Minnesota Twins Manager Tom Kelly was thrilled with his team’s 90th victory, but as a one-time interim manager himself, he said he felt compassion for Moose Stubing, his Angel counterpart.
The Twins reached the 90-win plateau for the first time since 1970 at the expense of the Angels, whose 10-5 loss Saturday night was their club record-tying 11th defeat in a row, and their 7th since Stubing succeeded Cookie Rojas.
“They’re playing fairly well,” Kelly said. “I know they’re losing. But they’re playing with some enthusiasm. They’re fighting. They came back a couple times tonight to tie it. It’s not like they’re just rolling over.”
Stubing said, “We made a run at Kansas City” for third place in the American League West “and then hit hard times.” The Angels were 75-75 before the losing streak.
“We hate to lose, but you fall into the trap of waiting for someone else to do something,” Stubing said.
Stubing said the Angels “will try to win, and we’ll use everybody on the staff if we have to” in today’s season finale in order to avoid breaking the club record for consecutive losses, set in 1974.
Gene Larkin, Tim Laudner and Steve Lombardozzi hit run-scoring doubles in a 4-run fifth inning for the Twins.
Larkin said reaching 90 victories “just shows that we did have a very good season, that we were consistent.”
The Twins won 85 games in taking the AL West last season. They went on to win the World Series with the fewest victories for a champion.
Kirby Puckett also hit a home run for Minnesota. He has 121 RBIs, the most for the Twins since Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew’s 140 in 1969. “That’s an honor to even be put in the same category as a guy like Harmon Killebrew,” Puckett said. “It’s been a good season for me and for the team.”
Even though they improved on last season’s victory total, the Twins have been replaced as AL West champions by the Oakland Athletics.
Charlie Lea (7-7) allowed 8 hits in 5 innings for his first victory in 9 starts since July 15. Les Straker pitched 3 innings of 2-hit relief for his first major league save.
For the Angels, Dan Petry (3-9) finished the season winless in 9 starts since June 10. He gave up 8 hits and 7 runs in 4 innings.
The Angels’ Jack Howell had 4 hits, including his 16th homer.
Minnesota drew 52,625, raising its total to 2,994,720 and should go over 3 million today.