ATLANTA 14, MINNESOTA 5 IN ATLANTA
Date: Thursday, October 24.
Batting stars: Al Newman was 1-for-1 with a triple. Scott Leius was 1-for-2 with a walk. Chuck Knoblauch was 1-for-3 with a walk.
Pitching stars: None.
Opposition stars: Ron Gant was 3-for-4 with a triple, a walk, and three runs. Greg Olson was 3-for-5 with a stolen base, his second. Brian Hunter was 2-for-2 with a home run (his second), two runs, and two RBIs. Mark Lemke was 2-for-4 with two triples, a walk, two runs, and three RBIs. Terry Pendleton was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and three runs. Rafael Belliard was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. David Justice was 2-for-5 with a home run (his second), a stolen base (his second), two runs, and five RBIs. Lonnie Smith was 1-for-5 with a home run, his third.
The game: It was scoreless for three innings, but that was shattered in the fourth. Gant led off with a single and Justice hit a two-run homer. Olson got a one-out single, Lemke tripled him home, and Belliard had an RBI double, making the score 4-0 Braves. They added a run in the fifth when Pendleton and Gant singled and Justice had an RBI ground out.
The Twins rallied in the sixth. With one out Knoblauch walked, Kirby Puckett singled, and Chili Davis walked, loading the bases. Brian Harper and Leius each drew a bases-loaded walk, cutting the margin to 5-2. A big hit would've gotten the Twins right back into the game, but all they could manage was a pair of ground outs. One of them did score a run, making the score 5-3.
That was the end of the good news, though. Atlanta put it out of reach with six in the seventh. Smith homered, Justice and Hunter had RBI singles, Lemke drove in two with another triple, and Belliard had an RBI double, making the score 11-3. The Twins got one back in the eighth, when Davis singled and scored on Newman's triple. In the bottom of the eighth, however, Pendleton doubled, Gant tripled, and Hunter homered, bringing the score to 14-4. The Twins got the final run of the game in the ninth when Dan Gladden tripled and scored on a ground out.
WP: Tom Glavine (1-3). LP: Kevin Tapani (1-2). S: None.
Notes: With no DH, Davis was in right field, with Shane Mack on the bench.
The Twins again made substantial use of the bench. Gene Larkin pinch-hit for Tapani in the fifth. Mike Pagliarulo pinch-hit for Terry Leach in the seventh. Also in the seventh, Al Newman went to second base as part of a double switch that took Knoblauch out of the game. Jarvis Brown pinch-hit for Puckett in the eighth, as Tom Kelly conceded the game. Also in the eighth, Randy Bush pinch-hit for Harper and Paul Sorrento pinch-hit for Kent Hrbek. Junior Ortiz came in to catch in the eighth, as Davis left the game as part of a double switch. Sorrento went to first base, Brown went to center, and Bush went to right.
Tapani pitched four innings, allowing four runs on six hits and two walks and striking out four. Atlanta starter Glavine pitched 5.1 innings, giving up three runs on four hits and four walks and striking out two.
The decision to put Davis in the outfield was much debated at the time, and is still a questionable move. He had played only three innings of outfield all season, and all were in blowout games. It seems like a desperation move, and the Twins weren't in a position where they needed to make a desperation move. Did it make a difference in the outcome? Probably not, although we'll never know for sure. I seem to remember him misplaying one ball in the outfield, but I can't tell from the printed play-by-play when it happened or whether it would've made any difference.
The Twins bullpen pretty much melted down in this game. Leach gave up one run in two innings, David West gave up four runs and didn't retire anyone, Steve Bedrosian gave up two runs in one inning, and Carl Willis allowed three runs in one inning. The Twins were still in the game until the seventh inning, so if the bullpen had come through, the outcome might have been different. Of course, if either Hrbek or Greg Gagne could have come up with a hit in the sixth, when the Twins were rallying, the outcome might have been different, too.
There were five triples hit in this game. I wonder what the record is for most triples in a World Series game. My guess is that it was set back in the dead ball era, but I really have no idea.
Mark Lemke was now 7-for-15 with three triples and a double in the series.
So the Twins would head back to Minnesota, with the Braves needing to win just one of two there to take the Series. The Twins had lost two tough games, but now had been blown out and pretty much embarrassed. Could the Twins rally? Would someone step up and take the burden of leadership? We'll see.
Record: The Twins trailed the best-of-seven series two games to three.