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All-Time Twins Tournament, Puckett Round, Day 4: The value of an eighth-round draft pick

“Never heard of such a thing.” -MLB, 2020

San Diego Padres v Minnesota Twins
Who here was Team #DozierDinger versus Team #DozierGoesDeep?
Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

Below, you will find scoreboard symmetry created by strung hits and dingers. Enjoy it.

Minneapolis Sectional

(13) 2003 Twins 3
(16) 2017 Twins 7
Series tied 2-2

Not only did Brian Dozier’s bat provide a spark to ‘17, he played the entire internal combustion engine.

Dozier went 3-4 and finished a single short of the cycle, his five RBIs including a go-ahead three-run home run as ‘17 knotted the Minneapolis sectional at two with a 7-3 victory.

‘17’s five-run seventh spoiled a potential win for Kyle Lohse, who allowed two runs over five innings while striking out six.

‘03 spotted Lohse a two-run lead before the right-hander even took the mound. Shannon Stewart opened the game by smacking Bartolo Colon’s second pitch for a double (‘03’s only extra-base hit of the game), and Corey Koskie joined him on base on a four-pitch walk. With two out, A.J. Pierzynski singled in Stewart, and Jacque Jones drove in Koskie with a single of his own. ‘03 pushed across another run in the fifth when Doug Mientkiewicz walked, moved around the bases on a wild pitch and balk, and scored on Koskie’s base hit.

Although ‘17 tallied five hits off Lohse, they were only able to bring two runs across, both driven in by Dozier with two outs. In the bottom of the third, Dozier tripled in Jorge Polanco; two innings later, he doubled home Jason Castro.

Rick Reed pitched a 1-2-3 sixth in his first inning of relief, but ‘17 drove him out of the game to take the lead in the seventh. Max Kepler led off with a double, and after Polanco struck out, Castro singled Kepler home to tie the game. Reed walked Byron Buxton on a full count to put two men on for Dozier, who lofted a 1-0 pitch over the wall to give ‘17 a 6-3 lead. ‘17 added a run off Joe Mays three batters later when Eddie Rosario singled in Miguel Sano.

While ‘17’s bats woke up with the bullpen’s appearance, ‘03’s went quiet, with Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, and Matt Belisle pitching four scoreless frames.

Stars of the Game
‘03 — RF Jacque Jones: 3-4, RBI
‘03 — 3B Corey Koskie: 2-3, R, RBI, BB
‘03 — DH Shannon Stewart: 2-5, 2B, R
‘17 — 2B Brian Dozier: 3-4, HR, 3B, 2B, R, 5 RBI
‘17 — C Jason Castro: 2-4, 2 R, RBI
‘17 — RP Matt Belisle: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K

St. Paul Sectional (played)

(3) 1969 Twins 7
(7) 2019 Twins 3
‘69 leads 3-1

In the age-old question of “Good Gibby, bad Gibby,” bad Gibby chose to make an appearance.

‘69 hammered Kyle Gibson for five runs in less than three innings while Dean Chance and the bullpen kept ‘19 from breaking out, winning 7-3 and placing themselves one game away from the Joe Mauer Round.

The offensive output was well-spread, with five members of the ‘69 lineup, including reserve outfielder Charlie Manuel making his first start of the bracket, tallying two hits. Harmon Killebrew helped drive the scoring by sending both of his hits into the seats in left-center.

After a quiet first inning, ‘69 strung together four hits and three runs between the second and third outs of the next frame. With César Tovar on second, Rick Renick brought him home with a single, Leo Cárdenas doubled in Renick, and Manuel’s single sent Cárdenas across the plate. Manuel only reached third base on Rod Carew’s double, however, and was stranded there when Tony Oliva flew to left.

Gibson did not last the third, as though he struck out two in the inning, those Ks were interlaced with Killebrew’s solo homer, Tovar’s double, and Renick’s RBI single.

Though Randy Dobnak finished the third and pitched two more scoreless frames, ‘19 could not come back against Chance, who allowed six hits over his first five innings of work but did not allow any runners to reach home. ‘19 hurt their own cause on the bases, as both Eddie Rosario and Byron Buxton were caught stealing, while Miguel Sanó grounded into two 6-4-3 double plays.

’69 put an insurance run on the board in the top of the sixth, Oliva doubling home Carew, but Chance finally wore down in the bottom of the frame as two long at-bats set up ‘19’s first run of the game. After Max Kepler led off with a double, Chance threw eight pitches to Jorge Polanco before the ‘19 shortstop flew out. Cruz and Sanó followed with walks, the latter also on eight pitches, before lefty Joe Grzenda entered in relief with two left-handed batters up. Grzenda retired the first, Rosario lining to shortstop Cárdenas in the shift, but Luis Arraez singled up the middle to bring in Kepler. With the bases still loaded, Grzenda escaped the threat when C.J. Cron flew to center.

Two innings later, ‘19 not only threatened once again but brought the game within three. Like Chance had in the sixth, reliever Jerry Crider loaded the bases on a hit and two walks; like Grzenda, Crider allowed an RBI hit with two outs, this time Cron’s two-run single. But Mitch Garver, representing the tying run, lined out to center to end the inning.

Killebrew launched his second home run of the game in the ninth off Martin Perez, thereby making the game no longer a save situation. Relievers Ron Perranoski and Al Worthington worked around Byron Buxton’s leadoff double in the ninth to put one final zero on the board.

Stars of the Game
‘69 — DH Harmon Killebrew: 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB
‘69 — SP Dean Chance: 5.1 IP, 7 H, R, ER, 2 BB, 3 K
‘69 — 3B Rick Renick: 2-4, R, 2 RBI
‘69 — RP Joe Grzenda: 1.2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K
‘19 — RP Randy Dobnak: 2.1 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 4 K
‘19 — RP Zack Littell: 2.0 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 14 pitches
‘19 — 2B Luis Arraez: 2-3, RBI, BB

Walter Johnson Round: Day 1 / Day 2 / Day 3 / Day 4 / Day 5
Harmon Killebrew Round: Day 1 / Day 2 / Day 3 / Day 4 / Day 5
Kirby Puckett Round: Day 1 / Day 2 / Day 3 / Day 4 / Day 5 / Day 6 / Day 7
Joe Mauer Round: Preview / Game 1 / Game 2 / Game 3 / Game 4 / Game 5 / Game 6 / Game 7