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Worst All-Time Twins Tournament, Morrison Round, Day 4: Coffee is for closers only

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Sometimes you’re the coffee, sometimes you get coughed upon.

Sporting News Archive
(Yes, I know the two in the dek are the same.)
Photo by Ed Nessen/Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images

8 vs. 9

(8) 2011 Twins 4
(9) 1956 Senators 10
Series tied 2-2

Pete Runnels went 4-5 and Karl Olson drove in five runs, including a fifth-inning grand slam, to propel the ‘56 offense past ‘11 10-4 and into a fifth game.

‘56 put a run on the board in the fourth then ripped the game open in the fifth. With Nick Blackburn entering in relief, ‘56 saw their first man retired but saw the next six batters circle the bases. Runnels and Roy Sievers singled before Jim Lemon was hit by a pitch to load the bags. Clint Courtney and Jerry Snyder each brought a runner home with a walk and a single, respectively, before Olson clobbered Blackburn’s 30th and final pitch over the wall.

‘11 tallied all their runs in the final two innings, the highlight a two-run ninth-inning triple by Ben Revere.

5 vs. 12 (played)

(5) 1981 Twins 1
(12) 1999 Twins 2
Series tied 2-2

Despite a combined 21 hits, only three runners crossed the plate as ‘99‘s pitching staff led the team to a series-knotting 2-1 victory.

‘99 took the lead two batters into the game when Marty Cordova doubled home Matt Lawton, but despite scoring opportunites for both teams (combined 19 LOB), no runner would score again until the sixth. Javier Valentin led off the inning with a single, and after Doug Mientkiewicz flew out, Denny Hocking singled to put runners on the corners. Lawton lined a double into the right field corner, scoring Valentin, while Hocking was thrown out at the plate.

Although Travis Miller allowed a run in the eighth on a run-scoring double play and Eddie Guardado opened the ninth by allowing a double to Pete Mackanin, the bullpen closed out the game to complete a win for LaTroy Hawkins, who pitched six shutout innings.

4 vs. 13

(4) 1957 Senators 3
(13) 1958 Senators 6
Series tied 2-2

A three-run fifth inning extended ‘58’s lead to the point where it held up, and the home team tied the series with a 6-3 win.

That fifth inning saw the first three men reach base to chase ‘57 starter Chuck Stobbs from the game, as Ken Aspromonte walked, Eddie Yost reached on an error, and Albie Pearson singled Aspromonte home. Evelio Hernández entered and struck out Roy Sievers, but Jim Lemon reached on an error that allowed Yost to cross the plate. After a flyout, Clint Courtney lined a single up the middle that scored Pearson, though Lemon was thrown out at the plate for Bob Usher’s second outfield assist of the game.

‘57 scored a pair in the top of the seventh on three singles and a double, but they could push across no more.

3 vs. 14

(3) 1955 Senators 6
(14) 1951 Senators 3
-11 innings-
‘51 loses 3-1

It took 11 innings, but the third-seeded ‘55 squad pulled off the (ahem) “upset” and sent ‘51 along their way with a 6-3 victory.

‘55 had a chance to clinch the game in the bottom of the ninth, entering the frame up 3-1 and finding themselves with Mickey Vernon on second and two outs. But after Cass Michaels singled, Pete Runnels singled up the middle, scoring Vernon, and a throwing error allowed Michaels to circle the bases.

Two innings later, ‘55 lit up Mickey Harris, as Tom Umphlett singled and Jose Valdivielso tripled him home to break the tie. After an intentional walk to Eddie Yost, Runnels singled home Valdivielso, and Yost came home on Ernie Oravetz’ double-play grounder.

‘51 still got the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the frame after a two-out double and walk, but Pedro Ramos induced a pop fly which Valdivielso snagged to end the series.

Series LVP

Sam Mele, ‘51 DH
1-13, 1B, 2 BB, RBI, 3 K, 5 LOB, .077/.200/.077

6 vs. 11

(6) 1948 Senators 1
(11) 1995 Senators 5
‘48 loses 3-1

At last, an early lead held up, as ‘95 scored all their runs in the first five innings and six pitchers quieted ‘48 bats, departing from the bracket with a 5-1 victory.

Kirby Puckett opened the scoring in the first with a two-run home run off Early Wynn, and after an RBI groundout halved their lead, ‘95 matched their first-inning tally in the second. Rich Becker led off the inning with a double, and after Matt Walbeck popped out, Chuck Knoblauch singled in Becker, moving around the bases on a single and sacrifice fly.

Although ‘95 starter José Parra lasted just 3.2 innings, allowing one run on five hits, a quintet of relievers allowed only two hits the rest of the way, Dave Stevens inheriting two runners in the ninth and stranding both for his third save of the series.

Series LVP

Len Okrie, ‘48 C
1-11, 1B, BB, RBI, 2 K, 11 LOB, .091/.167/.091

7 vs. 10

(7) 2016 Twins 4
(10) 1982 Twins 5
-10 innings-
Series tied 2-2

Despite living on the big ball, ‘16 fizzled by the big ball, as Kent Hrbek’s home run tied the game in the eighth before Randy Johnson singled home Gary Ward for a walk-off 5-4 victory.

After falling behind 3-0 in the third, ‘16 started to club. Brian Dozier opened the dinger show with a solo shot in the fourth, then added a two-run blast in the seventh to tie the game. With one out in the eighth, Miguel Sanó launched a solo homer to give ‘16 their first lead of the game.

Three pitches into the bottom of the frame, that lead was gone, as Hrbek socked a homer off Taylor Rogers to tie the game.

With ‘82 facing Brandon Kintzler in the bottom of the tenth, Gary Ward opened with a single before Kintzler recorded two quick outs. But he lost Tim Laudner on a full count before Johnson singled to right; Ward beat Max Kepler’s throw to the plate to push the series to Game 5.

2 vs. 15

(2) 1949 Senators 7
(15) 2013 Twins 15
Series tied 2-2

‘13 tallied seven runs in the second inning with the help of two key homers, adding two more on their way to a 15-7 rout.

Trevor Plouffe’s two-run shot and Brian Dozier’s three-run bomb keyed the inning, which saw a 1-0 deficit turn into a dominant 7-1 lead. ‘13 added home runs later from Eduardo Escobar and Oswaldo Arcia to extend the gap.

‘49 put up five runs in the eighth with the aid of three homers of their own, but it was far from enough to overcome the deficit.

Morrison Round, Day 3 | Morrison Round, Day 4 | Morrison Round, Day 5