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1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-seven


Date:  Wednesday, September 18.

Batting stars:  Gene Larkin was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Mike Pagliarulo was 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

Pitching star:  Willie Banks pitched three innings, giving up one run on four hits and two walks and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Jorge Pedre was 2-for-3.  George Brett was 2-for-4 with a double.  Todd Benzinger was 2-for-5 with a triple and two runs.  Kurt Stillwell was 2-for-5 with a double.

The game:  It was scoreless through three, with each team managing only one hit.  In the fourth, however, Brett had a one-out double, Danny Tartabull walked, and Jim Eisenreich delivered a two-run triple.  Eisenreich was then picked off third, but Twins catcher Junior Ortiz threw the ball away, allowing him to score and making it 3-0 Royals.

The Twins came back to tie it in the fifth.  Chili Davis walked, Shane Mack was hit by a pitch, and Larkin walked, loading the bases with none out.  Pagliarulo singled in two and a ground out brought home a third to make it 3-3.  The tie only lasted until Kansas City batted in the sixth.  Stillwell doubled and scored on a Tartabull single.  Benzinger drove in Tartabull with a triple and Bill Pecota followed with an RBI double.  David Howard singled to put men on first and third, and Pedre then circled the bases on a three-run single-plus-error, giving the Royals a 9-3 advantage.

It was pretty much over at that point Mike MacFarlane had an RBI single in the eighth to make it 10-3 and Greg Gagne had an RBI double in the ninth to make the final 10-4.

WP:  Luis Aquino (8-3).  LP:  Scott Erickson (18-7).  S:  None.

Notes:  Mack was in left and Larkin in right with Dan Gladden on the bench.  Gagne moved into the leadoff spot.  Ortiz was behind the plate in place of Brian Harper.

Lenny Webster came in to catch in the seventh, replacing Ortiz once Erickson was out of the game.  Pedro Munoz pinch-hit for Pagliarulo in the ninth.

Kirby Puckett was 0-for-5 and was batting .321.  He was 1-for-16 and 5-for-34 since September 8.  Mack was 0-for-3 and was batting .308.  Webster was 0-for-1 and was batting .391.

Erickson continued to try to pitch through his injury, and it continued to not work very well.  He did well for three innings, but his line was 5.2 innings, seven runs (six earned), eight hits, one walk, four strikeouts.  His ERA was up to 3.34, still quite good but nowhere near what it had been earlier in the season.

Carl Willis gave up two unearned runs in a third of an inning, making his ERA 2.34.

This was the fifth big league appearance of Banks' career, and his last of 1991.  He would go on to pitch for the Twins through 1993 and would be in the big leagues through 2002.

I mentioned a few days back that Jorge Pedre played in fourteen major league games, going 5-for-23.  Three of his five hits came against the Twins.  He was 3-for-5 with a double against the Twins, for a slash line of .600/.600/.800.  Against everyone else, then, he had a slash line of .111/.238/.222.  Maybe if he'd played against the Twins more, he'd have had a longer career.

The White Sox defeated Oakland 6-0 to come a game closer to the Twins.  The lead was not in serious jeopardy, but I suspect at least a few Twins fans were thinking "you never know..."

Record:  The Twins were 87-60, in first place in the American League West, six games ahead of Chicago.

In the East, Toronto and Boston both won, keeping the Blue Jays' lead at 2.5 games.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Twenty-six


Date:  Sunday, August 25.

Batting stars:  Mike Pagliarulo was 2-for-4 with a double.  Greg Gagne was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his tenth.

Pitching stars:  Terry Leach pitched 2.1 innings, giving up one run on two hits and striking out one.  Mark Guthrie pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and two walks and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Mike Mussina pitched eight innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on seven hits and four walks and striking out four.  Chito Martinez was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two RBIs.  Leo Gomez was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.  Joe Orsulak was 2-for-4 with a double.

The game:  It was scoreless through three, and Scott Erickson had given up just one hit, a single.  It fell apart in the fourth, though.  Orsulak led off with a single.  With one out, Glenn Davis singled and Randy Milligan walked, loading the bases.  Martinez singled in a run, Gomez doubled home two, and a sacrifice fly made it 4-0 Orioles.

The Twins came back with two in the fifth.  Pagliarulo led off with a double and scored on a pair of ground outs.  Dan Gladden then singled, stole second, and scored on a Gagne single to cut the lead to 4-2.  In the bottom of the fifth, however, Baltimore added three more.  Orsulak had a one-out double and Cal Ripken was intentionally walked.  A wild pitch advanced the runners.  With two out, Milligan hit a two-run double and Martinez followed with another double, making the score 7-2.

The Twins got one back in the fifth.  Kent Hrbek led off with a single, a ground out advanced him to second, and an error brought him home to cut the margin to 7-3.  That was as close as it got, though.  The Twins did not even get another threat going until the ninth.  Pagliarulo and Chuck Knoblauch led off with singles, but a double play followed.  Randy Bush walked, but Gene Larkin lined out to end the game.

WP:  Mussina (2-3).  LP:  Erickson (16-6).  S:  Todd Frohwirth (2).

Notes:  With Erickson pitching, Junior Ortiz caught in place of Brian Harper.  Al Newman was at second base in place of Knoblauch.

The Twins again made liberal use of the bench, using three pinch-hitters in the ninth inning.  Knoblauch batted for Ortiz, Bush batted for Gladden, and Larkin batted for Gagne.  Oddly, Newman and his .207 batting average (and .504 OPS) were not pinch-hit for.

Kirby Puckett was 0-for-4 to drop his average to .328.  Shane Mack was 0-for-4 and fell to .305.

Erickson continued to struggle.  He pitched well for three innings, but his line was 4.1 innings, six runs, six hits, two walks, and three strikeouts.  His ERA went up to 3.22.  Leach's ERA went to 2.78.

Frohwirth had an awesome year in 1991.  He started the year in AAA, not coming to the majors until late May, but once he got there he went 7-3, 1.87, 0.97 WHIP with three saves.  He had another good year in 1992 and was still fairly good in 1993, then he fell off a cliff.  In 1994, pitching for Boston, he went 0-3, 10.80, 2.14 WHIP.  He made only four more major league appearances, for California in 1996.  I suspect an injury was involved, but I don't remember and don't have time to check.

The White Sox lost to Cleveland 3-0 and Oakland lost to Milwaukee 8-2, so the Twins' lead remained the same.

Record:  The Twins were 75-51, in first place in the American League West, six games ahead of Chicago and Oakland.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Sixteen


Date:  Thursday, August 15.

Batting stars:  Dan Gladden was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his ninth.  Chuck Knoblauch was 1-for-2 with two walks.

Pitching star:  Terry Leach pitched 3.2 innings, giving up one run on one hit.

Opposition stars:  Mark Langston pitched seven shutout innings, giving up two hits and three walks and striking out three.  Shawn Abner was 2-for-4 with a home run (his second), two runs, and two RBIs.  Lance Parrish was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his fifteenth.  Wally Joyner was 2-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs.  Luis Sojo was 1-for-4 with a home run, his second.

The game:  The Twins had men on first and second with none out in the first and did not score.  In the third, the Angels exploded for five runs.  With one out, Joyner doubled and Gary Gaetti singled him to third.  Dave Parker hit an RBI double, there was a run-scoring ground out, Abner had an RBI single, and Parrish hit a two-run homer,  making the score 5-0 California.

The Twins had men on first and second with two out in the third and did not score.  Abner homered in the fifth to make it 6-0.  In the sixth, Donnie Hill walked and Luis Polonia and Joyner hit back-to-back doubles to increase the lead to 8-0.  Sojo homered in the eighth to make it 9-0.

The Twins finally got on the board in the bottom of the eighth.  With two out, they got consecutive singles by GladdenKnoblauch, and Shane Mack, avoiding the shutout with a score of 9-1.

WP:  Langston (15-6).  LP:  Scott Erickson (15-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  Gene Larkin was at first base with Kent Hrbek on the bench.  With Erickson pitching, Junior Ortiz was behind the plate in place of Brian Harper.  Al Newman was at shortstop in place of Greg Gagne.

With the changes, Mack was in the third spot in the batting order, with Puckett batting fourth and Chili Davis fifth.

Erickson pitched just three innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and a walk.  His ERA went to 2.89.  It was his second consecutive bad start and third out of four.  His injury was clearly affecting him, but the Twins kept sending him out there.

Puckett was 0-for-4 and was batting .323.  Ortiz was 0-for-4 and was batting .194.  Denny Neagle allowed three runs in 2.1 innings to make his ERA 5.63.  Leach's ERA went down to 2.73.

I'm pretty sure that, when Mike Fetters came in to pitch the ninth for the Angels, John Gordon solemnly stated, "This is not a save situation."

1991 was probably Langston's best year.  He went 19-8, 3.00, 1.16 WHIP.  He finished sixth in Cy Young voting that year and probably should have been higher.  From 1987-1995 he was a consistently good pitcher, making the all-star team four times, but 1991 was the best.

The White Sox lost to Detroit 6-4, so the Twins maintained their lead.

Record:  The Twins were 68-48, in first place in the American League West, 1.5 games ahead of Chicago.