1987: The First World Series Game at Metrodome

Saturday October 17, 1987

Twins 10, Cardinals 1

After three innings of play in the first World Series game ever in the Metrodome, the Twins actually trailed 1-0. Tony Pena led the inning off with a double. He advanced to third on a fly ball, and scored on a ground ball by Jim Lindeman. That was all the offense either team got in the first three innings, as both Frak Viola and Joe Magrane seemed to be cruising along.

That all changed in the fourth inning.

The Cardinals managed a couple of two out singles in the top of the frame but were unable to score. The Twins half of the fourth started like a small-ball dream. Gary Gaetti reached on an infield single. Don Baylor singled to center. Tom Brunansky singled to center to load the bases. Kent Hrbek singled to center, knocking in two. Steve Lombardozzi walked. Tim Laudner singled to right to knock in a run. When Dan Gladden came to the plate, the Twins had a 3-0 lead, the bases were loaded, and nobody was out.

The setup was straight out of the Cardinals playbook. If any team was going to small-ball the other to death, it was going to be the Cardinals, who won 97 games primarily using that strategy. In the midst of the onslaught of singles, Whitey Herzog went to his bullpen, calling for the veteran Bob Forsch.

A one ball, two strike pitch from Forsch to Gladden ended the game of small-ball.

“I thought he threw the guy a pretty good pitch,” said Cardinals pitching coach Mike Roarke. “It was a pretty good breaking ball, but the guy hit it out. It wasn’t like he (Forsch) threw him a hanging pitch. The guy just hit it and you’ve got to give him credit.” (quoted by Doug Grow in the Star Tribune)

The pitch ended up in the left field seats. The Twins took a 7-1 lead, which was more than enough for Frank Viola, who pitched eight innings while allowing only five hits.

Steve Lombardozzi added a two-run home run in the fifth, and Gladden added another RBI on a double in the seventh to cap off the Game 1 victory, 10-1.

Gladden was originally disappointed that the Twins would not be playing his former team from San Francisco. He is now the proud holder of the first World Series grand slam since 1970, and, more importantly, his team is three wins away from the biggest prize.

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