Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ringo bracket: Twins (87) defeat Orioles (87) in six games

Game One: Twins 3, Orioles 1
WP: Viola (1-0)
LP: Boddicker (0-1)
Save: Reardon (1)
HR: Hrbek (1)

Game Two: Orioles 7, Twins 4
WP: E. Bell (1-0)
LP: Blyleven (0-1)
Save: Habyan (1)
HR: Lynn (1), Puckett (1), C. Ripken (1)

Game Three: Twins 4, Orioles 1
WP: J. Niekro (1-0)
LP: Schmidt (0-1)
Save: Reardon (2)
HR: Laudner (1)

Game Four: Orioles 6, Twins 4
WP: McGregor (1-0)
LP: Carlton (0-1)
Save: Dixon (1)
HR: Lacy (1), Puckett (2)

Game Five: Twins 4, Orioles 2
WP: Viola (2-0)
LP: Boddicker (0-2)
Save: Reardon (3)
HR: Hrbek (2), C. Ripken (2), Sheets (1)

Game Six: Twins 6, Orioles 2
WP: Blyleven (1-1)
LP: E. Bell (1-1)
HR: Hrbek (3), Murray (1), Brunansky (1), Baylor (1), Gaetti (1)

The Twins bopped nine homers in the six games to overcome a pesky Orioles starting rotation that was repeatedly undermined by shoddy defense. The Twins benefited from seven unearned runs in the series, accounting for 28 percent of their runs.

Game One pitted Frank Viola and Mike Boddicker in a tight duel. Baltimore took the initial lead with an unearned run in the fifth, but in the bottom of the sixth Kent Hrbek unloaded a three-run homer. The Orioles led off the top of the ninth with a pair of singles off Viola, but Jeff Reardon entered to strike out Terry Kennedy, Billy Ripken and Fred Lynn to end the threat and the game.

Bert Blyleven opened Game Two with four hitless innings (although the Orioles manafactured an unearned run in the third), But the Birds erupted for five runs in the fifth, punctuated by a Lynn three-run homer. Ray Knight also doubled home a pair of runs. Eric Bell shut out the Twins through five innings, but was relieved after loading the bases to open the sixth. Kirby Puckett greeted John Habyan with a grand slam, but Habyan didn't allow another hit the rest of the way.

The Twins turned to Joe Niekro for the first game in Memorial Stadium, and the ancient knuckleballer was superb, tossing seven shutout innings. He ran into trouble in the eighth, but Dan Schatzader and Reardon held the damage to one run. The Twins, meanwhile, were held to just three hits in eight innings by Dave Schmidt, but picked up three unearned runs in the fourth inning. Tim Laudner homered in the ninth off reliever Mark Williamson for the final margin.

Baltimore's Scott McGregor outdid Steve Carlton in Game Four's matchup of fading southpaws. Carlton walked eight men in five innings. McGregor held the Twins to three runs, two earned, in seven innings, before Ken Dixon finished up.

The pivotal Game Five again paired Viola and Boddicker, and Viola was again victorious. Boddicker allowed four runs, but just one was untainted by errors. The Orioles got a pair of solo homers, one by Larry Sheets off Viola and the other by Cal Ripken off Reardon. Hrbek's two-run homer in the ninth followed a two-out error by Mike Young.

Baltimore got to Blyleven early in Game Six, with Eddie Murray hitting a two-run homer in the first. But the Twins got homers from Don Baylor (second inning), Hrbek and Brunansky (sixth inning) and Gaetti (seventh inning) to build a cushion. Juan Berenguer went two innings to wrap it up.

Pitcher availability: Niekro and Carlton will be replaced for the second round by Les Straker and Mike Smithson. Blyleven can pitch Game Two with the penalty, Game three without.

Projected rotation: Viola-Blyleven-Straker-Smithson-(Viola)-(Blyleven)-(Straker)

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