Wednesday October 21, 1987
Cardinals 7, Twins 2
In two out of the three previous games, the Twins used a big fourth inning to run away with wins. The Cardinals turned the tables in Game 4.
The Cardinals entered their half of the fourth with a tie score thanks to a Jim Lindeman single in the third that matched the solo home run Greg Gagne hit in the top of the frame. St. Louis went right to work in the fourth. Tony Pena drew a walk from Frank Viola to start the inning, and he was moved the third base by a Jose Oquendo single. With nobody out, Tom Lawless stepped to the plate.
In five major-league seasons, Lawless had hit only two career home runs, though he had done so in limited playing time. His inexperience may have been apparent in the way he reacted to his three-run home run. He trotted slowly and admired his work before flipping the bat straight in the air about half way to first base. Lawless explains himself, recorded in Mark Vancil’s game recap:
“Well, I’ve hit the ball pretty well here before and it hasn’t ever gone out,” Lawless said. “It’s a big stadium, especially for a little guy like myself. I didn’t run because there were guys on second and third and if he catches the ball, I can’t pass up Jose (Oquendo) anyway.
“I watched it hit the back wall and said, `Holy cow, the ball went out.’ I went blank for a second. It never happened to me before. From the fifth inning on I just wanted the game to get over with in a hurry so I could relish the moment, I guess.”
Gary Gaetti was among the Twins who weren’t happy with the slow trot.
“I just think that was something strange for him to do, seeing he’s hit only two home runs,” Gaetti said. “Maybe he knows he could hit 30 or 40 home runs if he played every day. But if you do that enough over a course of a season, he’ll sure get a lot of dents in his helmet.
“If I was a pitcher I wouldn’t forget it. I don’t do that stuff. It’s part of the game that’s not called for. Maybe he was just out of control.”
Frank Viola made an early exit from the game two batters later, but that didn’t slow the Cardinals down. Dan Schatzeder allowed two more hits, including a two RBI double off the bat of Willie McGee, to bring the game score to 7-1 by the end of the fourth inning.
When a Kirby Puckett fifth inning single scored Gene Larkin, Twins’ fans may have thought that their team would start chipping away at the lead. Bob Forsch was able to work his way out of the inning, however, and there was no more scoring in the game.
Ken Dayley pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings to close the game out and even the series.
Player of the Game
Tomorrow Game 5: Bert Blyleven 15-12 4.01 ERA 1.31 WHIP vs Danny Cox 11-9 3.88 ERA 1.48 WHIP
Saturday: Game 6 @ MIN
Sunday: Game 7 @ MIN