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On This Day in Twins Playoff History: October 10, 1965

After beating two of the best aces in the history of the game, the Twins lost game three to Claude Osteen. Could they regain the momentum in Game Four of the World Series?

October 10, 1965
World Series, Game Four
Twins Lead Series, 2-1

Twins: Zoilo Versalles (SS), Sandy Valdespino (LF), Tony Oliva (RF), Harmon Killebrew (3B), Jimmy Hall (CF), Don Mincher (1B), Earl Battey (C), Frank Quilici (2B), Mudcat Grant (P)

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

Some might point to Don Drysdale's shorter outing in Game One, comparing it to Mudcat Grant's complete game, and could conclude that it was advantageous for the pitcher who was fresher to be more effective. The thing was, Drysdale and Grant each pitched on there days' rest quite regularly in 1965, so doing it the World Series wasn't anything unusual. It just happened that, on this day, Grant and Drysdale changed spots from Game One.

With one out in the first, Sandy Valdespino tried to stretch a single into a double. Trying to force the issue with aggression didn't work, however, and the very average left fielder Lou Johnson made a good throw to get him in time. In the Dodgers' half of the first it was illustrated exactly what kind of a day it would be for the Twins.

Grant was slow to cover first on two plays, leading to a Maury Wills single to lead it off. Wills stole second, and when Grant couldn't cover first for the second time Wills had advanced to third. Ron Fairly beat out what should have been a double play to end the inning, and the Dodgers had an early one-run lead.

The second inning run, however, was a lesson in humility to the baseball gods. It led to just one run, but it was the how that's so interesting. Or maddening.

Wed Parker led off the inning trying to reach on a bunt, and it worked as the ball was a dead roller down the first base line. There was no play to make. Parker proceeded to steal second but made it to third when Grant's pitch went wild. John Roseboro drove in Parker when his single got past Frank Quilici at second base.

Minnesota finally got on the board in the fourth when Harmon Killebrew took Drysdale deep for a solo shot, but Parker continued to be a thorn in Grant's side by answering with his own homer in the bottom of the inning. Tony Oliva pulled Drysdale deep to right for the Twins' second run on the game in the sixth, but again Minnesota pitching staff couldn't hold serve. In the bottom half of the frame Grant walked Gilliam and gave up a single to Davis, and when Al Worthington took over he couldn't stop the bleeding. Fairly's single brought home two, and when Johnson tried to move Fairly from second to third on a bunt, Worthington threw the ball away to let Fairly come around. When the dust finally cleared it was 6-2.

Johnson added a homer in the the eighth to push the game to 7-2, and the Twins weren't able to mount another offensive. It was Minnesota's defense that was truly offensive on the day - from Grant's inability to cover first, to wild pitches, to bad throws, to missing routine plays. Game Four was an absolute mess in so many ways, and in some respects I think fans of the Twins over the last ten years would identify with the resulting emotional fallout of the game. It was a performance not befitting of a World Series team, and the impending feeling of defeat wasn't going to be an easy one for the team to shake, much less the fans.

The self-defeating effort led to a big Dodger victory, leveling the series at two games apiece.

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