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Worst All-Time Twins Tournament, Nishioka Round, Game 5: Warding off elimination

And the series heads back to Minnesota.

Sports Contributor Archive 2020
Any player with an easily punnable surname is always a plus in my book.
Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images

Game 5 Lineups

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

Result

After five games of minimal offense, both the Twins and Senators slugged the ball for two sudden half-innings.

The offense outside of those demiframes decided the game.

Gary Ward opened the scoring with a solo homer and drove in the winning run with an eighth-inning single, helping ‘81 remain alive with a 5-4 win over their counterparts from ‘48.

Outside of the bottom of the fourth and top of the fifth, both pitching staffs kept bats quiet, no batters aside from Ward driving in any runs. But those consecutive half-innings saw a minor lead become a moderately sizable one, then a tie score.

With Minnesota up 1-0 after Ward’s second-inning homer, Washington’s bats came to life for a two-out rally in the fourth. After walking Eddie Yost to lead off the frame, Roger Erickson retired Mark Christman and Mickey Vernon to come within an out of a shutout inning. But Junior Wooten singled in Yost to tie the score, and following Al Evans’ walk, Sherry Robertson got his bat on a hanging slider and sent it into the right field stands 464 feet away, giving ‘48 a 4-1 lead and putting them in position to clinch their fourth win of the series.

But Walt Masterson was unable to hold the lead for even an inning. With one out, Ron Washington singled and moved to second on a spectacular defensive play by Yost. Roy Smalley extended the inning with an RBI single, and John Castino tied the score with a fly ball that cleared the wall just inside the left field foul pole.

Outside of those moments, both Erickson and Masterson worked gems. Both allowed four runs on six hits, Erickson walking three and whiffing one over six innings while Masterson pitched seven, with one BB and eight Ks.

The bullpens picked up where the starters left off, the only remaining run of the game coming across with partial assist to a Castino grounder mishandled by Yost to open the eighth. After Kent Hrbek popped out, Milo Candini walked Dave Engle to put two on. Candini got Danny Goodwin to fly to center, but Ward flared a single to center to bring Castino around the bases.

Though Candini followed that frame with a 1-2-3 ninth, John Verhoeven and Bob Veselic combined for three shutout innings, Veselic stranding Ángel Fleitas on first as the would-be tying run to push the series to a sixth game.

Nishioka Round, Game 4 | Nishioka Round, Game 5 | Nishioka Round, Game 6