Game 137: Seattle Mariners (55-82) @ Minnesota Twins (76-60)

Monday September 5, 1988

Frank Viola was on his game once again, this time shutting down the Mariners lineup. The only real drama in the first of a three game Metrodome series was whether either team would score.

For much of the first seven innings, Eric Hanson matched Viola batter for batter. Through seven innings, both teams had combined for just nine hits, four of which came at the expense of the Mariners’ pitcher. Viola had allowed five hits through seven innings, and had complied eight strikeouts along the way.

The deadlock was finally broken in the bottom of the eighth when the Twins managed to capitalize on an error charged to Rey Quinones to put two unearned runs on the board.

After retiring the first two batters he faced in the ninth, Viola issued a walk to Darnell Coles on four straight pitches. Though it Viola’s first walk of the game, Kelly had seen enough.

With one on and two outs in the ninth, Kelly figured it was the proper time. Viola, who hadn’t walked a man all day, had just thrown four straight balls to Darnell Coles. As Kelly summoned Jeff Reardon, the crowd went bonkers and booed the decision.

“The four pitches weren’t close to the strike zone,” Kelly said. “I thought we would try to come in with a fresh man.”

“I knew they weren’t booing me, that they wanted to see Frank finish,” Reardon said. “But it makes you want to crawl under the mound and let someone else pitch.”

The boos got worse after he threw three straight balls to Steve Balboni. But Balboni swung away on a 3-0 count and lined a bullet to Moses in left for out No. 3.

Reardon, who posted his 36th save, said he was surprised that Balboni swung away, figuring he would be taking with left-handed hitter Alvin Davis on deck.

“I threw a fastball and didn’t put a whole lot on it,” Reardon said. “Pretty stupid. He swung so —- hard, it took me by surprise. He hit the hell out of it. When Moses caught the ball, I was pretty happy.”

-Tom Powers, Pioneer Press 9/6/1988

Tom Kelly wasn’t happy with the error call, and made it clear that the official scorer left something to be desired.

Kelly was upset after the game, saying Gagne had been bearing the brunt of poor scoring decisions all year.

“One day we’ll get somebody up there who is qualified to keep score,” Kelly had said. “I’d like to see that Beebe come down and catch that ball that Gags hit. That’s a shame, just a shame.”

Scorer Bob Beebe fired back the next day:

Added Beebe: “And I thought he made a mistake taking Viola out on Monday,” referring to Kelly’s decision to replace Frank Viola with Jeff Reardon in the ninth inning.

Box

Player of the Game
Frank Viola

Team Name                        G    W    L    T   PCT    GB    RS   RA
Oakland Athletics              138   87   51    0  .630     -   683  531
Minnesota Twins                137   77   60    0  .562   9.5   659  579
Kansas City Royals             137   72   65    0  .526  14.5   611  546
California Angels              138   71   67    0  .514  16.0   636  650
Texas Rangers                  136   60   76    0  .441  26.0   541  635
Chicago White Sox              137   59   78    0  .431  27.5   547  674
Seattle Mariners               138   55   83    0  .399  32.0   570  662

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