Tag Archives: winning streak

Random Rewind: 2019, Game Forty-four


Date:  Friday, May 17.

Batting stars:  Ehire Adrianza was 2-for-3 with a home run (his third), two runs and two RBIs.  Max Kepler was 2-for-4 with three RBIs.  Marwin Gonzalez was 2-for-5 with two runs.

Pitching stars:  Martin Perez struck out seven in 6.2 innings, giving up one run on five hits and four walks.  Matt Magill struck out two in 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up a walk.  Mike Morin pitched a scoreless inning.

Opposition stars:  Austin Adams retired all six men he faced, striking out four.  Edwin Encarnacion was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Dee Gordon was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his twelfth.  Mitch Haniger was 0-for-1 with three walks.

The game:  The Mariners put men on second and third with one out in the first, but a pair of strikeouts ended the inning.  The Twins started the scoring in the third on Adrianza's solo home run.  In the fourth, the Twins opened the inning with consecutive singles by GonzalezC. J. CronWillians Astudillo, and Kepler, making the score 2-0.  They added one more on Adrianza's sacrifice fly to take a 3-0 lead.

The Twins built their lead some more in the fifth.  Jorge Polanco and Gonzalez singled and Cron walked, loading the bases with one out.  Astudillo hit a sacrifice fly, and an error moved everyone up a base.  Kepler then delivered a two-run single, making it 6-0 Twins.

Seattle got their lone run in the bottom of the fifth.  With two out Gordon singled, Haniger walked, and Encarnacion had an RBI single.  They had only one hit after that, a two-out double by J. P. Crawford in the sixth.  The Twins added a run in the ninth when Adrianza singled and scored from first on a two-out double by Jonathan Schoop.

WP:  Perez (6-1).  LP:  Marco Gonzales (5-3).  S:  None.

Notes:  Astudillo was the catcher in this game, one of 21 games he caught.  Mitch Garver and Jason Castro split the catching duties almost evenly, with Garver catching 82 games and Castro 78.

Adrianza was at third base.  Miguel Sano, who would become the third baseman, was just getting back from injury.  This was his second game of the season, and he was the DH.  Nelson Cruz, the regular DH, missed a few weeks due to injury.

Gonzalez was in left field in place of Eddie Rosario, who was apparently just given the day off.

The Twins did not make any position player substitutions.

Polanco was leading the team in batting at .331.  He would finish at .295.  Luis Arraez, who had not been brought up yet, would lead the team in batting at .334.  Cruz would be the only other .300 hitter, at .311.  The Twins were second in the league in batting at .270.

Cruz would lead the team in home runs with 41.  The Twins would have eleven batters who hit double-digit home runs:  Kepler (36), Sano (34), Rosario (32), Garver (31), Cron (25), Schoop (23), Polanco (22), Gonzalez (15), Castro (13), and Byron Buxton (10).  As you know, the Twins would set a new record for home runs in a season with 307.

Perez was 6-1, 2.89 at this point of the season.  Unfortunately, he couldn't sustain that, and ended up at 10-7, 5.12.  The Twins had three solid starters:  Jose Berrios (14-8, 3.68), Jake Odorizzi (15-7, 3.51), and Michael Pineda (15-11, 4.01).  They struggled after that, though, with Perez and Kyle Gibson (13-7, 4.84).  When Pineda was suspended they really struggled, which led to Randy Dobnak making a start in the playoffs.

The Twins used 31 pitchers in 2019.  So they won't be forgotten, let's tip our cap to Andrew Vasquez, Chase DeJongJorge Alcala, and Austin Adams, each of whom pitched one or two games for the Twins last season.

This was the fourth game of a five-game winning streak for the Twins.  After a loss they would win six more in a row, meaning they won eleven of twelve.

Record:  The Twins were 29-15, in first place in the American League Central, 5.5 games ahead of Cleveland.  They would finish 101-61, in first place, 8 games ahead of Cleveland.

The Mariners were 22-25, in fourth place in the American League West, nine games behind Houston.  They would finish 68-94, in fifth (last) place, 39 games behind Houston.

Rewind Record:  The Twins are 38-33 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 1972, Game Eleven


Date:  Sunday, April 30.

Batting stars:  George Mitterwald was 3-for-5 with two doubles.  Bobby Darwin was 2-for-3 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch.  Danny Thompson was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Rod Carew was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Dick Woodson pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits and two walks and striking out five.  Dave LaRoche struck out two in two innings, giving up an unearned run on two hits.

Opposition stars:  Mike Kekich pitched 5.2 innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on ten hits and two walks and striking out four.  John Ellis was 2-for-4 with a home run.  Roy White was 1-for-4 with a home run.

The game:  The Twins loaded the bases in the first inning but did not score.  In the second, Ellis hit a one-out homer to get the Yankees on the board.  Later in the inning Jerry Kenney walked and Kekich hit a two-out triple to make the score 2-0 New York.

The Twins tied it in the fourth.  Darwin and Steve Brye led off the inning with singles.  With one out Mitterwald hit a ground-rule double to put the Twins on the board.  With two out, Cesar Tovar was hit by a pitch, loading the bases, and Thompson walked to force in a run.  With the bases still loaded the Twins had a chance to take the lead, but Carew struck out to end the inning.

The Twins took the lead in the sixth, however, when Tovar singled and scored on a double-plus-error by Thompson.  The lead lasted until the bottom of the sixth, when White homered to tie it 3-3.

In the eighth, Mitterwald singled, Danny Monzon reached on an error, and Tovar was hit by a pitch to load the bases with none out.  Thompson struck out, but Carew delivered a two-run single to give the Twins a 5-3 lead.  The Twins had a chance for a bigger lead, loading the bases with two out, but a ground out ended the inning.

The lead held up, but it wasn't easy.  With one out in the ninth Felipe Alou doubled and scored on Ellis' single-plus-error, cutting the margin to 5-4.  The tying run was on second, but Thurman Munson fouled out and Ron Swoboda was caught looking to end the game.

WP:  Woodson (2-0).  LP:  Fred Beene (0-1).  S:  LaRoche (4).

Notes:  Mitterwald shared time behind the plate with Phil Roof and Glenn Borgmann, with Rick Dempsey playing a handful of games.  Borgmann did not come up until mid-season (it was his rookie year), and he took over the starting job at that point.

Rich Reese pinch-ran for Harmon Killebrew in the eighth and remained in the game at first base.

Darwin was batting .439 in the young season.  He would finish at .267.  Mitterwald was batting .375.  He would finish at .234.  Thompson was batting .311.  He would finish at .276.  Carew, who was batting just .227, would end up leading the team in batting at .318.  The Twins finished fourth in the league in batting average at just .244.

Killebrew would lead the team in home runs with 26.  Darwin would hit 22 and Eric Soderholm, who would become the starting third baseman, had 13.

1968 was The Year of the Pitcher, but 1972 was a pretty good year for pitchers, too.  Here are the Twins' starters:  Bert Blyleven:  17-17, 2.73; Woodson, 14-14, 2.72; Jim Perry, 13-16, 3.35; Ray Corbin, 8-9, 2.62; Jim Kaat, 10-2, 2.06; Dave Goltz, 3-3, 2.67.  The designated hitter would come in the next year to try to generate more offense in the American League.

LaRoche was pretty much the co-closer with Wayne Granger.  Granger had 19 saves and LaRoche 10.

Despite Kekich's RBI triple, he was not a good batter.  He was not even a good batter for a pitcher.  His career numbers are .120/.140/.134.  This was the only triple of his major league career.  He also had just one double, in 1969, and no home runs.

The Twins lost the first game of the doubleheader, snapping a six-game winning streak.  The win in the second game would start a five-game winning streak.  The Twins were 23-12 at the end of May, but would not have another month in which they were over .500.

This was a strike/lockout year, so the season did not begin until April 15.  That's why, on April 26, the Twins were only playing their eleventh game.

Record:  The Twins were 8-3, in first place in the American League West, one game ahead of Oakland.  They would finish 77-77, in third place, 15.5 games behind Oakland.

The Yankees were 4-8, in fifth place in the American League East, 3.5 games behind Detroit.  They would finish 79-76, in fourth place, 6.5 games behind Detroit.

Random record:  The Twins are 32-27 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 2007, Game Fifty-one


Date:  Tuesday, May 29.

Batting stars:  Justin Morneau was 3-for-4 with a home run (his sixteenth), two doubles, a walk, and four RBIs.  Michael Cuddyer was 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, and three runs.  Luis Castillo was 3-for-5 with a walk and a stolen base, his third.  Jason Bartlett was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Jeff Cirillo was 2-for-5 with a double.  Jason Kubel was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer (his second), a walk, and two runs.

Pitching stars:  Boof Bonser pitched 6.2 innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on seven hits and three walks and striking out six.  Carmen Cali pitched a perfect inning.  Ramon Ortiz pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Alex Cintron was 2-for-5.  Boone Logan pitched 1.2 perfect inning.

The game:  The White Sox scored first.  In the first inning Darin Erstad and Jim Thome singled and Jermaine Dye walked, loading the bases with one out.  Paul Konerko hit a sacrifice fly to put Chicago up 1-0.

The Twins took over from there.  With two out in the second, Jason Kubel walked and Bartlett and Castillo each singled to tie it 1-1.  Cuddyer led off the third with a double and Morneau hit a two-run homer.  That worked so well the Twins did it again later in the inning:  with two out Cirillo doubled and Kubel hit a two-run homer to give the Twins a 5-1 lead.

The Twins added a run in the fourth when Cuddyer singled, Morneau doubled, and Torii Hunter walked, loading the bases, and Mike Redmond hit a sacrifice fly.  They put it away in the fifth.  With two out and none on Castillo and Nick Punto singled, Cuddyer walked, a wild pitch brought home a run, and Morneau doubled home two more.  It was a 9-1 lead for the Twins.

The White Sox made one last attempt to get back in the game in the seventh.  Juan Uribe hit a one-out single, Andy Gonzalez reached on an error, and Cintron singled, loading the bases.  Dye drew a two-out walk to make it 9-2, but that was all Chicago could do.  Their last seven batters were retired.

WP:  Bonser (4-1).  LP:  John Danks (3-5).  S:  None.

Notes:   Redmond was behind the plate in place of Joe Mauer, who was out with an injury.

Cirillo was the DH.  The Twins did not have a regular DH in 2007, with eight players seeing double digit games there.  Kubel had the most with 36.  Others were Jason Tyner (26), Cirillo (24), Mauer (19), Rondell White (19), Redmond (18), Morneau (14), and Garrett Jones (13).

Lew Ford pinch-hit for Hunter in the seventh and stayed in the game in center field.  Chris Heintz pinch-ran for Redmond in the eighth and stayed in the game at catcher.

Castillo was the leading batter for the Twins at .335.  He finished at .304 as a Twin; he actually finished as a New York Met, traded there at the July deadline.  Redmond was batting .320--he finished at .294.  Hunter was batting .314--he finished at .287.

On the other hand, Ford was batting just .184.  He finished at .233.  This would be his last year as a Twin.  He bounced around, played independent ball for a while, and battled his way back to play 25 games for Baltimore in 2012.

Morneau hit 31 homers to lead the team and Hunter 28.  Cuddyer had 16 homers and Kubel 13.  They still were next-to-last in team home runs with 118.

Bonser did not have a good year in 2007.  He did well in this game, but for the season he was 8-12, 5.10, 1.53 WHIP.  The Twins had a pretty good rotation:  Johan Santana (15-13, 3.33), Matt Garza (5-7, 3.69), Carlos Silva (13-14, 4.19), and Scott Baker (9-9, 4.26).  The struggled to find a fifth starter, though, with Kevin Slowey doing the best of the rest at 4-1, 4.73.

This was the third of a five-game winning streak for the Twins.

Record:  The Twins were 26-25, in fourth place in the American League Central, 5.5 games behind Cleveland.  They would finish 79-83, in third place, 17 games behind Cleveland.

The White Sox were 24-23, in third place with Minnesota in the American League Central, 5.5 games behind Cleveland.  They would finish 72-90, in fourth place, 24 games behind Cleveland.

Random Rewind: 1993, Game One Hundred Fifty-two


Date:  Wednesday, September 22.

Batting starsDave Winfield was 3-for-4 with two doubles.  Pedro Munoz was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his thirteenth.  Kent Hrbek was 1-for-4 with a home run, his twenty-second.

Pitching stars:  Kevin Tapani pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits and no walks and striking out five.  Carl Willis pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.  Rick Aguilera pitched a scoreless inning.

Opposition stars:  Randy Velarde was 2-for-3.  Mike Gallego was 1-for-3 with a home run, his tenth.

The game:  The Twins did almost all of their damage in the second inning.  Hrbek led off the inning with a home run.  Winfield doubled, Brian Harper singled, and Munoz hit a three-run homer, putting the Twins ahead 4-0.

The Yankees had only two hits through the first four innings.  They got on the board in the fifth when Bernie Williams doubled and Velarde singled.  It stayed 4-1 until the eighth.  In the top of the inning Chuck Knoblauch walked, went to second on a ground out, and scored on Kirby Puckett's single.  Gallego homered leading off the bottom of the eighth to make it 5-2.  New York got one man on in the ninth but did not bring the tying run to the plate.

WP:  Tapani (10-15).  LP:  Scott Kamieniecki (9-7).  S:  Aguilera (32).

Notes:  Scott Stahoviak was at third base.  I had completely forgotten that Stahoviak came up as a third baseman.  He played 19 games there in 1993 and 22 in 1995 before moving to first base.  Terry Jorgensen and Jeff Reboulet also saw significant time at third.  Mike Pagliarulo had been the regular third baseman, but he was traded to Baltimore in mid-August.

David McCarty was in right field.  The person who actually got the most games in right field was Puckett, with 47, but he also had the most games in center with 95.  Shane Mack played center when Puckett did not and usually played left when Puckett did.  Munoz had the next highest number of games in right field with 41.  McCarty had 34, Winfield had 31, and Gene Larkin had 25.  Munoz moved to left for this game, which he often did when someone else was in right.

Harper was the lone Twin over .300, at .305.  He would finish at .304.  Chip Hale, who did not play in this game, batted .333 in 186 at-bats.

Stahoviak was batting .175 after this game.  He would finish at .193.  It was his rookie season at age 23.  I'd forgotten that he actually had a fine year in 1996--.284/.376/.469 with 13 homers and 30 doubles.  If he'd been able to stay near that level, he'd have been a good player.  Unfortunately, the next season he batted .229 and he played in only nine big-league games after that.

Tapani pitched well in this game but did not have a good year, going 12-15, 4.43.  Maybe it's because of his fine 1991 season, when he was instrumental in the World Championship, but Tapani really does not appear to have been as good as I remember him.  He wasn't awful, but his career numbers--143-125, 4.35, 1.31 WHIP--are really pretty average.  He was really good in 1991, though.

This was the second game of a stretch in which the Twins would win eight out of nine.

Record:  The Twins were 64-88, in sixth place in the American League West, 22.5 games behind Chicago.  They would finish 71-91, tied for fifth with California, 23 games behind Chicago.

The Yankees were 83-70, in second place, 5 games behind Toronto.  With only nine games left, the loss to the lowly Twins really hurt them.  They would finish 88-74, in second place, 7 games behind Toronto.

Random Rewind: 1979, Game Twenty-four


Date:  Friday, May 4.

Batting stars:  Rob Wilfong was 2-for-2 with a walk and two runs.  Roy Smalley was 2-for-3 with two walks.  Mike Cubbage was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs.  Willie Norwood was 2-for-4 with a stolen base (his third) and two runs.  Ron Jackson was 1-for-3 with a home run (his third) and a walk.  Glenn Adams was 1-for-4 with a home run, his second.

Pitching star:  Mike Marshall pitched 2.2 scoreless innings, giving up three hits and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Rusty Staub was 3-for-4 with two doubles, a walk, and two RBIs.  Ron LeFlore was 3-for-5 with three runs.  Steve Kemp was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.  Jerry Morales was 3-for-5 with a double.

The game:  The Twins gifted the Tigers a run in the top of the third:  LeFlore singled with one out, followed by a walk to Lou Whitaker.  With two out, walks to Jason Thompson and Staub made it 1-0 Detroit.  The Tigers gifted the run right back in the bottom of the third, as Norwood got an infield single, was bunted to second, went to third on a ground out, and scored on an error, making it 1-1 after three.

Detroit got an unearned run of their own in the fourth, as Morales singled, Alan Trammell reached on an error, LeFlore singled to load the bases, and Kemp had a two-run single, making it 3-1 Tigers.  But again the Twins came back in the bottom of the inning.  Butch Wynegar led off with a single.  With one out, Norwood singled and Wilfong walked, loading the bases.  Cubbage delivered a two-run single and Smalley had an RBI single, putting the Twins up 4-3.  Ron Jackson homered in the fifth, making it 5-3.

The Tigers came back to tie it in the sixth.  Singles by LeFlore and Kemp put men on first and third with one out.  A sacrifice fly scored a run and Staub doubled home another, making it 5-5.  Once again, the Twins countered in the bottom of the inning.  Wilfong singled and scored from first on a Cubbage double, giving the Twins a 6-5 lead.

Detroit tied it once more in the seventh when Morales doubled and scored on a pair of fly balls.  The Twins again took the lead back in the bottom of the inning, when Adams led off the inning with a home run and put the Twins up 7-6.

And that was it.  The Tigers threatened in the eighth, when Kemp doubled and Jason Thompson singled to put men on first and third with one out, but Staub hit into a double play.  Lance Parrish led off the ninth with a single, but he never advanced past first base.

WP:  Marshall (4-1).  LP:  Aurelio Lopez (0-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Norwood was in center.  He began the year as the regular center fielder, but lost the job in late May, with Ken Landreaux moving over from left to take over in center.  The Twins pretty much just mixed and matched their corner outfielders the rest of the season.  In left it was Bombo Rivera (61 games), Adams (45), and Dave Edwards (36).  In right it was Hosken Powell (85 games), Rivera (50), Norwood (28), Edwards (24), and Rick Sofield (22).

The DHs had a similar situation.  The most used was Jose Morales, with 77 games.  Others used were Adams (54), Danny Goodwin (51), Cubbage (22), Norwood (17), and Craig Kusick (12).

Cubbage was at third base in place of John Castino.  He was in somewhat of a platoon with Castino, but the right-handed Castino got the majority of the playing time.  Presumably Gene Mauch tried to spot Cubbage against right-handers he thought he could hit.

Rivera replaced Adams in right field in the eighth.  Castino pinch-hit for Cubbage in the eighth and stayed in at third base.

The Twins were hitting, at least for average, early in the season.  They had five players with averages of .300 or better.  They were led by Smalley, who was batting .396.  He would be over .400 as late as May 20 and was still batting .373 at the end of June.  He did a belly-flop in the second half, though, and finished at .271.  Wilfong was batting .338--he would finish at .313.  John Castino was batting .333--he would finish at .285.  Landreaux was batting .312--he would finish at .305.  Adams was batting .300--he would finish at .301.

Pete Redfern started for the Twins.  He struck out four in four innings, but allowed three runs (one earned) on five hits and four walks.  This would be one of just six starts for Redfern--he spent most of the year in the bullpen and had a fine season, going 7-3, 3.49, 1.30 WHIP.

As you probably know, it was not unusual for Marshall to pitch multiple innings.  He set a league record by appearing in ninety games and pitched 142 relief innings.  That was only his third-highest total of his career--he had pitched 179 relief innings for Montreal in 1973 and 208.1 for the Dodgers in 1974.  He had a fine season for the Twins in 1979 as well, going 10-15, 32 saves, 2.65 ERA, 1.26 WHIP.

This was the last of a six-game winning streak for the Twins.  They would lose one, then win five more, making them eleven of twelve.

Record:  The Twins were 17-7, in first place in the American League West, 1.5 games ahead of California.  They would finish 82-80, in fourth place, six games behind California.

The Tigers were 8-11, in fifth place in the American League East, 5 games behind Boston.  They would finish 85-76, in fifth place, 18 games behind Baltimore.


Random Rewind: 1970, Game Seventy-five


Date:  Sunday, July 5.

Batting stars:  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-3 with a home run (his twenty-fourth), two walks, two runs, and two RBIs.  Leo Cardenas was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and three RBIs.  Jim Holt was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-5.

Pitching star:  Stan Williams was perfect over 3.1 innings, retiring all ten men he faced.  He struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Duane Josephson was 2-for-4 with a triple.  Ken Berry was 1-for-3 with a walk.

The game:  The Twins took control early.  They got on the board in the second inning.  Killebrew walked, Rich Reese singled, and Paul Ratliff was hit by a pitch, loading the bases with none out.  They only scored once, on Cardenas' sacrifice fly, but the broke it open in the third.  Cesar Tovar and Holt singled, putting men on first and third with none out.  Oliva had an RBI single, a run scored on a wild pitch, and Killebrew had an RBI single.  A force out and a Ratliff single put men on first and second with one down.  Cardenas had an RBI single, and a sacrifice fly followed.  It was 6-0 Twins and it was never close again.

The Twins added some more in the fifth.  Killebrew led off with a home run.  Reese and Ratliff walked and Danny Thompson had an RBI single.  Cesar Tovar was hit by a pitch, loading the bases, and Holt delivered a two-run single to put the Twins up 10-0.

The White Sox got all of their runs in the sixth.  With one out, Walt Williams walked and Luis Aparicio doubled.  Tom McCraw drove in a run with a double, a ground out brought home a second run, and Josephson tripled in a third run, cutting the Twins' margin to 10-3.  Chicago did not get a baserunner after that, however.

The Twins added single runs in the sixth and seventh.  In the sixth Ratliff was again hit by a pitch and scored on scored on Cardenas' double.  In the seventh Tovar reached on an error, Oliva singled, and Killebrew was intentionally walked, loading the bases with two out.  Reese was then hit by a pitch (the fourth hit batsman of the game) to force in the game's final run.

WP:  Jim Kaat (7-6).  LP:  Bob Miller (3-4).  S:  Williams (7).

Notes:  Ratliff was behind the plate in place of George Mitterwald.

Holt was in left in place of Brant Alyea.  That's kind of misleading, though, because while Alyea is listed as the regular, Holt actually played a few more games in left (76 to 73).  I assume the left-handed batting Holt was somewhat platooned with the right-handed Alyea.

Herman Hill pinch-ran for Tovar in the seventh and replaced him in center field.  Frank Quilici pinch-ran for Killebrew in the seventh inning and went to second base, with Thompson moving from second to third.

Oliva was the Twins leading batter at .326.  He finished at .325.  Killebrew was batting .313.  He finished at .271.  Tovar was batting .311.  He finished at .300.

Thompson was the regular second baseman because Rod Carew missed much of the season due to injury.

Jim Kaat started for the Twins.  He pitched well for five innings, but his line was 5.2 innings, three runs, seven hits, two walks, and no strikeouts.  His ERA was 4.01.  He would finish strong, though, ending at 14-10, 3.56.

Ron Perranoski was the main closer, but Williams got his chances, too.  He had fifteen saves, going 15-for-19 in save opportunities.  He was also 10-1, 1.99, 1,03 WHIP.  That's a very good season in anyone's book.

This was the only triple of the season for Duane Josephson.  Remarkably, he hit six of them in 1968, half his career total.  That was his only year as a regular, and he made the all-star team.  I don't know how many people made he all-star team in their only year as a regular player, but I suspect the list is not very long.  He missed much of the 1969 season due to a blood clot, had to share catching chores with Ed Herrmann in 1970, and was traded to the Red Sox in spring training in 1971.  Injuries limited his playing time that season, and then some guy named Fisk came along.  Josephson was a backup in 1972, then his playing career was over.

The Bob Miller who started for the White Sox was, indeed, the Bob Miller who had pitched for the Twins in 1968-1969.  He was traded to Cleveland over the off-season in a deal that got the Twins Williams and Luis Tiant, but cost them Graig Nettles.  The Indians then shipped him on to Chicago in June.

This was the first game of a five-game winning streak for the Twins.  They had just had a five-game winning streak snapped the day before, so the Twins were in a stretch where they won ten of eleven.

Record:  The Twins were 49-26, in first place in the American League West, 4 games ahead of California.  They would finish 98-64, in first place, 9 games ahead of Oakland.

The White Sox were 28-52, in fifth place in the American League West, 23.5 games behind Minnesota.  They would finish 56-106, in sixth (last) place, 42 games behind Minnesota.


Random Rewind: 1980, Game Eighty-one


Date:  Friday, July 11.

Batting stars:  Rick Sofield was 3-for-4 with a home run (his seventh) and two runs.  Rob Wilfong was 3-for-4 with a triple, a walk, and two runs.  Ken Landreaux was 2-for-5 with a home run (his fourth) and three RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Darrell Jackson struck out eight in 7.2 innings, giving up three runs on six hits and two walks.  Doug Corbett pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit.

Opposition stars:  Leon Roberts was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his seventh), a stolen base (his fifth), and a walk.  Larry Milbourne was 1-for-3 with a walk.

The game:  The Twins got a run in the first when Wilfong tripled and scored on a Landreaux single.  In the second Glenn Adams singled, was bunted to second, went to third on an error, and scored on a squeeze bunt (yes, Gene Mauch was the manager) to make it 2-0.

The Mariners loaded the bases with two out in the third but did not score.  It stayed 2-0 until the sixth, when Milbourne singled, Bruce Bochte hit an RBI double, and Roberts delivered a two-run homer, putting Seattle up 3-2.  The lead only held until the first batter of the seventh, when Sofield hit an inside-the-park home run to tie it 3-3.

The Twins took the lead back in the eighth, when Wilfong walked and Landreaux hit a two-run homer to make it 5-3.  They added one more in the ninth when Sofield singled, went to second on a ground out, and scored on a Wilfong single.  The Mariners got only one hit after their three-run sixth.

WP:  Jackson (7-4).  LP:  Glenn Abbott (7-4).  S:  Corbett (9).

Notes:  Pete Mackanin was at shortstop, replacing Roy Smalley, who was apparently out with a minor injury.  Mike Cubbage, who played third most of his career, was apparently part of a platoon at first base with Ron Jackson.  Glenn Adams was the DH as part of a platoon with Jose Morales.

Morales pinch-hit for Adams in the eighth and Jackson pinch-hit for Cubbage in the eighth.  Dave Edwards pinch-ran for Morales in the eighth.

Jackson was 5'10", 150 pounds.  Herb Carneal's partner at the time, Joe McConnell, used to refer to him as "the little lefthander".  This was by far the best season of his career--he went 9-9, 3.87, 1.34 WHIP.  He had injury troubles after that and never had a good year again.

The Twins really didn't have a bad rotation in 1980.  In addition to Jackson, they had Jerry Koosman (16-13, 4.03), Geoff Zahn (14-18, 4.41), and Roger Erickson (7-13, 3.25).  It's not the 1990s Braves, but it's not bad.  They struggled for a fifth starter, with Pete Redfern (5-5, 4.56) and Fernando Arroyo (6-6, 4.68) usually filling the role.  We think of the Twins not having any pitching at that time, or at least I do, but that's not an awful rotation at all.

They sure didn't have any power, though.  The team hit just ninety-nine home runs in 1980.  The team leaders was John Castino, with thirteen.  Smalley was the only other batter in double figures, with twelve.  Their cleanup batter in this game was Wynegar, who finished the season with five home runs.

I recall Sofield being fairly highly touted as a future star.  Obviously, it didn't happen.  He hit .328 with 27 homers in 1977 in Class A Visalia, but that was the only year he showed any power.  He was the Twins' starting right fielder in 1979 on the strength of a solid but not outstanding year in AA.  He was batting just .241 with an OPS of .582 (although with an OBP of .323) when he was sent down in mid-May.  He came back as a September call-up and batted .400 in 42 plate appearances.  He was again in the starting outfield in 1980, his only full season in the majors.  He batted .247 with an OPS of .661.  He was with the Twins as a reserve for most of 1981, but didn't hit.  The inside-the-park home run in this game may well have been the highlight of his career.

The Twins leading batter at this point of the season was Morales at .347.  He would finish at .303.  Adams was batting .315.  He would finish at .286.

This was the fourth game of a six-game winning streak for the Twins.

Record:  The Twins were 37-44, in fourth place in the American League West, 11.5 games behind Kansas City.  They would finish 77-84, in third place, 19.5 games behind Kansas City.

The Mariners were 35-47, in sixth place, fourteen games behind Kansas City.  They would finish 59-103, in seventh (last) place, thirty-eight games behind Kansas City.

1991 Rewind: Game Seventy-two


Date:  Wednesday, June 26.

Batting stars:  Chili Davis was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer (his eighteenth) and a double.  Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Carl Willis pitched four innings of relief, giving up one run on four hits and no walks and striking out four.  Terry Leach pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  David Wells pitched eight innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and a walk and striking out two.  Joe Carter was 4-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs.  Glenallen Hill was 3-for-4 with a double.  Devon White was 3-for-5 with a triple, a double, a stolen base (his eighteenth) and two runs.  Roberto Alomar was 2-for-4 with a triple, a walk, and two RBIs.

The game:  This time it was the Blue Jays who jumped out to an early lead.  White started the game with a double and stole third.  Alomar then tripled and Carter doubled, putting Toronto up 2-0 after the first three batters of the game.  Twins starter Mark Guthrie then settled down, and there was no more scoring until the fourth.  With two out Hill singled, White tripled, and Carter singled to make the score 4-0.

The Twins got a man to second base in the first, fourth, and fifth, but could not score.  The Blue Jays added one more run in the sixth.  Manny Lee singled, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on an Alomar single, increasing the lead to 5-0.

The Twins again got a man to second in the seventh and did not score.  They finally got on the board in the eighth when Knoblauch singled and Davis hit a two-out two-run homer.  After that, however, all the Twins could do is a single by Shane Mack in the ninth.  The score remained 5-2.

WP:  Wells (9-4).  LP:  Guthrie (5-4).  S:  Tom Henke (13).

Notes:  Gene Larkin was again at first base in place of Kent Hrbek.  Al Newman pinch-hit for Scott Leius in the ninth.  Randy Bush pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the ninth.  The pinch-hitters the Twins used had batting averages of .202 and .210, respectively.

Brian Harper was 0-for-4 and was batting .333.  Kirby Puckett was 0-for-3 with a walk and was batting .324.  Willis lowered his ERA to 3.03.  Leach's ERA went down to 3.26.

Guthrie allowed four runs in 3.2 innings on eight hits and two walks, striking out one.  His ERA was 5.66.

This was Guthrie's last start of the season.  He would be replaced in the rotation initially by Paul Abbott.  He would do much better out of the bullpen, going 2-1, 2.51, 1.37 WHIP with two saves in 43 innings (29 games).  He would make only two more starts in his major league career, both in 1994.  In his career as a starter, he was 13-18, 4.95, 1.52 WHIP.  As a reliever, he was 38-36, 3.75, 1.36 WHIP with 14 saves.

This was the second-longest stint of Willis' season to date, topped only by his 4.2 innings on April 23.  In August he would twice pitch five innings.  He would have a very good season, going 8-3, 2.63, 1.07 WHIP.  He would be about as good in 1992, going 7-3, 2.72, 1.06 WHIP.  He started to slip a little in 1993, although he was still pretty good.  After that he didn't get much accomplished, but from 1991-1993, he was a very effective relief pitcher.

This game is as good a place as any to declare the Twins' hot streak over.  It was a pretty good one, though.  From May 28 through June 25, the Twins won twenty-four out of twenty-seven.  They went from sixth place to first place.  They would not do that again, obviously, but they would continue to have winning months the rest of the season.

Record:  The Twins were 44-28, in first place in the American League West, 3.5 games ahead of California.

1991 Rewind: Game Sixty-seven


Date:  Friday, June 21.

Batting starsChuck Knoblauch was 3-for-4 with a double, a stolen base (his seventh), and two RBIs.  Dan Gladden was 3-for-5 with a home run (his fourth), a double, two runs, and two RBIs.  Shane Mack was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his fifth.

Pitching stars:  Mark Guthrie pitched seven innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on nine hits and a walk and striking out five.  Steve Bedrosian struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up two hits.  Rick Aguilera struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Carlos Rodriguez was 2-for-3.  Mel Hall was 2-for-4.  Don Mattingly was 2-for-5 with a two-run homer, his sixth.  Greg Cadaret pitched three shutout innings, giving up two hits and a walk and striking out two.

The game:  Gladden led off the game with a home run, giving the Twins a 1-0 lead.  Knoblauch followed with a double, but the Twins could do no more in the first inning.  The Yankees came back in the second.  Hall hit a one-out single, Alvaro Espinoza reached on an error, and RBI singles by Bob Geren and Rodriguez put the Yankees up 2-1.

The Twins got the lead back in the fourth.  They started the inning with consecutive singles by Chili DavisBrian Harper, and Mack, tying the score.  A pair of fly outs followed, but then came a double by Gladden and a single by Knoblauch to give the Twins a 5-2 advantage.

There was no more scoring until the seventh.  With two out, Steve Sax walked and Mattingly hit a two-run homer, cutting the margin to 5-4.  They threatened to take the lead in the eighth.  Pat Sheridan had a one-out single and Espinoza had a two-out single, putting men on first and third, but pinch-hitter Matt Nokes struck out to end the inning.  The Yankees went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Guthrie (5-3).  LP:  Scott Sanderson (7-3).  S:  Aguilera (18).

Notes:  The Twins went with a pretty standard lineup.  Al Newman pinch-hit for Mike Pagliarulo in the ninth and stayed in the game to play short.  Gene Larkin pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the ninth, with Scott Leius coming into the game at third base.  As you were going to put Leius in the game anyway, I don't know why you wouldn't rather use him as a pinch-hitter than Newman against the left-handed Greg Cadaret, but Newman walked, so I guess you can say it worked.

Harper went 1-for-4 and was batting .342.  Kirby Puckett was 1-for-4 and was batting .327.  Steve Bedrosian lowered his ERA to 3.47.  Aguilera's ERA fell to 2.88.

This was the only two-hit game Carlos Rodriguez had in 1991.  He was twenty-three that year, and wasn't ready yet.  He appeared in just 15 games and batted .189.  He was in the minors for two more years, then went to the Boston organization.  He was with the Red Sox for half of 1994 and batted .287/.330/.397 as a part-time player.  He got a September call-up in 1995 and batted .333/.394/.400.  Then, however, he had rotator cuff surgery and went into coaching.  He eventually did some more playing, too, appearing in twenty-four games in 1999 and playing regularly in the Mexican League from 2002-2003.  He currently owns "The Strike Zone", a youth baseball training facility in Winchester, Ohio.  If not for his injuries, he might have had a decent career.

The Twins had now won three in a row, eighteen of nineteen, and twenty-one of twenty-three.

Record:  The Twins were 41-26, in first place in the American League West, three games ahead of Oakland.

1991 Rewind: Game Sixty-six


Date:  Wednesday, June 19.

Batting stars:  Mike Pagliarulo was 2-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch.  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-5 with a double.  Chili Davis was 1-for-5 with a three-run homer, his sixteenth.

Pitching star:  Jack Morris pitched a complete game, giving up four runs on six hits and three walks and striking out six.

Opposition stars:  Jeff Robinson pitched 7.2 innings, giving up three runs on five hits and no walks and striking out five.  David Segui was 2-for-3.  Leo Gomez was 1-for-2 with a two-run homer (his third), two walks, and two runs.

The game:  The Twins again jumped out to an early lead with a two-out first inning rally.  Kirby Puckett was hit by a pitch, Hrbek singled, and Davis hit a three-run homer to give the Twins a 3-0 lead.  The Twins threatened to blow it open early, as in the second they put men on second and third with one out, but a short fly ball and a strikeout ended the threat.  The failure allowed the Orioles to get back into the game, as Joe Orsulak drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the second and Gomez followed with a two-run homer, cutting the lead to 3-2.

Baltimore threatened to tie it in the fifth, as Gomez led off with a walk and Segui singled, but a long fly out and a double play ended the threat.  The Orioles did more than threaten in the seventh.  With one out Orsulak singled and Gomez walked.  Consecutive RBI singles by Segui and Ernie Whitt put Baltimore ahead 4-3.  The score remained there through eight innings.

But in the ninth the Twins came back, with plenty of help from the Orioles.  They began the inning with singles by Brian HarperGene Larkin, and Pagliarulo to tie it 4-4.  With one out, a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, resulting in an intentional walk to Randy Bush.  A wild pitch-plus-error scored two runs and yet another wild pitch scored a third run, making the score 7-4.  Shane Mack then singled and scored from first on Puckett's single, making it 8-4.  Baltimore went down in order in the bottom of the ninth.

WP:  Morris (9-5).  LP:  Olson (0-3).  S:  None.

Notes:  Al Newman replaced Chuck Knoblauch at second base, and his .286 OBP was placed in the leadoff spot.  He went 0-for-4.  Mack was in left in place of Dan Gladden and batted second.  Pedro Munoz started in right.

The Twins made a bunch of changes in the ninth inning.  Gene Larkin pinch-hit for MunozKnoblauch then pinch-ran for Larkin and went to second base.  Gladden pinch-ran for Harper and stayed in the game in left field, with Mack moving to right.  Bush pinch-hit for Newman.

Harper was 1-for-4 and was batting .344.  Puckett was 1-for-4 and was batting .328.

As I go through Morris' games, I wonder if Tom Kelly was a little intimidated by him.  Maybe not, maybe Kelly just had that much confidence in him.  But Morris was allowed to stay in games much longer than any other pitcher would have been, even in 1991, and this is one example of that.  Morris had pitched well for six innings and the Twins led 3-2.  He struck out the first batter he faced, but then he gave up a hit.  Then he walked a batter.  His pitch count was approaching a hundred.  But he stayed in the game.  Then he gave up another hit, tying the score and putting men on first and third.  Still, he stayed in the game.  He gave up another hit, losing the lead.  Still, he stayed in the game.  He got a double play to end the inning, then cruised through the eighth and ninth.  The Twins came back and won, so it worked out, but there's no other pitcher who would've been allowed to stay in the game through the seventh inning.

This was Davis' seventh home run in June.  He would go on to hit ten in June, more than a third of his season total and twice as many as he would hit in any other month.  His other June numbers were not particularly outstanding--in June he batted .253/.345/.596, his season numbers were .277/.385/.507.  I don't know that we can contribute his June homers to anything but coincidence, but it's kind of interesting.

The Twins had now won seventeen of eighteen and twenty of twenty-two.

Record:  The Twins were 40-26, in first place in the American League West, 1.5 games ahead of Oakland.