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All-Time Twins Tournament, Mauer Round, Game 4: The geometry of a fractal

This single game mimics the pattern of the entire tournament.

Minnesota Twins v Oakland Athletics
It’s a pitcher’s duel until the offense goes to work... then it’s over.

Game 4 Lineups

(16) 1969 TWINS (3) 2017 TWINS
29 - Rod Carew - 2B 2 - Brian Dozier - 2B
6 - Tony Oliva - RF 16 - Ehire Adrianza - SS
3 - Harmon Killebrew - DH 22 - Miguel Sanó - DH
20 - Rich Reese - 1B 20 - Eddie Rosario - LF
12 - César Tovar - CF 5 - Eduardo Escobar - 3B
4 - Bob Allison - LF 21 - Jason Castro - C
5 - Leo Cárdenas - SS 25 - Byron Buxton - CF
10 - Rick Renick - 3B 7 - Joe Mauer - 1B
13 - John Roseboro - C 26 - Max Kepler - RF
32 - Dean Chance - P 40 - Bartolo Colón - P


The first three rounds of this tournament were battles.

In the Walter Johnson Round, five of eight matchups lasted the full five games, as did one apiece in the Harmon Killebrew and Kirby Puckett Rounds.

But through the Joe Mauer Round’s first three games, ‘69 dominated ‘17, winning all three games and maintaining control of the final round.

Like a portion of a fractal showing the figure’s entire image, Game 4 — the final game — reflected that pattern exactly.

After masterful pitching performances by Bartolo Colon and Dean Chance, both bullpens gave up run after run. However, ‘69 took the lead for good in the eighth and hammered away in the ninth to extend it, their 7-3 victory ending the tournament with a definitive sweep.

Before the late-inning onslaught, the game was a tightly-matched pitching battle, with neither Colón nor Chance allowing a run through five innings. Facing a lineup that had tallied seven or more runs in each game of the final round to that point, Colón lasted seven innings, throwing 87 pitches and allowing only six hits, three coming in the sixth inning.

That inning saw the scoring change for the first time, as John Roseboro started the frame with a single, and Rod Carew launched a two-run home run over the wall in right. After Tony Oliva followed with a double, ‘17’s bullpen began warming up, and it appeared Colón’s day was over. But Colón buckled down, forcing a foulout from Harmon Killebrew for some breathing room. Colón intentionally walked Rich Reese to set up a double play, and a double play he got, César Tovar grounding into a 5-4-3 twin killing to keep the number on the scoreboard at 2.

But while Colón pitched well, Chance dominated, not allowing a hit until Jason Castro’s single in the fifth inning. Despite a high pitch count and four walks, Chance did not allow a run, though ‘17 developed an opportunity in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Chance walked Brian Dozier and Ehire Adrianza before being removed from the game, having thrown 93 pitches without making it through the sixth inning. Bob Miller entered and kept ‘17 off the board, striking out Miguel Sano and getting Eddie Rosario to ground to second.

However, Miller faltered in the seventh, allowing ‘17 to take their first lead of the game. Miller faced three batters, all of whom reached base — Eduardo Escobar singled, Castro walked, and Byron Buxton singled — to put three aboard with nobody out. Al Worthington came in from the bullpen, but Joe Mauer lined his first pitch into right field, Escobar scoring easily and Castro beating Tony Oliva’s throw to the plate, tying the score. Max Kepler walked to reload the bases, but the offensive pressure ended there. Although Dozier brought home the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly, Adrianza and Sanó struck out, turning what could have been a monster inning into merely a good one.

With a one-run lead and Carew due up second in the inning, ‘17 went to their own bullpen, bringing Matt Belisle in to keep the lead. ‘69 would have none of such plans, as Roseboro, Carew, and Oliva — all of whom recorded hits off Colón in the sixth — each singled, Oliva’s hit tying the game and putting runners on the corners with nobody out. Harmon Killebrew worked the count full before smacking a ground ball to short; with no play at home, Adrianza started a 6-4-3 double play while Carew crossed the plate, bringing the lead back to ‘69. Belisle struck out Rich Reese, giving ‘17’s lineup the task of coming back from only a one-run deficit.

However, not only did ‘17 go down in order in the eighth, that deficit got worse in the ninth. Trevor Hildenberger entered to keep the score at 4-3, but ‘69, seeing Hildenberger for the first time in the series, did not let him complete the inning. Tovar opened with a double, and after pinch hitter Charlie Manuel struck out, Leo Cárdenas brought in Tovar with a single. That single was the only non-extra-base hit allowed by Hildenberger, as after Rick Renick flew out, Roseboro and Carew hit back-to-back RBI doubles, scoring two more runs and extending the score to 7-3. Ryan Pressly came out of the bullpen and got Tony Oliva to ground into an inning-ending out, but against a strong ‘69 pitching staff, ‘17 needed four runs to keep the series from lasting just three more outs.

They would not get one, in part thanks to some defensive changes. While closer Ron Perranoski entered in a non-save situation to put a quick end to the series, Frank Quilici (who had pinch-run for Roseboro in the top of the inning) stepped in at third base, George Mitterwald came in behind the plate, and Ted Uhlander took over in left field.

The inning started hopefully as Buxton opened with a single to center, stealing second on the first pitch to Mauer. With the infield shifted rightward, Mauer drove a hard ground ball towards the opposite field; Quilici made a diving backhand stop, holding Buxton at second, and threw out Mauer. Robbie Grossman pinch-hit for Kepler and struck out, bringing up Dozier as the final chance for ‘17. On a 2-0 count, Dozier sent a fly ball down the left field line; the ball landed in Uhlander’s glove, officially making the 1969 Twins your All-Time Twins Tournament champions.

Stars of the Game
‘69 — 2B Rod Carew: 3-5, HR, 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI
‘69 — SP Dean Chance: 5.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 2 K
‘69 — C John Roseboro: 3-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI
‘69 — SS Leo Cárdenas: 3-4, R, RBI
‘17 — SP Bartolo Colón: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
‘17 — CF Byron Buxton: 2-4, R, SB

Series MVP
Leo Cárdenas (‘69 SS)
7-14, 2 HR, 2 2B, 5 R, 7 RBI
.500/.529/1.091 slash line

I’ll make one final post tomorrow recapping the series.

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