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1991 Rewind: Game Eighty-one


Date:  Friday, July 5.

Batting star:  Mike Pagliarulo was 2-for-4 with two doubles and two runs.

Pitching star:  Jack Morris pitched an eight-inning complete game, giving up four runs on seven hits and four walks and striking out four.

Opposition stars:  Jack McDowell pitched 7.2 innings, giving up two runs on six hits and two walks and striking out four.  Dan Pasqua was 2-for-4 with a double.  Lance Johnson was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his thirteenth.  Robin Ventura was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his fifth.

The game:  The Twins opened the second with a single and a walk, but a double play and a fly ball ended the inning.  The White Sox got a pair of one-out singles in the bottom of the second, but also did not score.  In the third, doubles by Pagliarulo and Chuck Knoblauch put the Twins up 1-0.

It stayed 1-0 until the sixth.  Frank Thomas led off with a walk, was bunted to second, and scored on Pasqua's double to tie it 1-1.  Chicago took the lead in the seventh.  Scott Fletcher singled, Tim Raines drew a one-out walk, and Robin Ventura hit a three-run homer to give the White Sox a 4-1 lead.

The Twins tried to get back into the game in the eighth.  Pagliarulo led off with a double and went to third on an Al Newman single.  With one out, a passed ball made it 4-2 and Pedro Munoz walked, bringing the lead run up to bat.  With Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek coming up. the Twins' chances looked good.  But Puckett flied to center and Hrbek lined to center, and the inning was over.

The Twins got the tying run to bat twice in the ninth, but Brian Harper hit into a double play and Pagliarulo flied out.

WP:  McDowell (10-4).  LP:  Morris (11-6).  S:  Bobby Thigpen (17).

Notes:  Shane Mack was again in the lineup in left field to replace Dan Gladden.  Munoz was in right.  Chuck Knoblauch was the leadoff batter, with Munoz second.

Al Newman pinch-hit for Scott Leius in the eighth and singled.  He stayed in the game at shortstop.  Randy Bush pinch-hit for Mack in the ninth, singled, and was replaced by pinch-runner Jarvis Brown.

Harper was 1-for-4 and was batting .324.  Puckett was 0-for-4 and was batting .316.

Morris threw ninety-seven pitches.

Since his four-hit game on July 1, Puckett has gone 0-for-15.  His average has fallen from .332.

The Twins had now scored just twenty runs in their last ten games.  They were 2-8 in those games.  They had given up just thirty-five runs in those ten games.

California lost to Texas 8-0, so the Twins remained in first place.  However, the win by the Rangers moved them into second place.  Despite their recent poor play, they were in first place at the half-way point of the season, something no one expected when the season began.

Record:  The Twins were 46-35, in first place in the American League West, one game ahead of Texas.

1991 Rewind: Game Eighty


Date:  Thursday, July 4.

Batting stars:  Pedro Munoz was 2-for-4 with a double.  Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-4 with a double.

Pitching stars:  David West pitched seven shutout innings, giving up two hits and a walk and striking out five.  Steve Bedrosian pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit and striking out one.  Rick Aguilera pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Jimmy Key pitched 7.1 innings, giving up one run on seven hits and a walk and striking out three.  Derek Bell was 1-for-2 with a walk.

The game:  Knoblauch doubled with one out in the first, but only got to third base.  In the second, Munoz and Shane Mack started the inning with singles, putting men on first and third.  Junior Ortiz then hit into a forceout, bringing in a run and putting the Twins up 1-0.

Munoz got a one-out double in the fourth but stayed at second.  Joe Carter got a one-out double in the fourth but stayed at second.  The Twins got men on first and second in the fifth but did nothing with them.  In the seventh, Bell singled and went to second on a wild pitch with one out, but only got as far as third.  Devon White got a two-out double in the eighth.  But neither team scored, and the Twins took a 1-0 victory.

WP:  West (1-0).  LP:  Key (10-4).  S:  Aguilera (21).

Notes:  Al Newman and his .493 OPS replaced Kent Hrbek at first base.  He batted first.  Hrbek came into the game for defense in the eighth, with Newman moving to third and Scott Leius coming out of the game.  Munoz was in right and Mack was in left, replacing Dan GladdenRandy Bush pinch-hit for Mack in the ninth and Jarvis Brown went to left field.  Ortiz was behind the plate in place of Brian Harper.

Puckett was 0-for-4 and was batting .320.  Aguilera lowered his ERA to 2.84.

Bush was 0-for-1 and was batting .197.

This was the only time in his career that Newman would play first base.

This was West's first game for the Twins in 1991 and was the best start he would have all season.  He was supposed to be the key player in the Frank Viola trade.  A can't-miss prospect, he mostly missed, although he had a couple of good seasons with Philadelphia (1993-1994).  1991 was the best season he had as a Twin:  4-4, 4.54, 1.32 WHIP in 71.1 innings (15 games, 12 starts).  He would remain in the Twins' rotation through early September.

The win was the Twins' second in nine games.  The bats remained quiet, however.  The Twins had scored just nineteen runs in their last nine games.  The only two wins they had in that span were shutouts.

The win moved the Twins back into first place.  Could they stay there?

Record:  The Twins were 46-34, in first place in the American League West, one game ahead of California.

1991 Rewind: Game Seventy-nine


Date:  Wednesday, July 3.

Batting star:  Brian Harper was 3-for-4 with two doubles.

Pitching star:  Mark Guthrie pitched five shutout innings of relief, giving up four hits and no walks and striking out four.

Opposition stars:  Tom Candiotti struck out seven in seven shutout innings, giving up six hits and three walks.  Roberto Alomar was 2-for-3 with a double and a hit-by-pitch.  Joe Carter was 2-for-4 with two home runs (his eighteenth and nineteenth) and three RBIs.  Pat Tabler was 2-for-4.  Ed Sprague was 2-for-4.  Devon White was 1-for-4 with a home run, his fourth.

The game:  The Twins got a single and two walks in the first inning but did not score, thanks in part to a pickoff.  The Blue Jays took the lead in the bottom of the first when Alomar hit a one-out double and Carter followed with a two-run homer.  Toronto loaded the bases with two out in the second and didn't score, but got on the board again in the third on another Carter homer, making it 3-0.  The Blue Jays again loaded the bases after the home run, but again did not score.

Paul Sorrento led off the fourth with a walk and Harper followed with a double, but Sorrento was thrown out trying to score from first (Gardy'd?) and the Twins were kept off the board.  White homered leading off the fourth to increase the lead to 4-0.

And that was it.  The Twins had a few threats--Al Newman singled and stole second in the fifth, Harper had a two-out double in the sixth, Scott Leius reached on a strikeout/passed ball in the seventh and got as far as third on a couple of ground outs--but they could not tally and the game ended with a 4-0 score.

WP:  Candiotti (8-7).  LP:  Allan Anderson (4-7).  S:  None.

Notes:  Jarvis Brown led off and played left field in place of Dan Gladden.  Randy Bush batted second and was in right field.  Paul Sorrento was at first base in place of Kent Hrbek.  Al Newman was at second base in place of Chuck Knoblauch.

Harper raised his average to .326.  Kirby Puckett was 0-for-4 and fell to .325.

Sorrento was 0-for-3 and was batting .143.  Brown was 1-for-4 and was batting .167.

Twins starter Allan Anderson lasted just three innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and two walks and striking out one.  He would make one more start, on July 12, then be removed from the rotation.

This was Guthrie's first appearance since being removed from the rotation.  I may have mentioned this before, but he did much better as a reliever than as a starter.  In 1991 he was 5-4, 5.73, 1.82 WHIP as a starter and 2-1, 2.51, 1.37 WHIP with two saves as a reliever.  For his career he was 13-18, 4.95, 1.52 WHIP as a starter and 38-36, 3.75, 1.36 WHIP with fourteen saves as a reliever.  It could reasonably said that the move to the bullpen saved his career.

This was the Twins' seventh loss in eight games.  Looking at that lineup, one has to say that TK wasn't panicking and going all-out to win every game.  The losing streak was largely a failure of the bats.  In the seven losses, the Twins scored just fifteen runs and were shutout twice.  How low would they go?  We'll see.

Record:  The Twins were 45-34, in second place in the American League West, one percentage point behind California (.571 to .570--the Angels had played two fewer games).  They were two games ahead of third-place Texas.