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On This Date in Twins Playoff History: October 11, 1987

The Tigers managed a win in Game Three, even after the Twins stormed back to take the lead after being down 5-0. Could they even the series at Tiger Stadium?

October 11, 1987
ALCS, Game Four
Twins Lead Series, 2-1

Twins: Dan Gladden (LF), Al Newman (2B), Kirby Puckett (CF), Gary Gaetti (3B), Don Baylor (DH), Tom Brunanski (RF), Kent Hrbek (1B), Greg Gagne (SS), Tim Laudner (C), Frank Viola (P)

Tigers: Lou Whitaker (2B), Jim Morrison (DH), Kirk Gibson (LF), Alan Trammell (SS), Larry Herndon (RF), Chet Lemon (CF), Darrell Evans (1B), Tom Brookens (3B), Mike Heath (C), Frank Tanana (P)

Frank Tanana had a very long career, spanning three decades. As a rookie in 1973, Tanana had come up with the Angels and that's where he had the best years of his baseball life. From '73 to '79, ages 19 to 25, he compiled a 2.93 ERA over 1411 innings, making the All-Star teams in '76, '77 and '78, finishing in the top four in Cy Young voting in '75 and '76, and adding a ninth place finish in 77. He was never bad afterward, but he was never as good. In 1993 he turned 40 in July, and that's the season he retired.

Six years before his final pitch, he was 34 years old and pitching in October. While the Twins didn't have the luxury of going with a four-man rotation, the Tigers did.

Detroit actually did draw first blood in this game, when Greg Gagne's throwing error allowed Lou Whitaker to come in from third. The lead didn't last long for the home team though, as Kirby Puckett's third inning solo homer and Gagne's fifth inning two-run shot gave Minnesota a lead they wouldn't relinquish...even if the Tigers never really wet away.

Kirk Gibson brought the Tigers to within a run in the bottom of the fifth, but the Twins kept the pressure on. Tanana, who had been a bit wild all night, had allowed a double, wild pitch, and then plunked Dan Gladden before Gene Larkin chased Tanana with a one-run single.

When Detroit came within a run again in the bottom of the seventh, Tom Kelly brought in Juan Berenger. Tim Laudner helped squash the rally by picking Darrell Evans off third, and Jim Morrison popped out to end the threat. Steve Lombardozzi drove in Laudner in the eighth, and that was all she wrote. Jeff Reardon came on for the save in the ninth, including back-to-back strikeouts to end it.

A big win in Motor City meant the Twins had a comfortable 3-1 series lead. If the Tigers were going to win the series they were going to have to do it in Minneapolis.

Also in the 1987 ALCS: