October 8, 2004
ALDS, Game Three
Yankees Lead Series 2-1
Yankees: Derek Jeter (SS), Alex Rodriguez (3B), Gary Sheffield (RF), Hideki Matsui (LF), Bernie Williams (CF), Jorge Posada (C), Jon Olerud (1B), Miguel Cairo (2B), Kenny Lofton (DH), Kevin Brown (P)
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), Carlos Silva (P)
Game One had gone to Minnesota 2-0, and Game Two took 12 innings but the Yankees eventually won it by coming back in the bottom half of the frame. In spite of being the heavy underdog, the Twins had set the pace for the series, and they did so again in Game Three. With one out in the bottom of the first inning, Jacque Jones electrified the crowd with a solo home run off one of the best pitchers of his generation, Kevin Brown.
The lead, and all of those good feelings, didn't last long. Carlos Silva picked up two hard-struck outs in the top of the second, and then the Yankees connected for five singles in a row. It was like a conveyor belt and there was nothing that Silva nor his defense could do about it. Not all of the balls were well-struck, but they all had eyes and New York never looked back from a 3-1 lead.
Minnesota had runners on first and second with one out in their half of the second, but couldn't score even after Lew Ford stole third base. In the fourth the Twins couldn't score after putting runners on the corners with two away.
Three consecutive hits in the sixth chased Silva before he could record an out, leaving a runner on first and two more runs already on the board after a Bernie Williams homer. J.C. Romero would issue a walk before finally recording the first two outs of the inning, and then a 22-year old Jesse Crain gave Derek Jeter a 1-0 meatball that brought home both base runners. Hideki Matsui added insult to injury with a solo homer off Terry Mulholland in the seventh, making it 8-1.
Giving credit where it's due, the Twins didn't just go away. Felix Heredia managed to plunk the first two batters of the inning before Tanyon Sturtze was hurried into the game. He faced two batters, and both Guzman and Koskie singled. With the score now 8-2, the bases loaded and nobody out, Joe Torre went to Mariano Rivera.
Jose Offerman took over for Matt LeCroy but could only ground out, plating a run but putting a serious ding into how many runs Minnesota might be able to score that inning. Shannon Stewart was next, lofting a fly ball to Williams in center to, again, score a run - but the Twins weren't in a position to trade a run for an out. Jacque Jones came up with two away and a runner on third base, but a simple groundout ended the comeback and gave the Twins an 8-4 loss in Game Three.
The Twins were on the verge of being ousted from October for the second time in as many years by the Yankees. Could they hold them off for a game five back in the Bronx?
Also In the 2004 ALDS: