MINNESOTA 9, KANSAS CITY 0 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Monday, September 16.
Batting star: Brian Harper was 2-for-3 with a three-run homer (his tenth) and two runs.
Pitching stars: Kevin Tapani pitched 7.1 scoreless innings, giving up three hits and two walks and striking out seven. Paul Abbott struck out three in 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up a walk.
Opposition stars: Bill Pecota was 2-for-4. Storm Davis struck out three in three innings of relief, giving up one run on three hits.
The game: Singles by Dan Gladden and Chuck Knoblauch put men on first and third with none out. Gladden scored on a sacrifice fly. Knoblauch then went to third on a stolen base-plus-error and scored on a ground out, making it 2-0 Twins. In the fourth, Kent Hrbek and Chili Davis started the inning with back-to-back doubles. Harper singled and Shane Mack was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. A pair of sacrifice flies made it 5-0.
Meanwhile, the Royals did not get a hit for the first four innings. They got a pair of singles in the fifth, but nothing came of it. The Twins put the game out of reach in the bottom of the fifth when Hrbek and Davis walked and Harper followed with a three-run homer, making it 8-0. In the eighth, Lenny Webster doubled and Mike Pagliarulo singled to bring the final to 9-0.
WP: Tapani (15-8). LP: Mark Gubicza (8-10). S: None.
Notes: The box score looks like a spring training game, with Pagliarulo the only Twin to play the whole game. Sadly, with the roster restrictions, we won't see this any more. Scott Leius pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the sixth and stayed in the game at shortstop. Paul Sorrento replaced Kent Hrbek at first base in the seventh. Al Newman replaced Knoblauch at second base in the seventh. Pedro Munoz replaced Gladden in left field in the seventh. Gene Larkin replaced Mack in right field in the seventh. Jarvis Brown replaced Kirby Puckett in center in the eighth. Lenny Webster replaced Harper at catcher in the eighth. Randy Bush pinch-hit for Davis in the eighth.
Puckett was 0-for-3 and was batting .324. Harper raised his average to .314. Mack was 1-for-2 to make his average .313. Webster was 1-for-1 and was batting .409. Tapani lowered his ERA to 2.83.
Sorrento was 0-for-1 and was batting .167.
Tapani's game score of 77 was his second-highest of the year. It was topped only by an 82 in a complete game shutout on April 12, his first start of the season.
The White Sox did not play, so the Twins gained a half-game.
Record: The Twins were 87-58, in first place in the American League West, eight games ahead of Chicago.
In the East, Toronto lost to Seattle 6-5 but Boston lost to Baltimore 9-2, so the Blue Jays' lead remained 3.5 games.