History of Twins games with 21 or more hits
On Monday, the Minnesota Twins batted around the Baltimore Orioles for 21 hits, their most in a game in nearly three years.
It was — ironically — the 21st time since the franchise moved to Minnesota in 1961 that the Twins recorded 21 or more hits in a single contest.
With that in mind, we take a look back at each of these instances. Some names should be familiar, some forgotten and perhaps a few memories rekindled.
June 4, 2002 (23-2 win vs. Indians)
Minnesota was already leading 13-2 when it pounded out 10 runs in the seventh inning against Charles Nagy and Mark Wohlers. The Twins had nine of their 25 hits in that inning as every batter in the lineup got on base while Bobby Kielty had two doubles. Four Minnesota players had four-hit games — Jacque Jones, Dustan Mohr, A.J. Pierzynski and Luis Rivas, the latter scoring five runs and driving in five. Amazingly, the Twins got no production out of their shortstops as Denny Hocking was 0 for 2 and Christian Guzman 0 for 3, although both drew a walk.
May 25, 1977 (13-5 win at Red Sox)
In the first game of a doubleheader, Minnesota just consistently hit Boston pitching. The Twins led just 3-2 after five innings then tacked on two in the sixth, four in the seventh, one in the eighth and three in the ninth. Thirteen Twins got in the batter’s box and 12 got a hit — starting second baseman Rob Wilfong was 0 for 3 and was hit for by Willie Norwood, who singled to up his average to .125. Rod Carew led the way with five hits while Larry Hisle — batting leadoff — was 3 for 6 with five RBI. In the second game of the day, the Twins had 11 hits in a 9-4 win.
Sept. 29, 1989 (10-7 win at Mariners)
This one makes the list only because the game went extra innings. Tied at 7, Minnesota got two hits in the 10th inning but a double play and caught stealing extended the game. In the 11th, the Twins accumulated six hits in scoring three runs leading to an eventual victory. Mariners reliever Mike Schooler gave up all eight of those hits in just 1 2/3 innings. Seven Twins had a multiple-hit game, led by Dan Gladden’s 5 for 5 day (the only time in his career he’d have five hits in a game). Kent Hrbek went 4 for 5 and was removed for pinch runner John Moses, who would deliver an RBI single in the 11th.
June 6, 1994 (9-8 win at Tigers)
Detroit used six pitchers in this game and none could slow down the Twins. All nine starters had a hit and eight had multiple hits. Even Chip Hale, a late replacement, went 2 for 2. Minnesota had seven hits in a six-run second inning and six hits in a six-run third, including back-to-back homers by Pedro Munoz and Scott Leius. Alex Cole led the way with four hits while Munoz, Leuis and Derek Parks had three apiece (Munoz also had seven RBI).
July 8, 1978 (9-8 win at A’s)
This is the only time the Twins didn’t score in double digits while accumulating 21 or more hits. And, again, Minnesota needed to get to 11 innings to get that many hits, adding two in the 10th inning and two more in the 11th. Once again, every starter had at least one hit with Roy Smalley and Willie Norwood each chipping in four. The Twins left 13 men on base in this contest.
July 4, 1997 (13-1 win at Brewers)
Eight of the nine Minnesota starters in this one had at least two hits, with Terry Steinbach going 4 for 4 and Greg Colbrunn 4 for 6. The score could have been much worse as the Twins left 14 men on base and “only” had three hits in the final two innings.
June 19, 2003 (16-2 win at Royals)
Minnesota compiled seven of its hits during a seven-run fifth inning. Every starter but one — sorry, Dustan Mohr (0 for 5) — had a hit. Cristian Guzman was 4 for 6 with four runs while Corey Koskie went 4 for 5 with two home runs and six RBI. Three other Twins — Jacque Jones, Torii Hunter (who was pulled from the game early) and Doug Mientkiewicz had three hits.
Aug. 3, 2014 (16-3 win at White Sox)
Minnesota led 4-3 when it exploded for nine runs on nine hits in the eighth inning. Danny Santana had a triple and a single in the inning. The Twins made it over the 20-hit mark in the ninth with five more hits, including back-to-back-to-back home runs by Chris Parmelee, Oswaldo Arcia and Eric Fryer. Santana led the way with five hits as eight players had multiple-hit games. For Chicago, interestingly no pitcher allowed more than five hits.
Sept. 5, 1976 (18-1 win vs. White Sox)
Every starter for Minnesota had at least one hit — and eight had at least two hits (Tony Oliva was 1 for 3 but was pinch-run for and his sub, Jerry Terrell, also went 1 for 3) the Twins teed off against Bart Johnson (10 hits), Pete Vuckovich (3), Jesse Jefferson (8) and Larry Monroe (1). Nine of Minnesota’s hits came in a 10-run fifth inning — Rod Carew singling twice in the frame. Carew led the way with four hits while Mike Cubbage had three.
Sept. 9, 1980 (15-2 win vs. Brewers)
Minnesota had 14 of its 22 hits in the fourth and sixth innings, when the Twins scored six times in each frame. Eight players had multiple-hit games, led by Roy Smalley, who was 4 for 5. The only starter to not get a hit was Glenn Adams, who was 0 for 2 before being hit for by Jose Morales — who ended up 2 for 3. The only player with more than two RBI for Minnesota in this game was Roy Jackson, who had three on a bases-loaded pinch-hit double, his only at-bat of the game.
May 10, 1993 (13-3 win at Angels)
The bottom of Minnesota’s lineup packed a mean punch on this day as the Nos. 7-9 hitters compbined for 10 hits. Shane Mack had four while Mike Pagliarulo and Pat Meares each had three, with Mack and Pags both hitting their first homers of the season. Not that anyone else didn’t contribute — every starter plus sub Terry Jorgensen had a hit and cleanup hitter Dave Winfield had four. Current Red Sox manager John Farrell was tagged for 11 hits and six runs in 3 2/3 innings.
May 20, 1994 (21-2 win vs. Red Sox)
In the fifth inning, Minnesota had 10 hits — eight of which came with two outs — and scored 11 runs. Interestingly, 10 different players had hits for the Twins as Minnesota pinch-hit for Chuck Knoblauch, Kirby Puckett and Dave Winfield after taking a 14-run lead. Puckett finished 3 for 3 with seven RBI. Only Matt Walbeck (3 for 4) had as many hits as Minnesota really spread the offense around. The pitching line for Boston’s Greg Harris? Seven hits and six runs while retiring just one batter. Oof.
April 13, 1998 (13-12 loss at Devil Rays)
It’s not easy to lose a game when you have 22 hits, but consider the Rays (yes, they were called the Devil Rays back then) had 19 hits. Matt Lawton was 4 for 8 and Terry Steinbach 4 for 4 before leaving for a pinch runner. Poor Marty Cordova wore an 0 for 6 collar. The immortal Bob Smith of Tampa Bay also had four hits and homered in the 14th inning to win the game. Minnesota compiled all 22 of its hits in the regulation nine, set down 1-2-3 in every extra inning. Now that’s a tough loss.
Aug. 6, 2006 (11-5 win at Royals)
A seven-hit, five-run eighth inning helped put the Twins over the 20-hit plateau and open up a close game (it had been 6-5). Six Minnesota players had three hits or more while two — Nick Punto and Josh Rabe — went 0 for 5. Jason Bartlett had a career-best five hits (he was 5 for 5) and Jason Tyner went 4 for 5 while Luis Castillo, Mike Redmond, Michael Cuddyer and Torii Hunter each had three hits.
May 13, 2007 (16-4 win vs. Tigers)
Minnesota scored in every inning but the second (and ninth, when the Twins didn’t bat) and all 11 players who stepped to the plate had a hit. Five Twins — Luis Castillo, Michael Cuddyer, Jusitn Morneau, Torii Hunter and Jason Kubel — each had three hits. Hunter hit two homers and drove in seven.
Aug. 10, 1984 (13-7 win at Mariners)
The Twins needed the offensive breakout in this one, jumping out to a 7-0 lead only to see Seattle score six times in the fifth inning. Tim Teufel hit two home runs, his second, which came leading off the eighth inning, was Minnesota’s 20th hit of the game. All nine Twins had a hit with Tim Launder leading the way going 4 for 6. Eight players had at least one RBI (all except shortstop Houston Jimenez) and eight scored a run (Tom Brunansky didn’t touch home).
April 24, 1997 (12-11 loss at A’s)
This was the first time Minnesota lost a game when it had 21 or more hits and like the other it occurred in extra innings. Trailing 9-4, the Twins scored seven times in the eighth inning on six hits. Oakland tied the game in the ninth on a pair of home runs. The Twins would eclipse the 20-hit mark in the 10th inning with two singles, but Pat Meares would hit into a double play with the bases full to end the inning. The A’s, who would have 19 hits, would win the game in the 11th on a wild pitch. For Minnesota, Rich Becker, Matt Lawton, Greg Colbrunn and Meares would each tally three hits.
Sept. 14, 1997 (11-1 win at Rangers)
Minnesota knocked Texas starter Bobby Witt out of the box early. With one out, the Twins put together three straight singles, another single, a three-run homer by Todd Walker and finally one more single before Witt hit the showers. His replacement, Julio Santana, would allow the inning’s seventh hit and he, too, would allow six hits, although over 3 2/3 innings. Pat Meares led the way with four hits while rookie David Ortiz hit his first major-league homer.
June 6, 1999 (13-6 win vs. Astros)
Minnesota paced things out a bit in this one, scoring no more than four runs in a single inning. Every starter had two or more hits, with Todd Walker, Denny Hocking and Javier Valentin each collecting three. Cleanup hitter Marty Cordova was subbed out in the field in the eighth inning by a kid who made his major-league debut — Torii Hunter.
July 6, 2007 (20-14 win at White Sox)
This one could properly be termed a slugfest. Both teams posted runs in seven of the nine innings. Chicago nearly matched Minnesota’s hit total, getting 18. The Twins pasted White Sox starter Jon Garland for 12 runs on 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings as Torii Hunter homered and Jason Kubel hit a grand slam. Joe Mauer led Minnesota’s hit parade going 4 for 6 with four runs and five RBI. The Twins kept their hitting shoes on for Game 2, knocking out 15 hits in a 12-0 win in the doubleheader nightcap.
May 22, 2017 (14-7 win at Orioles)
Minnesota’s latest game with 21 or more hits was unlike most of the others in that the Twins staged a comeback, down 5-0 to Baltimore early in the game. The Twins got 10 of their hits in the fifth and sixth innings (five each inning). All nine players in the lineup had at least one hit, with both Miguel Sano and Jorge Polanco notching the first four-hit game of their careers.