MINNESOTA 8, TORONTO 5 IN TORONTO
Date: Sunday, October 13.
Batting stars: Kirby Puckett was 3-for-5 with a home run (his second), two runs, and two RBIs. Mike Pagliarulo was 2-for-4. Kent Hrbek was 2-for-5 with two RBIs. Shane Mack was 2-for-5 with a stolen base, his second.
Pitching stars: David West pitched three shutout innings, giving up only a walk and striking out one. Carl Willis pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. Rick Aguilera pitched a perfect inning, striking out one.
Opposition stars: Manny Lee was 2-for-3 with two runs. Roberto Alomar was 2-for-4 with a walk and three RBIs. Devon White was 2-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base, his third.
The game: Puckett homered in the first inning to give the Twins a 1-0 lead. In the second Chili Davis singled and went to second on a passed ball. Brian Harper reached on a strikeout/passed ball, with Davis going to third. Mack then delivered an RBI single to make it 2-0. A bunt moved the runners to second and third with one out, but the Twins could do no more damage, keeping the score 2-0.
Toronto came alive in the third. Lee led off with a single and White hit a one-out single. Alomar singled to drive in a run, Joe Carter tied it with a ground-rule double, and a third run scored on a ground out, putting the Blue Jays up 3-2. With two out in the fifth, Lee and Mookie Wilson singled and White walked, loading the bases. Alomar then hit a two-run single to put Toronto ahead 5-2.
It was not looking good for the Twins, and when they left the bases loaded in the sixth it looked worse. But they came back in the seventh. Mack singled, stole second, and went to third on Pagliarulo's single. With one out, Dan Gladden hit a grounder to third. The Blue Jay could've had Mack out at the plate, but an error on catcher Pat Borders allowed him to score and left men on first and second. Knoblauch then delivered a two-run double, tying the score 5-5.
With two on and nobody out in the eighth, Gladden singled and stole second. Knoblauch walked. Puckett singled to put the Twins ahead, an on a throw to the plate, the runners advanced to second and third. That cost Toronto, because Kent Hrbek hit a two-run single to put the Twins up 8-5. The Blue Jays did not advance a man past first after that, and the Twins advanced to the World Series.
WP: West (1-0). LP: Duane Ward (0-1). S: Aguilera (3).
Notes: The Twins made just one non-pitching substitution. Junior Ortiz went behind the plate in place of Harper in the ninth.
Kevin Tapani started and pitched just four innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and a walk and striking out four. The Twins bullpen came through again, pitching five shutout innings and allowing just two baserunners.
The Twins bullpen was amazing in this series. West pitched 5.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and four walks. Carl Willis pitched 5.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits. Aguilera pitched 3.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit. Mark Guthrie pitched 2.2 perfect innings. Steve Bedrosian pitched 1.1 innings and allowed two runs, but both were unearned. He allowed three hits and two walks. Twins starters pitched 27.1 innings and pitched to an ERA of 5.53. Twins relievers pitched 18.1 innings and pitched to an ERA of 0.00. The bullpen bailed out the starters game after game, and was really the MVP of the series.
The Twins stole eight bases in the series, going 8-for-12. Gladden had three, Knoblauch had two, Mack had two, and Davis had one.
Puckett led the team in batting, going .429/.435/.762. Pagliarulo batted .333/.333/.600. Knoblauch was .350/.435/.450. Mack was .333/.381/.500. Davis was at .294/.455/.412.
On the low side, Greg Gagne batted .235/.316/.235. Hrbek batted .143/.182/.143. Scott Leius, Gene Larkin, Junior Ortiz, and Paul Sorrento combined to go 0-for-11.
There was nothing for the Twins to do now but wait to see who they would play in the World Series. Pittsburgh and Atlanta were tied at two games apiece at this point.
Record: The Twins won the best-of-seven series four games to one.