TORONTO 4, MINNESOTA 3 IN TORONTO
Date: Tuesday, July 2.
Batting star: Mike Pagliarulo was 2-for-3 with a walk.
Pitching star: Kevin Tapani pitched 6.1 innings, giving up two runs on eleven hits and one walk and striking out one.
Opposition stars: Mike Timlin pitched five innings of relief, giving up one run on three hits and a walk and striking out two. Greg Myers was 3-for-4 with a double. Devon White was 3-for-5 with a stolen base, his nineteenth. Manny Lee was 2-for-4 with a double. Roberto Alomar was 2-for-4 with a walk. John Olerud was 2-for-4. Rene Gonzales was 1-for-4 with a home run.
The game: The Twins took a 1-0 lead in the second when Shane Mack scored from first on Pagliarulo's single-plus-error. It went to 2-0 in the third when Chuck Knoblauch walked, went to second when Pedro Munoz was hit by a pitch, went to third on a fly out, and scored on a Chili Davis sacrifice fly. The Blue Jays got on the board in the fourth when Gonzales hit a home run, but the Twins got the run back on singles by Mack and Pagliarulo and a run-scoring ground out by Greg Gagne, making the score 3-1.
Each team had threats, but it stayed 3-1 until the seventh. Singles by Lee, White, and Alomar loaded the bases with one out. Terry Leach came in and allowed one run to score on a ground out, but no more, so the Twins still led 3-2. In the eighth, however, Derek Bell singled, stole second, and scored on Lee's double to tie it 3-3.
Leach remained in the game to start the tenth. He gave up singles to White and Alomar, putting men on first and third. Joe Carter was intentionally walked, filling the bases. Leach was finally replaced by Steve Bedrosian, who gave up a single to Rance Mulliniks to end the game.
WP: Duane Ward (2-3). LP: Leach (0-1). S: None.
Notes: Mack was again in left, replacing Dan Gladden. Munoz was in right. With Gladden out, Knoblauch batted first, with Munoz second. Sorrento was at first base, replacing Kent Hrbek. Hrbek would miss the next game as well and would not start again until July 5.
Jarvis Brown entered the game in right field in the fifth inning, replacing Munoz. This was Brown's major league debut, and he went 0-for-2. Munoz would miss the next game, play each game from July 4-7, play again on July 14, and then not come back until September.
Puckett was 0-for-3, making his average .329. Harper was 0-for-4 to drop to .318. Tapani's ERA was at 3.04.
Leach was pretty clearly left in the game too long. He got out of the jam in the seventh, but gave up the tying run in the eighth and was still left in to load the bases in the ninth. Tom Kelly apparently thought it was worth risking this game in order to preserve his bullpen. That may sound critical--I don't mean it to be. My memory isn't good enough, and I don't have time to go back through the games, to know what the state of the bullpen was at this point. TK may well have made the right decision. This is simply an observation, not a criticism. If this was a post-season game, or even a game in a September pennant race, Kelly would almost certainly have gotten Leach out of there sooner. In a game in early July, it may well have been prudent to leave him in as long as he did.
The Twins had now lost six of seven. Their division lead was shrinking. Could they pull out of the tailspin?
Record: The Twins were 45-33, in first place in the American League West, one game ahead of California.