1991: Erickson’s Streak Begins

From Hot Stove 1991 a couple of years ago:

Sunday April 21, 1991

At long last the Twins finally had a taste of success on the road.

Tom Kelly, as promised, mixed the lineup a bit for the final game of the road trip. Despite several new faces, it was the familiar who got things going for the Twins.

Kirby Puckett set the tone when he knocked a Mark Langston pitch out of the park in the top of the first inning. Puckett’s solo shot was bettered by Chili Davis in the third inning when he hit a two-run home run to give the Twins a 3-0 lead.

The Angels used four hits and a passed ball by Scott Erickson to tie the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth. That’s how the score stayed until the top of the eighth inning.

Davis led off with a single, but was forced out by Kent Hrbek. With Hrbek at second and one out, Kelly called for a hit-and-run.

Trying to create offense, Twins manager Tom Kelly called for a hit-and-run, but reliever Mark Eichhorn’s pitch was so far out of the strike zone, catcher Ortiz didn’t even try to hit it.

“I just said screw it and let’s see what happens,” Ortiz said.

What happened was Hrbek was a sitting duck between first and second. But catcher John Orton couldn’t get the ball out of his glove, allowing Hrbek to reach second with a stolen base.

Later in the at-bat, Junior Ortiz blooped a single to right. The hit would likely not have scored Hrbek had Angels’ right fielder Max Venable not bobbled the ball. Hrbek took advantage of the extra time to score the go ahead run.

“Mr. Hrbek devastated the catcher with his speed on the bases,” Kelly said. “Then Mr. Venable must have gotten nervous about his stolen base. Herbie showed off his multitalented base running.”

Larry Casian and Rick Aguilera combined for an inning and two-thirds of scoreless relief to seal the win for Scott Erickson and the Twins, who sorely needed a positive in the midst of a horrible start to the 1991 season.

Box

The win was the start of something special for Erickson. This win marked the start of a 12-game winning streak. I think Erickson’s streak, along with the Twins’ winning streak in June of that year is what cemented baseball as my favorite sport.

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