May 16: Minnesota 2, Boston 1
Tris Speaker has been used to playing the role of hero for Boston this year, but he felt like the goat in this one.
For 8.2 innings, it was the kind of pitching duel you hope for when the starters with the third and fourth best ERA in the league match up. Roger Clemens and Johan Santana both had shutouts going after six innings. The Red Sox broke the stalemate in the seventh on a Kevin Youkilis double and Carlton Fisk triple, but the Twins answered right back in the bottom of the inning on singles by Cecil Travis, Sam Rice, and Earl Battey.
Al Worthington relieved Santana in the eighth and was excellent in his 1.2 innings. Clemens was still going with the tie knotted at one in the bottom of the ninth when Rice led off with a double. Clemens K’d Battey, got Joe Cronin on a groundout, and induced a fly ball from Rod Carew…that Speaker muffed, allowing Rice to race home for a Twins walk-off.
R H BB BOS 000 000 100 - 1 4 4 MN 000 000 101 - 2 9 2 HR: none starters IP R ER HR BB SO R. Clemens 8.2 2 1 0 2 5 J. Santana 7.1 1 1 0 3 9 BOS 25-12, MN 18-19
May 17: Minnesota 5, Boston 4 (10 innings)
That fantastic series opener was followed by an even better game. It was another excellent duel, this time between starters Cy Young and Camilo Pascual. The Twins were clinging to a 2-0 lead in the eighth before Fisk singled and Bobby Doerr hit a bomb to tie up the game and knock Pascual out.
It was still tied in the top of the 10th when Joe Nathan got the first two Boston batters out. But Wade Boggs doubled, and Speaker homered, tallying the first earned runs against Nathan of the season. Young came out to finish the job in the bottom of the 10th, but Stan Spence led off with a double and Harmon Killebrew took a pitch in the backside. Cronin flew out, and Sox skipper Joe Cronin, who, yes, had also just batted for Minnesota, brought in Jonathan Papelbon to get the final outs. Papelbon got the second one on a whiff of Joe Mauer, but Rod Carew doubled home Spence to cut Boston’s lead to 5-4 with two outs and runners on second and third. Mickey Vernon built on his massively productive season so far and knocked them both in with a double, and the Twins celebrated a second straight walk-off.
R H BB BOS 000 000 020 2 - 4 8 2 MN 000 011 000 3 - 5 10 2 HR: T. Speaker (2), B. Doerr (3) starters IP R ER HR BB SO C. Young 9.1 4 4 0 2 1 C. Pascual 7.0 2 2 1 1 4 BOS 25-13, MN 19-19
May 18: Boston 3, Minnesota 2 (10 innings)
The teams played another fantastic game in the finale. They each had to scratch and claw just to get two runs off starters Smoky Joe Wood and Bert Blyleven. The Twins were set to make it three straight walk-offs after Goose Goslin hit a one-out triple in the ninth, but Wood got out of it with a Stan Spence lineout and Cecil Travis groundout. Poor Al Worthington had another rough night in relief thanks to a Jimmie Foxx bomb in the top of the 10th. Worthington has allowed 13 runs in 10.1 innings, and mostly in high-leverage situations. There was no dramatic 10th inning comeback vs. Papelbon this time as the reliever induced groundouts from all three he faced in the bottom of the 10th.
R H BB BOS 001 100 000 1 - 3 10 5 MN 110 000 000 0 - 2 7 1 HR: J. Foxx (5) starters IP R ER HR BB SO S.J. Wood 9.0 2 1 0 1 2 B. Blyleven 6.0 2 2 0 5 3 BOS 26-13, MN 19-20