MINNESOTA 5, NEW YORK 4 IN NEW YORK
Date: Tuesday, September 21.
Batting stars: Pedro Munoz was 3-for-4 with two home runs (his eleventh and twelfth) and all five RBIs. Brian Harper was 3-for-4. Dave Winfield was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs. Jeff Reboulet was 2-for-4.
Pitching stars: Willie Banks struck out six in five innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on three hits and five walks. Carl Willis struck out two in two perfect innings.
Opposition stars: Danny Tartabull was 2-for-3 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Bobby Munoz pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out two.
The game: Dion James hit a one-out double in the first, went to third on a ground ball, and scored on a wild pitch to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. It stayed 1-0 until the fourth. With one out, Winfield and Harper singled and Munoz hit a three-run homer, putting the Twins in front 3-1.
The Yankees got one back in the bottom of the fourth when Mike Stanley walked, Bernie Williams singled, and Wade Boggs reached on an error. It stayed 3-2 until the sixth, when Winfield doubled and Munoz delivered a two-out two-run homer to make it 5-2 Minnesota.
It couldn't come easy, of course. New York cut the margin to 5-3 in the bottom of the sixth when Mike Gallego doubled and scored on a Jim Leyritz single. It stayed 5-3 until the ninth. Rick Aguilera retired the first two Yankees, but Tartabull singled, Matt Nokes singled, and Stanley hit an RBI single, cutting the margin to 5-4 with Williams coming up to bat. But Williams grounded out to first, and the game was over.
WP: Banks (10-11). LP: Jim Abbott (10-13). S: Aguilera (31).
Notes: Terry Jorgensen was at first base in place of Kent Hrbek. Jorgensen was primarily a third baseman--he played just nine games at first in this season, starting only three. Jeff Reboulet was at third in place of Mike Pagliarulo. Pags played 79 games at third, Jorgensen 45, and Reboulet 34.
David McCarty was in right field. Kirby Puckett played the most games in right, 47 (compared to 95 in center). Munoz played 41, McCarty 34, and Winfield 31. Munoz was in left in this game, a place he played 64 games (tied with Shane Mack. Mack played 67 games in center).
Harper was batting .305--he would finish at .304 and was the only .300 hitter on the team. Puckett came close--he was at .293 and finished at .296, The Twins batted .264, ninth in the league. New York and Toronto led at .279.
Hrbek led the team with 25 home runs. Puckett was second at 22 and Winfield followed at 21. Munoz hit 13, Harper 12, and Mack 10. The Twins hit 121 home runs, twelfth in the league. Texas led at 181.
It was a hitters' year, but even allowing for that the Twins' rotation wasn't very good. Kevin Tapani led in starts and went 12-15, 4.43. Scott Erickson was 8-19, 5.19. Banks led the starters in ERA, going 11-12, 4.04. Jim Deshaies was 11-13, 4.41. They never really found a fifth starter. Rookie Eddie Guardado started 16 games and went 3-8, 6.18. Mike Trombley made 10 starts and went 6-6, 4.88, stats which obviously include his relief appearances. Aguilera was solid in the bullpen, posting 34 saves with an ERA of 3.11. Willis was 3-0, 3.10 with 5 saves and Larry Casian was 5-3, 3.02. The Twins were next-to-last in ERA at 4.71. Chicago led at 3.70. The Twins were twelfth in WHIP at 1.46. Boston led with 1.33.
In winning this game, the Twins used probably their best starter (Banks) and their three best relievers (Casian, Willis, and Aguilera). And they did manage to beat the Yankees, even if just barely.
This was the first game of a stretch in which the Twins would win eight out of nine.
Record: The Twins were 63-88, in sixth place in the American League West, 22.5 games behind Chicago. They would finish 71-91, tied for fifth place with California, 23 games behind Chicago.
The Yankees were 83-69, in second place in the American League East, 5 games behind Toronto. They would finish 88-74, in second place, 7 games behind Toronto.
Random record: The Twins are 55-49 in Random Rewind games.