CALIFORNIA 9, MINNESOTA 4 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Sunday, April 14.
Batting stars: Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two runs. Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a double.
Pitching stars: Gary Wayne pitched a scoreless inning. Rick Aguilera pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.
Opposition stars: Luis Polonia was 3-for-4 with a walk, three stolen bases (his second, third, and fourth), three runs, and two RBIs. Dick Schofield was 2-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base. Ex-Twin Gary Gaetti was 2-for-4 with four RBIs. Lance Parrish was 2-for-5 with a home run (his second) and two RBIs.
The game: The Angels got on the board in the first inning when Polonia singled, stolso-ce second, went to third on a ground out, and scored on Gaetti's sacrifice fly. In the second Jack Howell doubled, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a ground out to make it 2-0. California added two more in the third when Polonia walked and stole second, Donnie Hill got an infield hit, and Gaetti and Parris had RBI singles. In the fourth, Junior Felix got an infield hit, stole second, and scored on Polonia's single to make it 5-0.
The Twins finally got on the board in the fifth on back-to-back doubles by Knoblauch and Puckett. The got back into the game in the sixth. Shane Mack led off with a triple and scored on a ground out. Scott Leius and Greg Gagne walked. With two out, Knoblauch singled to cut the lead to 5-3.
And just like yesterday, they were quickly back out of the game again. In the sixth, Max Venable doubled, Schofield got an infield hit, and Polonia delivered an RBI single. With two out, a double steal put men on second and third and Gaetti drove them both home with a single. It was 8-3 and the game was gone. Parrish homered leading off the seventh to make it 9-3 and the Twins added one in the eighth when Knoblauch walked, went to second on Puckett's single, and scored on a pair of ground outs. And that was it.
WP: Chuck Finley (2-0). LP; Jack Morris (0-2). S: None.
Notes: Puckett was back in right field with Mack in center. Puckett moved to center in the ninth after Randy Bush pinch-hit for Mack. Junior Ortiz caught in place of Brian Harper.
Gagne was 1-for-2 with a walk to raise his average to .429. Knoblauch went up to .400 and Puckett improved to .375. Chili Davis was 0-for-4 to drop below .300 at .286.
Dan Gladden was 0-for-4 and dropped his average to .048. Mack got his first hit of the season, a triple, going 1-for-2 with a walk to make his average .077. Ortiz was still batting zero (0-for-7). Kent Hrbek was 0-for-4 and was batting .130.
Morris pitched 5.2 innings, giving up eight runs on thirteen hits and two walks. He did strike out six. Five of the hits were infield singles, which indicates some bad luck. Still, in his first two starts as a Twin, Morris had an ERA of 9.58. Twins fans must have wondered what was going on with their so-called ace, who had been signed with much ballyhoo over the off-season. It's doubtful too many people were upset about the 2-4 start, though. The team had finished in last place the year before, and Morris or not, very little was expected of them this season.
People have forgotten what a fine pitcher Chuck Finley was. Not Hall of Fame worthy, but a solid starter for many years. His best years were 1989-1990, when he went 34-18, 2.48 in 435.2 innings. He made the all-star team in both of those years and finished seventh in Cy Young voting in 1990. He didn't keep that up, but he was a steady contributor from 1991-2000. He had double-digit wins each of those years except 1992 and posted an ERA between 3.80 and 4.43 in each year but two, when he did considerably better (3.15 in 1993 and 3.39 in 1998). He was with the Angels through 1999, then went to Cleveland through July of 2002, when he finished the season (and his career) with St. Louis. He was still effective over those last couple of months, going 7-4, 3.80, 1.16 WHIP in fourteen starts. For his career, he was 200-173, 3.85, 1.38 WHIP. He pitched 3197.1 innings and appeared in 524 major league games, 467 of them starts. That's a career to be proud of. He is a member of the Angels Hall of Fame, and he certainly should be.
Record: The Twins were 2-4, fifth in the American League West, three games behind the White Sox.