Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Ringo bracket: Twins (87) defeat Blue Jays (87) in six games

Game One: 87 Twins 6, 87 Blue Jays 0
WP: Viola (4-0)
LP: Key (1-2)
HR: Puckett (4), Baylor (3)

Game Two: 87 Twins 13, 87 Blue Jays 1
WP: Blyleven (3-2)
LP: Clancy (0-1)
HR: Smalley (1), Puckett 2 (6), Lombardozzi (2), Gaetti (3)

Game Three; 87 Blue Jays 5, 87 Twins 4
WP: Eichhorn (3-1)
LP: Carlton (0-2)
Save: Henke (6)
HR: G Bell (6)

Game Four: 87 Blue Jays 7, 87 Twins 6
WP: Musselman (2-0)
LP: Carlton (0-3)
Save: Henke (7)
HR: Hrbek 2 (6), Puckett (7)

Game Five: 87 Twins 4, 97 Blue Jays 3
WP: Viola (5-0)
LP: Nunez (0-1)
Save: Reardon (7)
HR: Barfield (2), Hrbek (7)

Game Six: 87 Twins 8, 97 Blue Jays 3
WP: Blyleven (4-2)
LP: Clancy (0-2)
HR: Moseby (4), Gaetti (3), Gladden (1), Whitt (1), Gruber (1)

The Twins longballed their way to the series win, bopping 12 homers in the six games while ace hurlers Frank Viola and Bert Blyleven pitched 35 innings between them in their four starts.

Viola was superb in the Metrodome opener, allowing just four hits and facing just two men over the minimum. He was helped by two double plays and caught stealing. The Twins took a first-inning lead on Kirby Puckett's triple and Kent Hrbke's sac fly. Puckett added a two-run homer in the third inning, and Don Baylor had a two-run shot in the fourth.

Blyleven didn't allow a run in Game Two until the ninth inning. By that time the Twins had battered Jim Clancy and Mike Flanagan for 13 runs on five homers -- a grand slam by Roy Smalley in the fourth, a two-run homer by Puckett in the fifth, a two-run shot by Steve Lombardozzi in the sixth, a two run homer by Gary Gaetti in the seventh and another two-run homer by Puckett in the eighth. Blyleven fanned nine Jays.

The series moved to Exhibition Stadium in Toronto for Game Three, and the Twins jumped out to a 4-0 lead after four innings against Dave Stieb. Les Straker threw six innings of scoreless, four-hit ball, but Steve Carlton entered in the seventh against a string of left-handed hitters. Kelly Bruber pinch hit and singled. Ernie Whitt doubled, and Willie Upshaw tripled home both runners and scofed on Tony Fernandez's grounder to make it 4-3 Twins. With two outs, Lloyd Moseby walked and George Bell homered to give the Blue Jays the lead, and the Twins could do nothing against Mark Eichhorn, Jeff Mussleman and Tom Henke.

The Jays evened the series in Game Four, which pitted the knuckleballing Niekro brothers, Phil for Toronto and Joe for the Twins, against each other. Puckett and Hrbek hit back-to-back homers in the first inning, and Hrbek added a two-run homer in the fourth. The Jays tied it with a four-run outburst in the fifth, with Fernandez and Rance Mulliniks each contributing a pair of RBIs. An Upshaw error helped the Twins score two runs in the top of the sixth. Afer Gruber led off the seventh with a base hit, Carlton again entered and again fared ill -- Upshaw doubled, Fernandez singled and Mulliniks tripled, and the Jays had a 7-6 lead, which again Eichhorn and Henke held.

Viola outdueled Jimmy Key in Game Five, This time it was the Jays who scored early, putting up single runs in the second, third and fourth innings. Key held the Twins scoreless until the eighth. Al Newman led off with a single. One out later, Puckett walked, and Hrbek followed with a game-tying homer, which chased Key. With Eichhorn and Henke hard-used, Jose Nunez entered to get the final outs of the eighth inning and begin the ninth. He left Eichhorn with a bases-loaded. one out jam. Eichhorn got Puckett to bounce back to the mound, but Eichhorn erred on the play, allowing the go-head run to score. Hrbek then grounded into a double play, but the damage was done, and Jeff Reardon worked out of a two-on, no-out jam in the bottom of the ninth to close it out.

The Jays struck quickly in Game Six in the Metrodome, hitting three solo homers off Blyleven in the third inning -- Whitt, Gruber and Moseby. But Blyleven allowed just one more hit the rest of the way and struck out 15 for the game. Meanwhile, the Twins picked up a run in the fourth and erupted for four runs in the sixth. Randy Bush and Tom Brunansky's singles were followed by a double by Greg Gagne. After Lombardozzi squeezed Brunansky home with the tying run, Gladden homered for a 5-3 lead. Gaetti hit a two-run homer in the seventh to add to the cushion.

Player of the series: Split it between Viola and Blyleven. Viola allowed three runs in 17 innings, Blyleven four runs in 18 innings. Blyleven struck out 24 batters in his two starts.

Player availability: Blyleven can (and will) start Game Two with the penalty. The bullpen is fully rested.

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

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