ATLANTA 3, MINNESOTA 2 IN ATLANTA
Date: Wednesday, October 23.
Batting stars: Mike Pagliarulo was 3-for-3 with a home run (his second) and two RBIs. Brian Harper was 2-for-4 with a double.
Pitching star: Jack Morris pitched six innings, giving up one run on six hits and three walks and striking out four.
Opposition stars: John Smoltz struck out seven in seven innings, giving up two runs on seven hits no walks. Mark Lemke was 3-for-4 with a triple and double. Terry Pendleton was 2-for-4 with a home run and a double. Lonnie Smith was 2-for-4 with a home run and a stolen base, his second.
The game: Chuck Knoblauch hit a one-out double in the first, but nothing came of it. In the second Harper led off with a double and Pagliarulo had a one-out RBI single to put the Twins up 1-0.
The Braves put two on with two out in the second but did not score. They tied it in the third when Pendleton hit a two-out homer. They put men on first and third later in the inning, but the score remained 1-1. The Twins missed a chance in the fourth when, with men on first and third, Shane Mack was thrown out at the plate on a double steal. Atlanta missed a chance in the fifth when they got two runners thrown out at the plate (not on the same play).
The Twins took the lead in the seventh when Pagliarulo hit a one-out homer. It didn't last long, though, as Smith hit a two-out homer in the bottom of the seventh to tie it 2-2.
The Twins did not get a hit after that. With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Lemke tripled, Jeff Blauser was intentionally walked, and Jerry Willard hit a sacrifice fly to right to end the game.
WP: Mike Stanton (1-0). LP: Mark Guthrie (1-1). S: None.
Notes: With no DH, Chili Davis was again out of the lineup.
Gene Larkin pinch-hit for Morris with two out and none on in the seventh, no doubt much to Morris' consternation. He had thrown 94 pitches. Scott Leius pinch-hit for Pagliarulo in the ninth and stayed in the game at third base. Al Newman came in to play third as part of a double switch later in the ninth inning.
The double steal in the fourth becomes more understandable when you realize that the Twins had Greg Gagne up to bat and Morris on deck. They weren't going to pinch-hit for Morris in the fourth inning, so it really becomes a question of how confident you are that Gagne can drive in the run. With one out, of course, it didn't necessarily take a hit, but it's also not like Gagne was a big RBI man. As it happened, Gagne struck out. It's hard to know, this many years later, whether the double steal was the right move, but it's not an obviously wrong one.
Mark Lemke was 5-for-12 with a triple and a double so far in the series. For the season he batted .234/.305/.312. He hadn't even started the first game, as Jeff Treadway played second base. But, as they say, that's baseball.
The Twins bullpen, which had been so strong, let them down in this game. Not horribly, but enough. Carl Willis gave up just one hit, but it was the home run to Smith to tie the game. Guthrie gave up just one hit as well, but it was the triple to Lemke that ultimately led to the deciding run.
The series was now even and would definitely go back to Minnesota. Would the Twins return home one game ahead or one game behind?
Record: The Twins were 2-2 in the best-of-seven series.