October 5, 1969
ALCS, Game Two
Twins: Cesar Tovar (CF), Rod Carew (2B), Harmon Killebrew (3B), Tony Oliva (RF), Bob Allison (LF), Rich Reese (1B), George Mitterwald (C), Leo Cardenas (SS), Dave Boswell (P)
Orioles: Don Buford (LF), Paul Blair (CF), Frank Robinson (RF), Boog Powell (1B), Brooks Robinson (3B), Davey Johnson (2B), Mark Belanger (SS), Andy Etchebarren (C), Dave McNally (P)
Following the heart-breaking loss in Game One with two out in the bottom of the twelfth, the Twins sent 24-year old Dave Boswell out to face 26-year old perennial Cy Young award contender Dave McNally. McNally wasn't as dominant as he'd been in 1968, but he was still 20-7, finished just behind teammate Mike Cuellar for the best pitcher in the league, and had just finished the second of what would be four consecutive 20+ win campaigns.
Boswell, on the other hand, didn't have the same history. He was a good pitcher, but 1969 was his best season as he made 38 starts, threw 10 complete games, and for the only time in his career won 20 games in a season. Sadly, this game would turn from career highlight to career-changing.
Calling this game a "Pitcher's Duel" doesn't do it justice. McNally and Boswell were like heavyweights, circling each other in the ring, taking a jab here and there but never allowing anything worse than a glancing blow. George Mitterwald threw out Paul Blair trying to steal in the first. Boswell loaded the bases in the second but somehow managed to keep the bottom of the Baltimore lineup from doing any damage. Don Buford was caught off of first base in the third inning, when Leo Cardenas caught a hard liner off the bat of Blair and threw to first for the double play. McNally worked around Tony Oliva's leadoff single and subsequent steal of second base to keep the Twins off the board in the fourth. When Blair should have been caught stealing again in the fifth but Cardenas couldn't make the play, Boswell got Frank Robinson to ground out to end the threat. McNally racked up the strikeouts. Boswell stranded two more runners in the bottom of the ninth.
The game went to extra innings, with neither team having scored a single run. And then the tenth inning came and went, both starters still in the game, and when yet another zero was hung on the scoreboard in the bottom of the frame the game went to the eleventh.
In the top half, tied at zero, McNally faced his first real threat since the fourth. He'd allowed just three hits all day, none since that inning. But with two away he walked Harmon Killebrew and Tony Oliva, putting the winning run 180 feet from home. The aging Bob Allison couldn't come through, lining out to Buford in left field.
When Boswell took the hill for the bottom of the eleventh, it was clear that something had changed. It would later be revealed that when Boswell got Frank Robinson to strikeout looking on a hard slider to end the tenth, something went wrong with Boswell's arm. He walked Boog Powell to start the inning, who then moved to second on a bunt. Boswell put Davey Johnson on first intentionally and then got Mark Belanger to pop out to Rich Reese at first base in foul ground.
Billy Martin came out then and removed Boswell from the game. Ron Perranoski took over, and on the first batter he faced, pinch hitter Curt Motton singled into right field. Powell scored from second to win the game - another walk off victory in extra innings in a playoff game for Baltimore, for the second time in as many days.
Boswell would never be the same. He came back to the Twins in 1970 and was terrible. When he was released by the Twins on April 9, 1971, the Tigers picked him up the same day. He appeared in three relief three times before he was released six weeks later, and was then signed by the Orioles. The team that was there when his career went off the rails, in the biggest game of his career, kept him on board for the rest of the '71 campaign. He made one last start on June 10 of that year, in the second game of a double header, but otherwise came out of the bullpen.
The win gave the juggernaut Orioles a 2-0 series lead in the 1969 ALCS, and effectively ended what looked like a promising career for Dave Boswell. He was out of baseball at age 26.
October 5, 1970
ALCS, Game Three
Twins: Cesar Tovar (CF), Leo Cardenas (SS), Tony Oliva (RF), Harmon Killebrew (3B), Jim Holt (CF), Paul Ratliff (C), Rich Reese (1B), Danny Thompson (2B), Jim Kaat (P)
Orioles: Don Buford (LF), Paul Blair (CF), Frank Robinson (RF), Book Powell (1B), Brooks Robinson (3B), Davey Johnson (2B), Andy Etchebarren (C), Mark Belanger (SS), Jim Palmer (P)
Already being down in this series two games to none, the Twins had their backs against the wall. This time around, 31-year old fielding wizard Jim Kaat took the hill for Minnesota, while future Hall of Famer Jim Palmer stalked the mound for Baltimore. Palmer came out ahead, and it wasn't particularly close.
Palmer, at just 24 years of age, was coming off the first of what would be eight 20+ win seasons. He was a monster. With only a couple of exceptions he dominated the aging Minnesota club, allowing just one run in a complete game and striking out 12.
Kaat was chased after allowing a single and a double in the third inning, bringing in Bert Blyleven for the first time in the series. Boswell's injury and subsequent ineffectiveness paved the way for Blyleven's spot in the rotation during the season, and the 19-year old Dutchman was more than up to the task. In this game, though, he was unable to stop Kaat's runaway train. The Orioles scored two runs on outs, and another on a double.
Minnesota finally drew blood off Palmer in the fifth when Leo Cardenas followed Cesar Tovar's triple with a single. It was too little too late, though, because Palmer didn't allow the Twins to sniff scoring position again for the rest of the game.
The Orioles' victory secured the series win, making it two years in a row that Baltimore swept Minnesota from the American League Championship Series. The Twins did pull out all the stops, including bringing 24-game winner Jim Perry in for relief late in the game and using a hobbling Rod Carew as a pinch hitter. It just wasn't enough.
October 5, 2002
ALDS, Game Four
Twins: Jacque Jones (LF), Cristian Guzman (SS), Corey Koskie (3B), David Ortiz (DH), Torii Hunter (CF), Doug Mientkiewicz (1B), Michael Cuddyer (RF), A.J. Pierzynski (C), Luis Rivas (2B), Eric Milton (P)
Down two games to one and facing elimination in the Metrodome, the Twins rose to meet the challenge in front of a crowd that hadn't seen its home team in the playoffs in eleven years. Eric Milton never quite reached his potential, in Minnesota or anywhere else, but on this day he battled a Tim Hudson in his prime. The Twins had already beat him in Game One of the series, and they were about to do it again.
Miguel Tejada gave the game an auspicious start when his two-run shot opened the scoring in the top of the third, but the home team answered in the bottom half of the frame when Cristian Guzman and David Ortiz picked up RBIs on runs that were the definition of "manufactured".
In the fourth, Minnesota blew it open. A single and a walk, followed by an Eric Chavez botched throw on what should have been a double play, and then Hudson buried himself with a wild pitch before plunking Jacque Jones. When Ted Lilly finally took over the Twins were already up 5-2. But Lilly, who was rushed to get ready because Hudson's collapse was so sudden and so complete, couldn't stop the deluge. The second wild pitch of the inning also scored a run, but a pair of singles and a double put the finishing touches on what was a knock-out blow in the fourth inning. Minnesota led 9-2.
Milton powered through the seventh, and a Doug Mientkiewicz home run in the bottom of the inning put the cherry on top of the game. Kyle Lohse completed the contest with two scoreless innings.
With a washout of a victory, the Twins and A's were tied at two games apiece. The deciding game would take place back in Oakland the following day.
October 5, 2003
ALDS, Game Four
Twins: Shannon Stewart (LF), Luis Rivas (2B), Doug Mientkiewicz (1B), Torii Hunter (CF), A.J. Pierzynski (C), Michael Cuddyer (DH), Jacque Jones (RF), Corey Koskie (3B), Cristian Guzman (SS), Johan Santana (P)
Just like one year earlier to the day, the Twins were facing elimination on their home turf. This time, however, things didn't go quite so well. The game went off the rails in the fourth, and future two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana wouldn't finish the inning. Juan Rincon faced three hitters and couldn't record an out. Eric Milton ended up getting the final out of the frame, but by that time New York led 6-0 and never looked back.
When the dust settled the Yankees celebrated advancing to the ALCS in the Metrodome, winning heavy-handedly, 8-1. Chances from earlier in the series dug Minnesota a hole they couldn't climb out of, and the playoff darlings of the game were ousted in the first round.
October 5, 2004
ALDS, Game One
Twins: Shannon Stewart (LF), Jacque Jones (RF), Torii Hunter (CF), Justin Morneau (1B), Corey Koskie (3B), Lew Ford (DH), Cristian Guzman (SS), Michael Cuddyer (2B), Henry Blanco (C), Johan Santana (P)
Yankees: Derek Jeter (SS), Alex Rodriguez (SS), Gary Sheffield (RF), Bernie Williams (CF), Jorge Posada (C), Hideki Matsui (LF), Ruben Sierra (DH), John Olerud (1B), Miguel Cairo (2B), Mike Mussina (P)
For the second year in the row the Twins would take on the favorited Yankees in the Divisional Series, opening the series one year to the date that New York advanced to the ALCS over Minnesota. Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana took on one of the best pitchers of his generation, Mike Mussina, and on this day the Yankees had no answer to Johan.
Minnesota finally drew blood in the third when Shannon Stewart drove in Michael Cuddyer. Mussina would keep the Twins in check over the next couple of innings, trading zeroes with Santana until Jacque Jones gave the Twins a big insurance run with a one-out homer in the seventh. Yankee Stadium fell silent, and it was a beautiful, beautiful thing.
Santana made in through seven, giving Twins fans a scare when Miguel Cairo doubled with two outs in the seventh, but he locked it up and handed it over to Juan Rincon and Joe Nathan. Rincon and Nathan were the one of the, if not THE best set-up/closer combinations in all of baseball in 2004, and they did not disappoint: six up and six down in the final two frames, securing the 2-0 victory.
Minnesota stole game one in the Bronx. Could they do it again in Game Two?
Other Events On This Date:
- 2012: The Twins announce that Terry Ryan will take over as the team's General Manager, removing the title "Interim".