Minnesota Twins know just how important game 6 is in the World Series
The 2017 World Series enters game 6, and the Minnesota Twins have experienced just how vital that game is to a championship
In the Minnesota Twins two World Series championships, there was one thing that unified the victories – an important and impactful victory in game 6.
Coming into 1987’s game 6 in the Metrodome, the Twins trailed the Cardinals 3-2. Not only that, but they also had seen their bats go near-dormant in St. Louis. The Cardinals had swept the three games in the National League park by a combined score of 14-5. For a Twins team that had scored 18 runs in the first two games, that was a drastic offensive downturn.
On the hill for the Cardinals was John Tudor. Tudor had held the Twins to a single run in game 3 over 7 innings, allowing 4 hits and 2 walks, striking out 7. The Twins countered with Les Straker.
Down 1-0 before they ever batted, the Twins offense immediately established that this game would not be like the previous game against Tudor. Dan Gladden opened with a triple. After a ground out held Gladden on third, Kirby Puckett drove a single between short and third for the Twins’ first run of the game. Puckett was moved to second on a groundout and then driven in by Don Baylor on a hard single to right to take a 2-1 lead.
The Cardinals would tie the score at 2 in the top of the 2nd, and then in the top of the 4th, they added 2 more runs, tallying another run in the top of the 5th. The Dome began to silence.
Then the Twins bats came alive. Kirby hit a single to open the inning, Gary Gaetti followed with a double to score Puckett. Baylor then followed with a home run, and all of the sudden the game was tied. After Tom Brunansky singled, Tudor was pulled out of the game. After a flyout, Brunansky was sacrificed to second base, where Steve Lombardozzi drove him in with a sharp single to center field, giving the Twins a 6-5 lead.
With the game still tight, the Twins came back to the plate in the bottom of the 7th and had the first two batters at 2nd and 3rd before the first out was recorded. With the bases loaded and 2 outs, Kent Hrbek launched a grand slam to deep center field, putting the game out of reach and sending the Metrodome’s internal sound through the roof.
The Twins would add one more run in the bottom of the 8th to win 11-5 and restore the confidence in the bats as every starter but Tim Laudner had at least one hit, led by Puckett’s 4-4 day with 4 runs scored, a walk, an RBI, and a stolen base.
More from Puckett's Pond
- Minnesota Twins: You Spin Me Right Round, Right Round
- Minnesota Twins: What happens next at Shortstop?
- Minnesota Twins: Grading the Twins’ Joey Gallo signing
- Minnesota Twins: 4 Possible Trade Chips not named Kepler or Arraez
- Minnesota Twins: After missing out on Correa, what comes next?
Coming into game 6 in 1991, the Twins trailed the Atlanta Braves 3 games to 2. They were coming off of the one blowout of the game, the Braves 14-5 defeat of the Twins in game 5 (Braves fans will remind you that the Braves outscored the Twins in the 1991 World Series, but this game is the prime reason why as 5 of the 7 games were 1-run games).
The game featured a match up of two excellent young pitchers, the Twins Scott Erickson against the Braves Steve Avery. In game 3, this same match up led to Avery befuddling Twins hitters over 7 innings while the Braves were able to knock Erickson out before he could even complete the 5th inning.
The Twins came out strong, as Chuck Knoblauch hit a single with one out in the 1st inning and Puckett drove him in with a triple down the third base line. Shane Mack then singled in Puckett, giving the Twins an early 2-0 lead. That lead would hold until the top of the 5th, when Terry Pendleton hit a 2-run home run to tie the score.
Of course, Twins fans know that the Braves weren’t scoreless into the 5th inning without a significant assist by Puckett in the field when he made an incredible catch against the wall in the 3rd inning. Of course it was Puckett who answered when the Braves tied the game with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning to take back the lead.
Erickson pitched into the 7th inning, when Mark Lemke drove a single up the middle. Mark Guthrie was brought in, and he did get a strikeout, but with a wild pitch, walk, and a single, the Braves loaded the bases. Ron Gant drove in a run to tie the game on a groundout, but Carl Willis struck out David Justice to get out of the inning.
Both teams put up zeros for the next few innings, getting into extra innings and working past multiple innings from both teams’ closers. That led to Charlie Leibrandt taking the mound in the 11th inning. Puckett led off the inning, and this ensued:
Once again, Kirby Puckett led the way. On top of the elite defense, Puckett went 3-4 with a triple, home run, and a stolen base.
Next: Twins Bullpen Options for 2018
So, as much fun as this series has been so far, enjoy game 6 tonight as it could be the key to the entire series!