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Worst All-Time Twins Tournament, Nishioka Round, Game 1: Scared hitless

But the pitching was dominant.

Baltimore Orioles pitchers Roger McDowell (Top) an
There are no pictures of Roger Erickson in the database, so here’s a picture of a player named Roger and a player named Erickson.
Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP via Getty Images

Game 1 Lineups

(6) 1948 SENATORS (5) 1981 TWINS
2 - Al Kozar - 2B 32 - Gary Ward - LF
4 - Mickey Vernon - 1B 7 - Rob Wilfong - 2B
6 - Bud Stewart - RF 5 - Roy Smalley - SS
7 - Eddie Yost - 3B 2 - John Castino - 3B
24 - Mark Christman - SS 9 - Mickey Hatcher - CF
5 - Sherry Robertson - DH 20 - Dave Engle - RF
23 - Junior Wooten - CF 26 - Kent Hrbek - 1B
8 - Al Evans - C 11 - Sal Butera - C
3 - Gil Coan - LF 25 - Danny Goodwin - DH
35 - Walt Masterson - RHP 19 - Roger Erickson - RHP

Result

With both the Senators’ and Twins’ aces having pitched the final game of the Nolasco Round, ‘48 and ‘81 turned to their #2 starters.

They got ace-like performances, but one shone brilliantly.

Roger Erickson pitched a complete game one-hitter, shutting out ‘48 2-0 to push ‘81 one game closer to a bracket escape.

Erickson allowed just two baserunners in his Maddux, a Mickey Vernon single and Sherry Robertson walk the only blemishes through 99 pitches.

On the opposing rubber, Walt Masterson nearly matched Erickson’s performance, allowing three hits over 6.2 innings.

However, one of those hits left the Senators playing from behind, as Roy Smalley opened the bottom of the fourth by lining Masterson’s second pitch into the right field bullpen for a solo home run.

‘81 nearly took the lead two innings earlier, two singles and a walk loading the bases with one out, but Sal Butera grounded into an around-the-horn double play to end the threat.

Meanwhile, Erickson continued to work a masterpiece, retiring his first 10 batters faced until Vernon’s fourth-inning single. Though Vernon stole second and advanced to third on Bud Stewart’s fly ball, Eddie Yost grounded to Smalley at short, stranding Vernon 90 feet from the opening run.

Two pitches later, ‘81 led 1-0.

Both offenses went quiet for the next two innings, each team putting a runner on in the fifth on a walk but seeing him retired on the bases; Washington’s Sherry Robertson was caught stealing on a failed hit and run, while Butera departed the bases on a 6-4-3 double play.

Having thrown over 80 pitches entering the seventh, Masterson finally ran into trouble, plunking both Mickey Hatcher and Kent Hrbek to put two on with two outs. Milo Candini entered in relief and walked Butera to load the bases, but Danny Goodwin flew out to strand three.

An inning later, though, ‘81 put together a short rally to push an insurance run across the plate. Gary Ward walked to lead off the frame and advanced to third on a pair of groundouts. John Castino hit Candini’s first pitch up the middle for an RBI single, giving Minnesota a 2-0 lead and Erickson some breathing room.

He would not need it, as Erickson retired the final 13 batters he faced in order, needing only a Ward diving catch in the seventh to prevent any more hits from falling in. Groundouts by pinch hitter Tom McBride and Al Kozar sandwiched a Gil Coan strikeout, putting an end to a dominant Game 1.

Nishioka Round, Preview | Nishioka Round, Game 1 | Nishioka Round, Game 2