October 13, 2002
ALCS, Game Five
Angels Lead Series, 3-1
In Game One, Joe Mays had outlasted and out-pitched the veteran Kevin Appier. While Mays wasn't as good as he was on that night, he still wasn't bad. Appier was more or less the same. The big difference tonight was in the bullpens.
Through the top of the fifth, win expectancy actually had the Twins taking Game Five. David Ortiz and A.J. Pierzynski drove in runs in the first and second inning respectively, giving Minnesota a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the third. At that point Adam Kennedy led off the bottom of the third with a home run. Many of you will remember that it wouldn't be his last in this game, but for the moment it was a 2-1 game.
Entering the bottom of the fifth, Mays had allowed just one run off of four hits. 11 of his 15 balls in play were grounders, and while the Angels had been aggressive early in their at-bats the results had come out in Mays' favor. It turns out they'd been aggressive because they liked what they saw. That inning, the fifth, saw both Scott Spiezio and Kennedy, again, go yard. Luckily they were both solo shots, since every other ball that inning was a groundout, but the runs did give Anaheim a 3-2 advantage.
The Twins got their lead back in the seventh, off of the previously unhittable Francisco Rodriguez. After three consecutive singles loaded the bases with one out, K-Rod took over and probably didn't do any worse than his predecessor would have done. Rodriguez walked Bobby Kielty, who was pinch hitting for Luis Rivas, and all runners moved up a base when one of his pitches went wild with Jacque Jones at the dish. Jones didn't get a hit, but he did bring in the third run of the inning on a sac fly to give Minnesota their lead back at 5-3.
Then came one of the worst collapses I've ever witnessed in a single inning, and it probably is the worst single inning I've seen in the post-season from any team. In the bottom of the seventh, Johan Santana, Latroy Hawkins, J.C. Romero, and Bob Wells combined to allow ten hits, a walk, a hit batter, a wild pitch, and ten runs. The first seven batters of the inning reached safely. The Angels sent 15 men to the plate.
Minnesota, of course, was shell shocked. They went quietly over the game's final two innings, and the series came to a close with a humiliating 13-5 loss. If it's any consolation (it's not), the Twins were beat by the eventual 2002 World Series champions.
On the plus side, it was the team's first post-season run in 11 years, and they were set up by years of good drafting to be an inexpensive and talented team.