MINNESOTA 8, SEATTLE 2 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Sunday, April 28.
Batting stars: Kirby Puckett was 2-for-3 with a home run (his third), a walk, two runs, and three RBIs. Kent Hrbek was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs. Chili Davis was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-5 with a triple.
Pitching stars: Jack Morris pitched six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and two walks and striking out three. Steve Bedrosian pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit.
Opposition stars: Ken Griffey, Jr. was 3-for-5 with a double and a stolen base, his third. Pete O'Brien was 2-for-4 with a double.
The game: Each team scored in the first inning. For the Mariners, Greg Briley singled, stole second, and scored on Griffey, Jr.'s single. Puckett homered with two out in the bottom of the first to tie it 1-1. Henry Cotto got to third in the second, but did not score.
The Twins took their first lead in the third when Knoblauch tripled and scored on a Puckett single to make it 2-1 Twins. Seattle tied it in the fourth on singles by Edgar Martinez, O'Brien, and Omar Vizquel.
It stayed 2-2 until the sixth. Puckett led off with a walk and scored on Hrbek's double. Davis then delivered an RBI single to make it 4-2. The Twins put it away in the seventh. Gene Larkin led off with a single, Greg Gagne had an RBI double, Dan Gladden was hit by a pitch, Knoblauch had an RBI single, a run scored on a ground out, and Davis hit a run-scoring double. It was 8-2 Twins. The Mariners never got more than one man on base after that.
WP: Morris (2-3). LP: Scott Bankhead (1-2). S: None.
Notes: It was again Larkin in right and Puckett in center. Shane Mack came in as a pinch-runner in the seventh and stayed in the game in center, with Puckett moving to right.
For some reason, Tom Kelly found it necessary to bring Rick Aguilera into the game with two out and none on in the ninth and an 8-2 lead. Aguilera hadn't pitched since April 24, and the next day was an off day, but still, why bring him in then? If he needed the work, why not bring him in to start the inning? And he wouldn't pitch again until May 3, so they must not have thought Aguilera needed that much work. It just seems really strange.
Larkin was 1-for-3 and was batting .393. Puckett raised his average to .355. Knoblauch raised his average to .343. Brian Harper was 0-for-2 with two walks and was batting .333. Davis raised his average to .322. Gagne was 1-for-3 and was batting .300. Bedrosian lowered his ERA to 2.53. Aguilera dropped his ERA to 1.17.
Scott Leius pinch-hit and went 0-for-1, making his average .143. Mack was 1-for-1 as a reserve and raised his average to .143. Al Newman was 0-for-1 as a reserve and was batting .167. Gladden was 0-for-4 and fell to .169. Hrbek raised his average to .194. Morris was working on getting his ERA down, but it was still at 5.34. Mark Guthrie pitched a third of an inning, giving up no runs on a hit and a walk, and had an ERA of 16.88.
Neither side of the Twins third base platoon was batting well, but at least Leius was drawing walks. Leius was batting .143/.379/.238. Mike Pagliarulo was batting .205/.205/.227.
The Mariners used Henry Cotto at DH, the only time all season he started at that position. He seems to be a DH in the proud tradition of Jason Tyner--his lifetime numbers are .261/.299/.370, compared to Tyner's .275/.314/.323. The one thing you can say in Cotto's defense is that 1991 was his best offensive season. He batted .305/.347/.463 in 192 plate appearances. And at the time of this game, he was batting .350.
Record: After a 2-9 start, the Twins improved to 9-10. They climbed out of last place in the American League West, moving up to a tie for third with California, although leading Kansas City and Texas by mere percentage points. They were 3.5 games behind the White Sox.