Twins' big bats nearly silent in dome

American League notes

October 10, 1991|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Sun Staff Correspondent

MINNEAPOLIS -- The cozy Metrodome is supposed to be a hitter's dream and a pitcher's nightmare, but the Minnesota Twins were not able to turn it to their advantage in the first two games of the American League Championship Series.

The heart of the Minnesota lineup was largely silent, but for a two-run single by Chili Davis Tuesday and a run-scoring hit by Kirby Puckett yesterday. Davis, Puckett and Kent Hrbek -- the top three run producers in the Twins lineup -- are a combined 3-for-20.

Meanwhile, leadoff man Dan Gladden and No. 2 hitter Chuck Knoblauch combined for a .529 on-base percentage, which put the Twins in position to take some serious shots at the Blue Jays pitching staff. But the "Homerdome" did not play host to a single homer from either team.

Knoblauch continues to show why he is the front-runner for American League Rookie of the Year honors. He has reached base six times in his first eight postseason plate appearances.

"He's doing a great job," Twins manager Tom Kelly said. "He's been playing pretty much the way he played the whole season. He's getting on base, scoring some runs. He's making some things happen for us. We need to get a couple of hitters going in the middle so we can get a little more production."

Gladden singled in his first two at-bats on Tuesday, but ended a nine-game playoff hitting streak with an 0-for-3 performance yesterday.

Ward, Henke share closer role

Blue Jays saves leader Tom Henke played the setup man yesterday, pitching 1 1/3 hitless innings before Duane Ward came on to work the eighth and ninth. But they won't necessarily work in that order throughout the playoffs.

Henke has been bothered by tendinitis in his right shoulder, which has limited his activity the past few weeks. But manager Cito Gaston said he could come back in a save situation if his condition continues to improve.

"That's something [Gaston] has talked to us about," said Ward, who gave up one hit over two innings to get the save yesterday. "On Monday, he called both of us into his office and talked about that. We use everybody in our bullpen to win. There is no animosity between Tom and I. We have a friendly competition

between us."

Alomar's folly revisited

People were still talking about the fourth-inning play on Tuesday night when Roberto Alomar was thrown out at the plate on a no-out double by Joe Carter. But in retrospect, the out may have been unavoidable.

Alomar had slowed up at second base to make sure that the ball pTC wasn't caught in right-center field, so Carter was bearing down on him when he rounded third.

If third-base coach Rich Hacker had tried to hold Alomar at third Carter might well have been caught between second and third on the cutoff. Either way, the Blue Jays would have had a runner at third and one out.

Signs of the times

Scott Erickson, a 20-game winner for the Twins, said yesterday that he suspects the Blue Jays of stealing signs from second base.

"I think they did it against me in Toronto, and I think they did it against Jack [Morris] last night," he said.

Guzman facts

Toronto Blue Jays starter Jose Guzman was the first Blue Jays rookie ever to start a postseason game. He was trying to become the first rookie starter to win an ALCS game since Mike Boddicker beat the Chicago White Sox in the second game of the 1983 playoffs. Guzman also was the first Dominican-born player to start an ALCS game. Four Dominican pitchers -- Juan Marichal, Pascual Perez, Joaquin Andujar and Jose Rijo -- have started National League playoff games.

Pre-game stuff

Seven-year-old Dawn L. of the Rocking Hollywoods belted out an impressive version of "The Star-Spangled Banner." The Canadian anthem was performed by the Nylons, whose jazzy improvisation of "O' Canada" threatened to create an international incident . . . Former Twins infielder Roy Smalley, now the executive director of the International Special Olympics, threw out the first ball.


When Rance Mulliniks walked to lead off the fourth inning, it was the first walk accepted by a Blue Jays hitter in playoff action in 23 innings, dating to a walk accepted by Lloyd Moseby in Game 4 of the 1989 ALCS . . . Twins SS Greg Gagne has hit safely in 6 straight ALCS games . . . Joe Carter's sacrifice fly in the seventh inning broke a string of 20 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings by ALCS relievers, dating to a ninth-inning run allowed by Jeff Reardon in the second game of the 1990 playoffs.

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