“When do you notice a pin least? When it is in a pincushion!” -Hercule Poirot, The ABC Murders
1 vs. 17
(1) 1909 Senators 7
(17) 2012 Twins 13
Senators lose 3-0
Despite an awake offense, a sleepy pitching staff saw ‘09 swept into the next round as ‘12 escaped the bracket with a 13-7 win.
Although ‘09 took an early lead when Gabby Street singled home Germany Schaefer in the second and scored on Jiggs Donahue’s groundout, ‘12 tied it in the bottom of the frame when Ryan Doumit coshed a two-out homer.
Each team put another run on the board to make the score 3-3 entering the bottom of the fourth, when ‘12 exploded for seven runs to put the game out of reach, the final three coming on a Josh Willingham home run. Further runs would not matter — at least, not in this game.
Clyde Milan, ‘09 DH
0-10, BB, RBI, 2 K, 5 LOB, .000/.091/.000
8 vs. 9
(8) 2011 Twins 7
(9) 1956 Senators 8
‘56 trails 2-1
With ‘56 needing a clutch hit to avoid a sweep, Jim Lemon provided it, his two-run double flipping a 7-6 deficit into what held up as an 8-7 win.
Early home runs from Lemon and Lou Berberet put ‘56 up 4-0 early, but a Justin Morneau grand slam tied the game in the third and Michael Cuddyer’s three-run shot put ‘11 up 7-4 an inning later.
‘56 added a run in the bottom of the fourth on a sacrifice fly, but would not take the lead until the sixth. After Yost’s one-out single, Matt Capps relieved Alex Burnett and allowed a single to Karl Olson before getting Roy Sievers to fly out. But Pete Runnels doubled in Yost, moving Olson to third, and with a full count, Lemon brought home the score-flipping run.
After ‘11 loaded the bases in the eighth with one out but stranded them, and put men on the corners in the ninth but stranded them, that run proved the winner.
5 vs. 12
(5) 1981 Twins 1
(12) 1999 Twins 8
‘99 trails 2-1
Thanks to a two-run first and three-run second, ‘99 ran away with the third game in their series by a score of 8-1, extending the set to a fourth game.
Todd Walker’s two-run single got ‘99 off to a fast start, and ‘81 could not catch up to Eric Milton, who allowed one run and two hits over five innings.
Walker would add two doubles and another three RBIs to lead the ‘99 offense.
4 vs. 13
(4) 1957 Senators 9
(13) 1958 Senators 0
‘58 trails 2-1
‘57 rode Herb Plews’ four-hit day and Russ Kemmerer’s eight-inning, three-hit performance to shut out ‘58 9-0.
While Kemmerer kept ‘58 hitters baffled, Plews paced ‘57’s offense, swatting a solo home run to go along with a pair of doubles and a single.
‘57’s lead, 2-0 after the first, had swollen to 8-0 after four, and ‘58 could not catch up.
3 vs. 14
(3) 1955 Senators 1
(14) 1951 Senators 11
‘51 trails 2-1
A six-run second inning propelled ‘51 to a dominant series-extending 11-1 win over ‘55.
After each team put a run on the board in the first, ‘51 slapped four singles and three doubles in the second, a Pete Runnels two-bagger scoring the final pair of runs in the frame.
‘51 totaled 20 hits on their way to the route, every member of the lineup except hitless DH Sam Mele tallying at least two base knocks.
6 vs. 11 (played)
(6) 1948 Senators 11
(11) 1995 Twins 12
‘48 trails 2-1
No lead was safe in this game as bullpens distributed runs with as casually as champagne at a reception, ‘95 nearly blowing leads of 9-1 and 12-5 before escaping with a 12-11 victory.
‘95 took their dominant lead with four runs in the first and five in the fourth, the latter inning including a Kirby Puckett grand slam just inside the left field fould pole. That high-scoring inning proved necessary as ‘48 put up four in the top of the fifth, the highlight a Mickey Vernon home run, to cut the deficit to 9-5.
In the bottom of the sixth, ‘95 scored the runs that were thought unnecessary insurance but proved vitally necessary. After a pair of walks and a groundout, Ramón García relieved Dick Weik and did not record an out: Pat Meares singled in Scott Stahoviak, Rich Becker walked to load the bases, Chuck Knoblauch singled in Scott Leius (Knoblauch’s fourth hit of the game), and Marty Cordova took a pitch off the hip to bring in Meares with the final ‘95 run of the game. Dick Welteroth entered in relief and induced a Kirby Puckett double play, but too much damage had been done.
The necessity of those runs proved immediately evident. With one out in the following half-inning, Bud Stewart singled and scored on Eddie Yost’s hit-and-run double. Oscar Munoz relieved Pat Mahomes and struck out Al Kozar, but Gil Coan doubled in Yost and pinch hitter Tom McBride lofted a pitch over the left field wall, putting the score at 12-9 and making the home team grateful for their three-run sixth.
Munoz held ‘48 scoreless in the eighth, but the visitors nearly broke through in the ninth. Yost and Kozar opened with consecutive doubles; Coan moved Kozar to third on a groundout; and McBride came a warning track and wall shy of tying the game, instead bringing home Kozar on the sacrifice fly. Dave Stevens entered to close the game and promptly walked Al Evans, Matt Walbeck’s passed ball moving Evans to second, but Sammy Meeks flew out to shallow right on a full-count offering to summon mass exhaling from the home dugout.
7 vs. 10
(7) 2016 Twins 5
(10) 1982 Twins 6
‘82 trails 2-1
The team with the final home run won this one, as Gary Ward’s two-run blast in the seventh brought ‘82 ahead to what would be the final score of 6-5.
‘82 had taken a 3-0 lead in the first two innings, highlighted by a Randy Johnson longball, but ‘16 used the big fly to take back the lead. Max Kepler’s solo shot in the fourth started the comeback. An inning later, consecutive doubles from Eddie Rosario and Kurt Suzuki cut the deficit to one; after Byron Buxton walked, Brian Dozier’s three-run blast capped off ‘16’s scoring.
But theirs would not be the final comeback of the game. With Michael Tonkin on the mound in the seventh and one man out, Ron Washington cut the gap to 5-4 with a solo homer. Following Bobby Mitchell’s single, Gary Ward sent a 1-1 pitch over the wall to flip the score.
‘16 netted just a single and walk the rest of the way.
2 vs. 15
(2) 1949 Senators 6
(15) 2013 Twins 0
‘13 trails 2-1
Although ‘49 starter Mickey Harris allowed eight hits and walked one over 5.2 innings, ‘13 could not string any of them into runs, while ‘49 walked all over Mike Pelfrey for a 6-0 shutout.
‘49 did not score in chunks, scoring a run in the first and second innings and two each in the fourth and ninth, but ‘13 was not able to catch up, leaving 11 men on base.
Eddie Yost led the ‘49 offense with three hits, including a double, and two runs batted in.