2006 Playoffs Redux: ALCS Game 7

May 28, 2009

Wednesday October 18, 2006
Metrodome

Twins’ Season Ends in Extra Innings, Monroe Sends Twins Packing with Two Home Runs

Just days ago the Twins had a 3-1 lead in the ALCS and what seemed like an absurd advantage with Johan Santana and Francisco Liriano scheduled to pitch Games 5 and 6. That the series even made it to a seventh game was a miracle by the Tigers, and they completed the run with a dramatic Game 7 victory highlighted by Craig Monroe’s 10th inning, game winning home run – his second of the game.

Things looked better for the Twins early in the game. With Kenny Rogers on the mound, Joe Mauer and Michael Cuddyer each knocked in first inning runs, both on ground ball singles.

Then in the second inning, the multi-time Gold Glove winner Kenny Rogers committed two consecutive errors to allow the Twins a 3-0 lead.

Though Radke was perfect the first time through the Detroit lineup, Craig Monroe got to him in the fourth inning with a two-run home run. The score remained 3-2 until the ninth inning.

Joe Nathan had come on to pitch in the top of the eighth with two outs. He promptly retired Magglio Ordonez on a lazy fly ball. The Twins had a lead with Joe Nathan on the mound entering the ninth, about as automatic as it gets. In this series, however, nothing has been automatic for the Twins. Carlos Guillen led off the inning with a double. The next batter, Ivan Rodriguez, took a Nathan pitch between Hunter and Cuddyer for a run scoring triple. With the score tied, Alexis Gomez hit a sacrifice fly to right. Though Nathan retired the next two batters, the Twins entered the bottom of the ninth trailing by one.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Luis Castillo provided some hope when he lined a single to left off of Todd Jones. Nick Punto followed with a single of his own, pushing Castillo to third. Joe Mauer lined the thid consecutive Twins hit to right to tie the score, and Cuddyer grounded out to send the game into extra innings and set up Monroe’s heroics for the Tigers.

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2006 Playoffs Redux: ALCS Game 6

May 27, 2009

Tuesday October 17, 2006
Metrodome

Tigers defeat Liriano, Force Game 7

Magglio Ordonez and hit a two-run home run off of Liriano as part of a 4-2 Detroit win that forces a seventh game in the American League Championship Series.

Ordonez’ bomb came in the fourth inning with Placido Polanco on first thanks to a single. It was Polanco who had started the scoring when he doubled home Craig Monroe in the first inning.

The home run gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead. They added an insurance run after Liriano left the game when Omar Infante homered to deep right center off of Matt Guerrier.

The lead held up despite a ninth-inning rally by the home team. Down by four, Joe Mauer lined a one-out double down the right field line. Two batters later Justin Morneau hit one over the baggie in right-center to cut the lead in half.

The pitch that ended up in the football seats was the final one thrown by Justin Verlander, who allowed just the two runs on seven hits in 8 2/3 innings pitched. He gave way for Todd Jones who got Torii Hunter to ground out to send the series to a seventh game.

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2006 Playoffs Redux: ALCS Game 5

May 22, 2009

Sunday October 15, 2006
Comerica Park

Late Run Lifts Tigers on a Rainy Night, Series Returns to Metrodome

It took more than 71 minutes, but the Tigers finally pushed the eventual game-winning run across the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning.

The inning began with a walk issued to Marcus Thames by Juan Rincon and a light sprinkle from the sky. Rincon went on to strikeout Brandon Inge, but allowed Thames to advance to second on a wild pitch thrown in the first pitch of Omar Infante’s at bat. Infante reached on in infield single, pushing Thames to third, as the rain began to itensify. Before Curtis Granderson could step into the box, the teams were called into the respective dugouts for what turned out to be a 71-minute rain delay.

To just about everybody’s surprise, Ron Gardenhire sent Rincon back out to pitch when play was resumed. He promply allowed a line-drive single to left field that scored Thames and gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead.

After a ground-ball double play got the Twins out of the eighth with no further damage, they had an excellent chance to tie the game in the ninth. With Jamie Walker on the hill and one out, Torii Hunter reached with a single. Pinch-hitter Mike Redmond followed with a single of his own, a line drive to shallow center field. Without hesitating, Hunter sped around second trying for third, but was thrown out be a significant margin when Granderson threw a strike to Inge. It was a gamble that did not pay off, and Walker recorded the final out with a strikeout of Luis Rodriguez.

Johan Santana pitched well, allowing just two runs on three hits over seven innings pitched, but earned a no-decision. He struck out nine Tigers.

The series will shift back to the Metrodome with the Twins still needing just one win out of two games to secure a trip to the World Series.

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2006 Playoffs Redux: ALCS Game 4

May 20, 2009

Saturday October 14, 2006

Hunter’s heroics put Twins on the Verge, One Game Away from the World Series

The Twins, thanks to Torii Hunter’s three-run home run and Boof Bonser’s 7 2/3 innings of work, are one win away from the World Series. To make things worse for the Tigers, the next two pitchers they will face are Johan Santana and Francisco Liriano.

Before the Tigers were able to score the Twins were ahead 5-0. Michael Cuddyer’s first inning RBI single started things off, but it was the four-run third inning that would stand as the game-winner when the night was over. After Justin Morneau lined an RBI single to shallow center, Hunter stepped to the plate to face Jeremy Bonderman with two men on and two men out. Hunter launched a 1-and-2 pitch to deep left field for a three-run home run.

As it turned out, Hunter’s blast was the final scoring play for the Twins, but they managed to hold on for the victory. The Tigers got one of the runs back in the bottom of the third whan Placido Polanco doubled home Curtis Granderson with two outs. They added another run when Carlos Guillen grounded a single between Punto and Barlett in the sixth inning to plate Magglio Ordonez.

Bonser was finally chased from the game in the eighth inning. After retiring the first two batters, he allowed a single to Craig Monroe on what turned out to be his final pitch. Monroe came around to score on Ordonez’s single off of Joe Nathan, making Bonser’s final line on the day three earned runs on six hits in 7 2/3 innings pitched. He also struck out five Tigers and didn’t record any walks.

Joe Nathan, aside from allowing the run charged to Bonser, also gave up a solo shot to Pudge Rodriguez to lead off the ninth inning, the first run charged to Nathan in this playoff season. He went on to retire the next three batters, the final two with strikeouts, to make the final score 5-4 Twins.

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2006 Playoffs Redux: ALCS Game 3

May 18, 2009

Friday October 13, 2006
Comerica Park

Rogers hold Twins in Check, Tigers take Game 3

The Tigers, after dropping the first two games at the Metrodome, knew that Game 3 was a must win. Kenny Rogers took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against his former team to help his current team get back into the series.

Through seven innings, Rogers had allowed just two walks to a Twins lineup that hasn’t seemed to have trouble scoring runs the rest of the playoffs.

Magglio Ordonez hit a sacrifice fly in the third inning to put the Tigers on the board, and Curtis Granderson knocked in a pair of runs with a fourth inning double off of Brad Radke.

The Twins finally got to Rogers in the eighth with three straight singles, the last of which was an RBI single off the bat of pinch-hitter Mike Redmond. It was too little too late, however, as Fernando Rodney and Todd Jones completed the 3-1 victory with scoreless innings of work.

Starters for Game 4 at Comerica Park will be Boof Bonser for the Twins and Jeremy Bonderman for the Tigers.

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2006 Playoffs Redux: ALCS Game 2

May 14, 2009

Wednesday October 11, 2006
Metrodome

Liriano Masterful; Twins Go Up 2-0

The Twins offense scored four runs on 12 hits against Tigers pitching in Game 2 of the 2006 ALCS, which was more than enough for Francisco Liriano.

Liriano’s dominance over the Tigers seemed to be of a different variety than Twins fans are used to. Though he finished with seven K’s, the strikeout was not his main weapon for the bulk of the game. For the first few innings, it was a steady diet of pop-ups and weak ground balls from the Tiger lineup that seemed off-balance from the start. Liriano retired the first seven men he faced before walking Thames in the third inning. The first hit off of Liriano did not come until Thames’ next trip to the plate with two out in the top of the fifth inning.

In all, Lirano allowed just three hits in seven innings of work.

The Twins started the scoring in the third inning with a two-out rally that was started by a Luis Castillo ground-ball single to right. Nick Punto followed by lining a rocket down the right field line that Magglio Ordonez had to dig out of the corner. By the time Ordonez recovered, Castillo had scored and Punto was on third with a triple. Joe Mauer took the next Justin Verlander pitch to the gap in right-center field for and RBI double, his first run batted in of the playoffs.

A lead off double by Justin Morneau in the fourth led to the Twins’ third run when Jason Kubel singled him home with two outs.

The Tigers finally scored in the eighth, after Liriano had left the game. Brandon Inge led the inning off with a double off of Jesse Crain, who was then removed in favor of Dennys Reyes. Vance Wilson came into the game to pinch hit for the lefty Granderson, and delivered with a single to score Inge. The next batter, Omar Infante, hit a sharp ground ball straight to Jason Bartlett at short for an easy double play.

The Twins added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth when Punto and Mauer both reached with no outs. Michael Cuddyer’s ground out scored Punto from third to make the score 4-1 Twins.

Joe Nathan earned the final four outs for the Twins, pitching around a two-out triple in the ninth by Craig Monroe to earn his first save of the ALCS. The scene will shift to Detroit for Game 5 on Friday.

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2006 Playoffs Redux: ALCS Game 1

May 12, 2009

Tuesday October 10, 2006
Metrodome

Kubel Comes Through in 11th, Twins Take Game 1

If the first game is any indication, fans are in for a classic ALCS. The Twins and the Tigers went into extra innings before the Twins finally pulled out their fourth consecutive playoff victory (fifth consecutive victory overall).

While Johan Santana was dealing early, the Twins’ offense got off to a good start. In the bottom of the second inning, Jason Bartlett homered with Rondell White and Phil Nevin both on base to give the home team a 3-0 lead. A Brandon Inge solo shot in the third cut the deficit, but Santana held the Tigers to just that single run until the sixth inning.

With two on and two out in the sixth, Magglio Ordonez homered deep down the left-field line to give the Tigers a 4-3 lead.

That score held until the bottom of the eighth inning. With Fernando Rodney on the mound, Luis Castillo and Joe Mauer both singled to put runners at first and third with two out. It was the first hit of the playoffs for Mauer, but Michael Cuddyer seems to have made a habit of getting big hits this playoff season. He did it again with an RBI single off of Todd Jones that tied the game and ultimately forced extra innings.

Jones stayed in the game and held the Twins scoreless in the bottom of the ninth and tenth. Juan Rincon came on in the ninth inning for the Twins and held the Tigers scoreless, despite allowing a runner as far as third base in the 11th.

It all came to an end in the bottom of the 11th, however, when Cuddyer was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. He advanced to second on a Justin Morneau single, and a Torii Hunter grounder moved the runners over with one out.

In one of the more interesting moves of the game, the Tigers chose to intentionally walk Jason Tyner to load the bases with Jason Kubel on deck. Kubel delivered the single, and the Twins took a 1-0 lead in the series.

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2006 Playoffs Redux: ALDS Stats

May 9, 2009

The Twins swept the A’s, and did so with relative ease in the 2006 (Redux) ALDS. They outscored the opposition 22-8 in the three games played.

Game 1

Game 2

Game 3

As a team, the Twins batted .324/.395/.629 in the three games. Here are the individual numbers:

Cuddyer 14 PA .385/.429/1.077 2 HR 5 R 5 RBI
Hunter 12 PA .364/.417/1.000 2 HR 4 R 4 RBI
Tyner 8 PA .500/.500/.750 2 R
Morneau 13 PA .364/.462/.727 1 HR 2 R 4 RBI
Punto 15 PA .429/.467/.714 2 R 3 RBI
White 12 PA .364/.417/.727 1 HR 1 R 3 RBI
Kubel 1 PA .000/1.000/.000
Castillo 15 PA .308/.400/.308 1 R 1 RBI
Bartlett 12 PA .250/.250/.417 2 R 1 RBI
Nevin 3 PA .000/.333/.000 1 R
Mauer 13 PA .000/.214/.000 2 R

Joe Mauer had a terrible series, but still managed to score a couple of runs. The starting pitchers:

Santana 6 IP 6 H 2 R 2 BB 2 K 3.00 ERA
Liriano 6 IP 5 H 2 R 3 BB 7 K 3.00 ERA
Radke 8.1 IP 5 H 1 R 1 BB 4 K 1.08 ERA

…and the bullpen:

Nathan 2 G 3 IP 3 H 1 BB 1 K 0.00 ERA
Rincon 1 G 1.2 IP 1 H 5 K 0.00 ERA
Guerrier 2 G 2 IP 2 H 3 R 3 BB 13.50 ERA

We’ll see if Joe Mauer can leave his slump behind as the Twins get set for the ALCS against the Tigers.


2006 Playoffs Redux: ALDS Game 3

May 8, 2009

Friday October 6, 2006
Network Associates Coliseum

Sweep is Complete: Twins Dismiss A’s, Await Opponent for ALCS

The Twins scored early and often for the second straight game en route to an 8-2 win that looked almost too easy.  Now the only drama is will it be the Tigers or the Yankees in the ALCS?

Rondell White got the scoring started with a two-run home run off of Danny Haren in the second inning. Though Haren escaped the second with no more damage done, the Twins continued to pour on the runs in the third inning when Michael Cuddyer hit his second home run of the series, also a two-run blast. A Torii Hunter lead-off home run in the fourth inning made the score 5-0 Twins, and Haren’s day was over a bit later in the same inning after giving up a triple to designated-hitter Jason Tyner.

Jason Bartlett singled home Tyner to make the score 6-0 Twins. Justin Morneau’s RBI single in the fifth was the Twins’ seventh run. On the other side of the ball, Brad Radke insured that he would make at least one more start by shutting down the A’s offense. Through eight innings, Radke allowed the A’s just five hits. His first walk of the game didn’t come until the ninth inning, to Frank Thomas, the last batter Radke faced. Thomas came around to score on a Nick Swisher’s two-run single, meaning that Radke’s final line includes the single earned run.

The celebration on the field was short for the Twins, who now await the winner of the Tigers-Yankees series for an ALCS opponent. The Tigers shut out the Yankees 6-0 in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead.

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2006 Playoffs Redux: ALDS Game 2

May 6, 2009

Wednesday October 4, 2006
Metrodome

Twins Jump Ahead Early, Make Liriano’s Postseason Debut a Breeze

Francisco Liriano got more than he could have asked for in his first playoff start: a lot of run support early in the game.

The Twins started the scoring in the second inning against Esteban Loaiza. Michael Cuddyer led off with a double down the third base line. Justin Morneau followed by drawing a walk, and with one out Torii Hunter hit deep fly ball down the left field line that stayed fair and left the park to make the score 3-0.

Though the A’s came back with a pair of runs on a Mark Ellis two-run home run off of Liriano in the top of the fourth, the Twins quickly padded their lead in the bottom of the inning. Jason Tyner led off with a bloop single, but Loaiza retired the next two Twins. With Tyner on second and two out, Nick Punto’s grounder just escaped the glove of A’s first baseman Nick Swisher and made its way into the right field corner for an RBI double. With new pitcher Kirk Saarloos in the game, Joe Mauer drew a walk setting the stage for Michael Cuddyer’s three-run blast into the home run porch in left field. By the time the A’s got out of the fourth inning, the Twins had a 7-2 lead.

The Twins added one more run in the fifth when Jason Bartlett reached with a triple and was knocked home by Luis Castillo’s single down the right field line.

Liriano lasted six innings in his postseason debut. He allowed just the two runs on five hits while walking three and striking out seven. He was replaced for the seventh inning after having thrown 106 pitches.

The A’s got a few runs against the Twins’ bullpen to make the final score 8-4 and give the Twins a two games to none lead in the best-of-five series. The series will shift to Oakland with the Twins needing just a single win to advance.

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