On This Date in Twins Playoff History: October 7, 1965

Starting today we're breaking this down into more digestible chunks. Part one of today's trip back in time brings us to Game Two of the 1965 World Series.

October 7, 1965
Worse Series, Game Two
Twins Lead Series, 1-0

Dodgers: Maury Wills (SS), Jim Gilliam (3B), Willie Davis (CF), Lou Johnson (LF), Ron Fairly (RF), Jim Lefebvre (2B), Wes Parker (1B), John Roseboro (C), Sandy Koufax (P)

Twins: Zoilo Versalles (SS), Joe Nossek (CF), Tony Oliva (RF), Harmon Killebrew (3B), Earl Battey (C), Bob Allison (LF), Don Mincher (1B), Frank Quilici (C), Jim Kaat (P)

With his struggles versus left-handed pitchers, Jimmy Hall took a seat in Game Two. But 30-year old Bob Allison was back in the starting lineup, giving Minnesota five tough outs between Oliva and Mincher. Opposing that offense was 29-year old southpaw, Sandy Koufax. Koufax would win his second Cy Young in what would be three in a four year stretch, leading the league in wins (26), winning percentage (.765), ERA (2.04), complete games (27), innings (335.2), strikeouts (382), batters faced (1297), WHIP (0.855), hits allowed per nine innings pitched (5.8), strikeouts per nine innings pitched (10.2), and strikouts-to-walk ratio (5.38).

In spite of Koufax's incredible season, for the second day in a row the Minnesota Twins would take down a Dodger Ace. Jim Kaat took the hill three times in this series, and in Game Two he took the home town squad the entire way. The generationally great pitcher took on one of the greatest of all time, and inning after inning neither team was able to push across a run. Joe Nossek recorded the game's first hit with out out in the bottom of the fourth, but it wasn't until two innings later that the game finally broke open.

A Maury Wills error put Zoilo Versalles on first to kick of the sixth, and he moved up to second on successful bunt by Nossek. Tony Oliva and Harmon Killebrew doubled and singled respectively both into left field, and the Twins took a 2-0 lead.

Kaat got into some trouble in the seventh. With one out and two on, future Twins catcher John Roseboro singled to put the Dodgers on the board. With Koufax scheduled to hit, Walter Alston went with a pinch hitter: Don Drysdale.

Drysdale wasn't really a good hitter, but he was in 1965. That season he batted .300/.331/.508 with seven homers in 138 plate appearances; a far cry from the .186/.228/.295 mark he scored in his career. But Kaat struck Drysdale out, giving Minnesota their biggest single-play swing in win expectancy - from 53% to 68%.

Another future Twin, Ron Perranoski, took over in the seventh, but couldn't stop the bleeding. Versalles tripled with two out and scored on a wild pitch. In the eighth, Kaat helped his own cause with a two-run single. Another future Twins reliever, Bob Miller, relieved a shaken and wild Perranoski for the final out in the eighth.

With the decisive 5-1 and having beaten the Dodgers' two legendary aces for a 2-0 series lead, the Twins were sitting pretty. Surely, nothing could go awry.

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