October 11, 2002
ALCS, Game Three
Series Tied, 1-1
Eric Milton was tasked with leading the Twins up against the Angels and their Rally Monkeys in Anaheim, and after his performance against Tim Hudson in the ALDS there was the palpable feeling that he would rise to the challenge. Ron Gardenhire also went with Dustan Mohr in right field; he'd played in four of the five games in the ALDS and had appeared in the first two games of the ALCS as well. 2002 would be the only post-season experience for Mohr in his career, and he can certainly boast success: 7-for-14 with two doubles and four runs scored.
Jarrod Washburn, like Ramon Ortiz before him, also had the best year of his career in 2002. He posted career-best marks to date in ERA (3.15), innings pitched (206), WHIP (1.18), strikeouts (139), and wins (18), leading to a fourth-place finish for the AL Cy Young.
Washburn would turn away the Twins in the first after they had moved Cristian Guzman to third base, and it would be the Angels drawing first blood with a big Garrett Anderson home run leading off the bottom of the second inning. Minnesota would strand runners in scoring position again in the fourth and fifth innings, but they finally found a way to break through in the seventh. Following Mohr's leadoff single, Jacque Jones' doubled tied the game by bringing Mohr all the way around from first base.
With a tie game heading into the bottom of the seventh, LaTroy Hawkins relieved Milton, who had held the Angels to just the one run off of five hits. Bengie Molina worked a walk and was replaced on first base by Chone Figgins, who eventually paired with David Eckstein for runners on the corners with one out. Figgins didn't try to score on Johan Santana's wild pitch - he was more aggressive when Darin Erstad grounded to Luis Rivas at second base. But Rivas made a great decision and went home, nailing Figgins and making up for not catching Eckstein's line drive.
Remember 20-year old Francisco Rodriguez? He'd somehow made the post-season roster in spite of pitching just 5.2 September innings. Of those 17 outs, 13 were strikeouts. He was that electric. He got Corey Koskie looking, David Ortiz swinging, and Torii Hunter flew out to Anderson in left field.
J.C. Romero had gotten the Twins out of the seventh, leaving the bases loaded. But on a 3-1 pitch to Troy Glaus in the bottom of the ninth he wasn't as good. Glaus took Romero deep, giving Anaheim a 2-1 lead. Naturally, Minnesota couldn't get even a sniff of a base runner off of Troy Percival in the ninth.
It was a fantastic ballgame, with both Milton and Washburn looking in control for most of the game. The Twins couldn't pull this one out, but the damn Angels earned this one.
Also in the 2002 ALCS: