Monday, July 6, 2015

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

Game One: 87 Twins 8, 87 Royals 6
WP: Frazier (1-0)
LP: Farr (0-1)
Save: Reardon (4)
HR: Lombardozzi (1), Balboni (2), White (1), Puckett (3), Wilson (1), Gaetti (2)

Game Two: 87 Royals 5, 97 Twins 4
WP: Leibrandt (1-0)
LP: Blyleven (1-2)
Save: Quisenberry (3)
HR: Brunansky (2)

Game Three; 87 Royals 7, 87 Twins 4
WP: J Davis (1-0)
LP: Berenguer (0-1)
HR: Tartabull 2 (2)

Game Four: 87 Twins 7, 87 Royals 2
WP: Smithson (1-0)
LP: D. Jackson (0-1)
HR: Baylor (2)

Game Five: 87 Twins 5, 87 Royals 2
WP: Viola (3-0)
LP: Saberhagen (0-1)
Save: Reardon (5)
HR: Butera (1), B Jackson 2 (2), Hrbek (4)

Game Six: 87 Twins 3, 87 Royals 1
WP: Blyleven (2-2)
LP: Leibrandt (1-1)
Save: Reardon (6)
HR: L. Smith (1)

The Twins held the Royals to a total of five runs in the final three games to advance to the third round.

Game One, in the Metrodome, featured plenty of longballs. Kirby Puckett homered in the first inning off Bret Saberhagen. Steve Balboni and Frank White hit solo shots off Frank Viola in the second, and Willie Wilson touched 'em all in the fifth.

At that point, the Royals led 5-2, and they made it 6-2 in the seventh when Balboni drew a bases-loaded walk off George Frazier. But Dan Gladden led off the eighth with a single. One out later, Kent Hrbek walked, and Gary Gaetti homered. Bob Shirley relieved Saberhagen, and Don Baylor pinch-hit for Randy Bush to draw a walk. Steve Farr entered, and gave up a single to Tom Brunansky, a walk to Greg Game and a bases-clearing double to Tim Laudner.

The Royals bounced back quickly in Game Two, tagging Bert Blyleven for four runs in the first inning. Bo Jackson had a two-run double in the outburst. Brunansky hit a three-run homer as the Twins tied it in the second. Blyleven and Charlie Leibrandt settled down into the seventh, when the Royals got three consecutive singles from Wilson, George Brett and Danny Tartabull to break the tie.

The series shifted to Kansas City, and the Royals again took an early lead in Game Three. Tarabull hit a two-out homer off Les Straker, and two walks later Jackson singled home Kevin Seitzer. Mark Gubicza held the lead into the fifth, when the Twins had seven straight batters reach base in a four-run inning. Tartabull hit another homer in the sixth as the Royals tied the game at 4, and he singled home a run in a three-run seventh. John Davis threw three perfect innings in relief for the win. Tim Laudner was injured for the duration of the series in this one and was replaced on the roster afterwards by Sal Butera.

Mike Smithson came through for the beleagured Minnesota pitching staff in Game Four, throwing a five-hit complete game. The Twins scored four times off Danny Jackson in the fifth inning to break a 1-1 tie, the big blow a three-run homer by Baylor. Baylor added a fourth RBI in the seventh. Tom Nieto and George Brett were injured in this game and were each replaced on the roster.

Game Five saw Butera in an unlikely hero's role. The third and final catcher for Minnesota hit a three-run homer in the second inning off Saberhagen. Hrbek homered in the fifth. Viola surrendered a pair of solo shots to Bo Jackson and narrowly avoided a third but pitched into the ninth as the Twins took a 3-2 lead in the series.

Back in the Metrodome, the Twins scored a run in the first inning on a Gladden double, Puckett single and a Hrbek double-play grounder. They added another in the second when Brunansky scratched out an infield single and Al Newman tripled. They picked up another in the fifth on singles by Newman, Butera and Puckett. Meanwhile, Blyleven threw shutout ball into the eighth, when Lonnie Smith homered. Juan Berenguer struck out three men in an inning of relief, and Jeff Reardon retired Willie Wilson with two on in the ninth to end the game and the series.

Player of the series: Not a clear-cut choice, but I'll go with Smithson, whose complete-game win started a string of strong pitching performances for the victors.

Player availability: If Nieto is active for the third round, he cannot play until Game Three. Blyleven can pitch Game Two with the penalty.The bullpen will be fully rested.

Projected rotation: Viola-Blyleven-Straker-J Niekro-(Viola)-(Blyleven)-(Straker)

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