GOTW: 7.18.1990 – Minnesota Twins (43-47) @ Boston Red Sox (48-40)

Wednesday July 18, 1990

This was the rubber-game of a three game series. The two teams made some history in the previous game when the Twins turned two triple plays in the 1-0 Red Sox win.

Though the two teams split the first two games of the series, they were headed in completely different directions. The Twins, who had won the World Series just four years ago, were already thinking ahead to 1991. A 43-47 record wasn’t too bad on its face, but the A’s and White Sox had long since run away and hid with the division lead, and the Twins were 13.5 games out of first.

The Red Sox, on the other hand, were on top of the AL East by the slimmest of margins. Their victory over the Twins in game two of the series helped them leap frog Toronto, though the lead was only by half a game.

   Minnesota Twins               Boston Red Sox                       
1. D Gladden            LF    1. W Boggs              3B
2. S Mack               RF    2. J Reed               2B
3. K Puckett            CF    3. C Quintana           1B
4. K Hrbek              1B    4. T Brunansky          RF
5. G Gaetti             3B    5. E Burks              DH
6. B Harper             DH    6. M Greenwell          LF
7. F Manrique           2B    7. T Pena               C
8. J Ortiz              C     8. K Romine             CF
9. A Newman             SS    9. T Naehring           SS 

   D West               P        M Boddicker          P

The Twins struck right away against Mike Boddicker when the second batter of the game, Shane Mack, hit a home run to the opposite field. Any hope of a crooked number in the first was dashed when Kent Hrbek lined into a double play, an occurrence that would become unusually familiar before the game was over.

A Wade Boggs lead off single in the Boston half of the first was erased by a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Jody Reed. With two on in the second, Kevin Romine grounded into a double play. In the third it was Carlos Quintana, in the fourth Romine again, and Mike Greenwell did it in the fifth. In fact, the Red Sox had nine base runners in the first four innings but failed to score.

By the middle of the fifth inning, the Twins had run their lead to 4-0 on a Kent Hrbek two-run shot in the third and an Al Newman RBI single in the fourth. Newman sounded downright sabermetric after the game in the Star Tribune (quoted by Jeff Lenihan):

“Turning a lot of double and triple plays is great,” said Al Newman … “But that also means you’re putting a lot of people on base. Our pitchers did a good job of getting the ground balls for most of the night, but eventually that catches up with you.”

It caught up with the Twins in the fifth. The Red Sox tied the game with help from a Tim Naehring solo home run, and Ellis Burks RBI single, and the big blow: a Tom Brunansky 2 RBI triple. By the time David West left the game with just one out in the inning, he was credited with four earned runs on nine Red Sox hits. He also walked two, and had two reach on fielding errors, allowing a grand total of 13 base runners in 4 1/3 innings (with only nine batters recording outs thanks to the double plays).

Juan Berenguer came on and held the Sox for a while, but wasn’t able to prevent the go-ahead run from scoring in the bottom of the seventh when Quintana singled home Boggs.

Despite recording their sixth double play of the game, tying the AL mark at the time, the Twins were not able to overcome the deficit. Red Sox reliever Jeff Reardon got out of some trouble in the ninth with the help of, you guessed it, a double play.

All told, there were 10 double plays recorded in the game, a new major league record that still stands today.

Box

Stars of the Game
1. Double Plays (10 of them)
2. Tom Brunansky BOS (2-2, Triple, R, 2 RBI)
3. Dennis Lamp BOS (W, 3 1/3 IP, 0 H, 2 K)

The series win helped the Red Sox, who eventually went on the win the AL East by two games. The Twins finished 1990 in the AL West cellar, but would turn things around the following year.

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