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All-Time Twins Tournament, Mauer Round, Game 2: Dispense with the book

Handedness be damned.

Rod Carew Steals Home
I thought about having Rod Carew attempt a steal of home this game, but ultimately passed. Perhaps next time.

Game 2 Lineups

(16) 2017 TWINS (3) 1969 TWINS
2 - Brian Dozier - 2B 29 - Rod Carew - 2B
7 - Joe Mauer - 1B 6 - Tony Oliva - RF
22 - Miguel Sanó - DH 3 - Harmon Killebrew - DH
5 - Eduardo Escobar - 3B 20 - Rich Reese - 1B
21 - Jason Castro - C 12 - César Tovar - CF
20 - Eddie Rosario - LF 2 - Graig Nettles - 3B
36 - Robbie Grossman - RF 5 - Leo Cárdenas - SS
11 - Jorge Polanco - SS 13 - John Roseboro - C
25 - Byron Buxton - CF 11 - Ted Uhlander - LF
49 - Adalberto Mejía - P 23 - Dave Boswell - P


Entering Game 2, the ‘17 coaching staff attempted to gain an edge through out-management, starting left-handed Adalberto Mejia as an opener in an attempt to quiet the lefty-heavy ‘69 lineup, or force them into a weaker batting order.

Not only did ‘69 decline the bait, Mejía did not make it through the first inning.

With six lefties in their starting lineup, ‘69 scored five runs off Mejía, including the first of two Leo Cárdenas homers to chase him from the game, and never let the lead become close, coasting to an 8-4 victory.

Mejía took the start in place of Kyle Gibson, who sported a playoff ERA above 6.00, hoping to take advantage of lefty-lefty matchups. But after ‘17 squandered a two-on, one-out situation in the top of the first, ‘69 teed off, sending baseball after baseball in Robbie Grossman’s direction. The inning started off normally with Rod Carew singling to right before Tony Oliva flew out to Grossman, but Harmon Killebrew doubled into the corner and Rich Reese brought Carew in with another single. César Tovar finally gave one of ‘17’s other outfielders work by singling to center, scoring Killebrew. With Gibson warming up, Mejía had a chance to escape the inning by getting Graig Nettles to ground into a fielder’s choice, but after two foul balls, Cárdenas launched a 1-2 pitch into the seats in left-center, putting a 5 on the scoreboard and bringing Gibson in from the bullpen.

Given a 5-0 lead to work with, the five-hitter thrown by Dave Boswell and three ‘69 relievers seemed unnecessary, but ‘17 used those five hits (four of which were doubles) to put four runs on the scoreboard. Only one of those runs came off Boswell, as Byron Buxton opened the third inning with a double, stole third, and scored when Tovar ran down Mauer’s fly to deep center.

Once ‘69 went to the bullpen in the sixth, ‘17 threatened to pull back into the game. To start the sixth, Miguel Sano walked and Jason Castro doubled him home with one out. One inning later, Buxton walked and came around on Brian Dozier’s double; Dozier advanced to third on the throw from the outfield and scored on Mauer’s grounder to second.

But in both the third and sixth innings, ‘69’s offense calmly widened the gap back. In the third, Cárdenas slugged a solo home run, his second four-bagger of the game, to counter ‘17’s run in the top of the frame. Three innings hence, ‘69 loaded the bases with no outs; Carew led off with a single (the fourth of his four hits), Oliva followed with another single, and Killebrew took four balls for a free pass. Ryan Pressly relieved Gibson, but Carew and Oliva scored on a sacrifice fly and single.

Unlike Game 1, ‘69 was forced to summon multiple relief pitchers to finish the game. Dick Woodson and Bob Miller combined to pitch the sixth through eighth innings; after Miller gave up a single to Grossman to open the ninth, Joe Grzenda came in for a non-save situation finish. He needed only five pitches, as pinch hitter Max Kepler flew out and Buxton grounded into a game-ending double play.

Stars of the Game
‘17 — RP Ryan Pressly: 2.0 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 0 K
‘69 — SS Leo Cárdenas: 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB
‘69 — 2B Rod Carew: 4-5, 2 R
‘69 — 1B Rich Reese: 3-3, 2 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB
‘69 — SP Dave Boswell: 5.0 IP, 2 H, R, ER, 2 BB, 5 K

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