Tag Archives: unclutch

1991 Rewind: Game Forty-five


Date:  Tuesday, May 28.

Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-3 with two RBIs.  Greg Gagne was 2-for-4.  Dan Gladden was 1-for-4 with a home run (his third) and two runs.

Pitching stars:  Scott Erickson pitched eight shutout innings, giving up seven hits and three walks and striking out seven.  He threw 119 pitches.  Rick Aguilera pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Jose Guzman pitched 7.2 innings, giving up three runs on nine hits and a walk and striking out three.  Geno Petralli was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Ruben Sierra was 2-for-4.

The game:  Gladden led off the game with a home run to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  The Rangers got a pair of one-out singles in the bottom of the first, but a pop up and a strikeout ended the inning.  The Twins scored again in the third when Gagne singled, was bunted to second, and scored on Puckett's two-out single.

Texas threatened again in the fourth with a pair of two-out singles, but Denny Walling flied out to end the inning.  The Twins added a run in the fifth on singles by Gagne and Chuck Knoblauch and a Puckett sacrifice fly, making the score 3-0.

The Rangers had two more threats come to nothing.  Two singles in the fifth went for naught when Julio Franco hit into a force out.  A walk and an error put men on first and second with none out in the seventh, but two ground outs and a strike out put that threat away.  That was it, as Texas did not get a hit after the fifth.

WP:  Erickson (7-2).  LP:  Jose Guzman (0-1).  S:  Aguilera (9).

Notes:  With Erickson pitching, Junior Ortiz was again behind the plate.  Gene Larkin was in right field and Kent Hrbek was at first base at the start of the game, but Hrbek came out after batting in the first inning.  Shane Mack went to right and Larkin went to first.  Hrbek would start the next game, so whatever was wrong must not have been too serious.

Scott Leius pinch-hit for Mike Pagliarulo in the ninth inning and remained in the game at third base.

Puckett raised his average to .344.  Chili Davis was 1-for-4 and was batting .308.  Gagne raised his average to .303.  Erickson's ERA was 1.63.  Aguilera went down to 1.61.

Leius was 0-for-1 and was batting .175.

The Rangers stranded nine and were 0-for-7 with men in scoring position.

I tended to get Jose Guzman confused with Juan Guzman in the nineties, and sometimes I still do.  Jose had been a solid starter for the Rangers from 1987-1988, then missed all of 1989 due to injury and was able to make only ten minor league appearances in 1990.  He came back strong in 1991, though, going 13-7, 3.08 in 25 starts.  He had another good year for the Rangers in 1992, then became a free agent and signed with the Cubs.  He got hurt almost immediately and was able to make only four starts for the Cubs.  He kept pitching, when he could, in the minors through 1996.  He made a comeback, sort of, in 2001-2002, pitching in independent ball with the Fort Worth Cats.  His career numbers are 80-74, 4.05, 1,37 WHIP.  Nothing special, but not bad, either.  And for a few seasons, he was a pitcher anyone would've been happy to have in their rotation.

Record:  The Twins were 21-24, sixth in the American League West, a mere two percentage points ahead of seventh-place Kansas City.  They trailed first-place Texas by 6.5 games.