Twins 11, Red Sox 10 (11 innings)
In a comeback of epic proportions, the Minnesota Twins have taken the American League pennant. And Kent Hrbek is your ALCS MVP.
Building a two-run lead early wasn’t enough for Les Straker. Known for tiring early in games, he ran out of gas in the 5th inning. After getting two outs, the Twins starter allowed five runs before being pulled for Roy Smith, who promptly gave up two more runs on Ellis Burks’s second homer of the series. The Red Sox weren’t done either, as they added two more off a struggling Berenguer. Down 9-2 entering the 8th, the Twins began their miracle push towards the World Series.
Bob Stanley, in relief of Boddicker, had the first bad postseason game of his career thanks to an error by Marty Barrett. With two outs, Greg Gagne belted a three-run shot that put the Twins within three. But not ones to lay down, Rich Gedman led off the 8th with a homer off Berenguer, extending the lead back to four.
After John Moses singled off Stanley to begin the 9th, McNamara went to his closer, Lee Smith. But the Twins batters paid him no mind. After a walk to Bush, a fly out by Puckett, and a single by Gaetti, the Twins were within three runs with just one out. And then Hrbek came to the plate. After working the count to 3-2, Hrbek turned on a fastball, depositing it around Pesky’s Pole. Smith escaped the inning, but the game that was all but over was now headed for extras.
The 10th went by without much fanfare, but the Twins got to Sox southpaw Bolton in the 11th. Tim Laudner pinch-hit for Bush and somehow beat out an infield hit to second. Puckett, second only to Boggs in batting average this season, laid down a perfect sacrifice. And for the second time in the game, Gaetti came through, singling Laudner home. Reardon would try to get through his second inning but would make things interesting. Spike Owen walked before being pinch-ran for by Kevin Romine. But Romine, after watching Boggs pop out to short, was caught dead to rights by Brian Harper trying to swipe second. Barrett extended the game with a single and apparently Tom Kelly had seen enough. Instead of trusting his closer with the game, he went to German Gonzalez, who got Darrell Evans to an 0-2 count when Barrett stole second base. But Barrett remained in scoring position for just one pitch, as Gonzalez got Evans to swing and miss to end the series.
Kent Hrbek, who batted .400 in the series with two homers, including the game-tying blast in tonight’s game, is the easy choice for MVP.
In the 100 series simulated, the Twins won 60 times. Below is the breakdown:
Twins in 4: 10 Red Sox in 4: 4
Twins in 5: 11 Red Sox in 5: 9
Twins in 6: 21 Red Sox in 6: 15
Twins in 7: 18 Red Sox in 7: 12
Stay tuned, as at some point in the future you may see the results of the hypothetical 1988 World Series between the Twins and the Dodgers.
Boxscore and play-by-play below the fold