October 12, 1991
ALCS, Game Four
Twins Lead Series, 2-1
Twins: Dan Gladden (LF), Chuck Knoblauch (2B), Kirby Puckett (CF), Kent Hrbek (1B), Chili Davis (DH), Brian Harper (C), Shane Mack (RF), Mike Pagliarulo (3B), Greg Gagne (SS), Jack Morris (P)
This game had a bit of a different feel. Partially because Joe Carter was hobbling around on a bum ankle, which allowed the 35-year old Mookie Wilson to make the penultimate start of his career, but also because, from the very start, the Toronto crowd was completely and utterly out of the game. It's as if they knew that, with their best hitter more or less neutralized and the emotional carryover from the Mike Pagliarulo home run the night before, the Twins would win Game Four. That would mean a 3-1 series lead and, in all likelihood, an eventual series loss.
Todd Stoddlemyre was the third overall pick in the 1985 draft (the June phase - his brother, Mel, who isn't to be confused with their father, Mel, was picked third overall in the '85 Januarary phase), and turned in a pretty decent career. He peaked in his early 30s but in 1991, at age 26, he had the best season of his 20s. Known for command of his fastball and breaking balls, he won a career-high 15 games.
Pat Borders opened the scoring with a single off of Jack Morris in the bottom of the second,but Morris stymied the rally. Devon White and Roberto Alomar scored one-out singles in the third and successfully pulled off a double steal, but Morris kept the game at 1-0.
The Twins answered with multiple runs in the top of the fourth. Kirby Puckett led off the inning with a home run that even White couldn't bring back. Pagliarulo drove in Chili Davis, who had doubled, with two away. Stottlemyre beaned Greg Gagne, and then Dan Gladden came through with a two-run single that chased the Toronto starter.
Gladden broke through with three hits and two RBI in this game, a marked change as he'd been 0-for-13 since starting Game One with a pair of singles. Similiarly, Puckett had been perfectly average in the playoffs until this game, where he also collected three hits including the fourth-inning homer.
Pagliarulo made a nice diving stop on a Roberto Alomar liner with one on in the bottom of the fifth, and turned around in the top of the sixth to chase David Wells with a run-scoring double. He later scored on another Gladden single, to give the Twins a 6-1 advantage.
Morris gave up an inconsequential run in the sixth, but Puckett and Brian Harper each picked up an RBI against Mike Timlin to make it 8-2 after eight. Alomar and Shane Mack each drove in a run in the ninth, and 9-3 was the final score.
It was a relatively easy victory for the Twins, and about as low-stress of a playoff game as you could ask for. Morris was efficient, allowing two runs off of nine hits and a walk. Gladden, Puckett, and Pagliarulo were the big offensive stars.
One more win, and Minnesota would be onto their second World Series five years.