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10/12/2002 9:08 pm ET
Twins now face must-win scenario
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Minnesota Twins have often had to rely on their survival instincts to battle out of corners. Now they are being forced to use those skills again.
The Twins are one loss away from elimination after being beaten by the Angels Saturday,
7-1, in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series. Anaheim leads the best-of-seven battle, 3-1, and can wrap it up in Sunday's Game 5, set for 3 p.m. CT at Edison International Field.
For the Twins to win the ALCS and advance to the World Series, they will have to win all three of the remaining games in the series.
"They won three (in a row). So can we," said first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, who was left stranded after hitting an eighth-inning double. "We've faced elimination before against the best pitcher in our league and we ended up winning. It can be done."
No one in Minnesota's clubhouse is ready to make winter golf plans yet. The players have embraced their underdog status all year and succeeded at overcoming negative odds.
"We'll just come out banging," center fielder Torii Hunter said. "Our backs are against the wall. There's nowhere to go but fight. That's what we're going to do."
"We came this far," Game 4 losing pitcher Brad Radke said. "Why are we going to quit now?"
For the second straight night, a stellar performance by a Twins starter was trumped by
that of an Angels pitcher.
Radke (2-1) gave Minnesota six sensational innings of two-hit baseball and faced one batter over the minimum. On the other side, Angels rookie John Lackey also put up zeroes
-- with seven scoreless innings and three hits allowed with seven strikeouts.
"Brad pitched his butt off and we couldn't come through for him," Hunter said.
Anaheim's Darin Erstad began the seventh inning with a single then stole second base and advanced to third on catcher A.J. Pierzynski's throwing error.
Troy Glaus, who provided the game-winning homer Friday, hit an RBI single to left field to score Erstad and break the deadlock.
Radke allowed one more run in the inning on a Scott Spiezio RBI double. Anaheim then exploded for five more runs against Minnesota's bullpen in the eighth inning.
With two outs in the ninth inning, the Twins avoided being shutout when Corey Koskie doubled to right field
and scored on David Ortiz's RBI single.
The run was only Minnesota's seventh in four games of the ALCS.
"We have to find a way to score some runs," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "The Angels have pitched us great."
After taking the first game of the series against Anaheim, the Twins still did not expect an easy series. But some are disappointed in how the team has performed in the last three losses.
"I think we got too laid back," Hunter said. "Now these guys are up two games. I'm disappointed in myself and my teammates."
Minnesota won its best-of-five ALDS battle against Oakland after being down 2-1 in that series. They advanced by winning the final two games against elite starters Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder.
"We've been through it with Oakland and their good pitching staff," Hunter said. "We need to up our game to win tomorrow."
In the face of their daunting task, Mientkiewicz said the Twins have nothing to
"If we walk away from here tomorrow and lose, let's make sure we do it the right way," he said. "Let's make sure we let it all hang out. I don't think we've done that the last couple of games."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire expects a big response from his players, especially after they let Saturday's game get away at the end.
"I think they're going to come out madder than hell tomorrow," Gardenhire said. "I can promise you this
-- the Minnesota Twins will show up tomorrow. We're going to try and get this thing back to the Metrodome and go from there."
Anyone who has followed the Twins this season knows not to expect anything less.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached at
email@example.com. This report was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
|Anaheim Angels 7, Minnesota Twins 1|
|Minnesota|| AB|| R|| H|| RBI|| BB||SO||LOB||AVG|
a-Struck out for Rivas in the 8th.
2B: Mientkiewicz (1, Rodriguez), Koskie (2, Weber).
RBI: Ortiz (1).
2-out RBI: Ortiz.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Kielty.
Team LOB: 4.
CS: Pierzynski (1, 2nd base by Lackey/Molina, B).
E: Pierzynski (2, throw), Santana (1, pickoff).
|Anaheim|| AB|| R|| H|| RBI|| BB||SO||LOB||AVG|
|Molina, B, C
1-Ran for Salmon in the 7th.
2B: Spiezio (2, Radke), Fullmer (2, Jackson).
3B: Molina, B (1, Jackson).
RBI: Glaus (2), Spiezio (2), Anderson (2), Fullmer 2 (4), Molina, B 2 (2).
2-out RBI: Spiezio, Anderson, Fullmer 2, Molina, B 2.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Kennedy 3.
Team LOB: 5.
SB: Erstad (1, 2nd base off Radke/Pierzynski).
|Anaheim|| IP|| H|| R|| ER|| BB||SO||HR||ERA|
|Lackey (W, 1-0)
|Rodriguez (H, 2)
Romero pitched to 1 batter in the 8th.
Jackson pitched to 4 batters in the 8th.
IBB: Spiezio (by Jackson).
HBP: Molina, B (by Radke).
Pitches-strikes: Radke 77-54, Santana 12-4, Hawkins 2-1, Romero 4-2, Jackson 8-3, Wells 4-3, Lackey 79-55, Rodriguez 13-9, Weber 15-12.
Ground outs-fly outs: Radke 6-10, Santana 1-1, Hawkins 1-0, Romero 0-0, Jackson 0-0, Wells 0-0, Lackey 9-4, Rodriguez 1-0, Weber 1-1.
Batters faced: Radke 26, Santana 3, Hawkins 1, Romero 1, Jackson 4, Wells 1, Lackey 23, Rodriguez 4, Weber 5.
Inherited runners-scored: Santana 3-0, Hawkins 1-0, Romero 1-1, Jackson 1-1, Wells 1-0.
Umpires: HP: Larry Young. 1B: Dana DeMuth. 2B: Ed Rapuano. 3B: Ed Montague. LF: Mike Everitt. RF: Brian Gorman.
Weather: 68 degrees, overcast.
Wind: 6 mph, Out to LF.
Box score official statistics approved by Major League Baseball and the Office of the Commissioner