.5 games ahead of both California and Oakland.