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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Angels earn split at Metrodome

MINNEAPOLIS (REUTERS) — So much for Minnesota’s Metrodome dominance.

Darin Erstad and Brad Fullmer homered off Rick Reed as Anaheim built a six-run lead, and the high-flying Angels beat the perky, pesky Twins 6-3 Wednesday night to head home with a split in the first two games of the AL Championship Series.

A night after Joe Mays stymied Anaheim’s high-octane offense in the Twins’ 2-1 opening victory, the Angels got to Reed from the start. Erstad, the No. 2 batter, sent Reed’s sixth pitch over the fence in right-center, where it landed 409 feet away — nestled in a stacked-up seat used for football games.

Anaheim tacked on three more runs in the second, two of them unearned because of a costly error by catcher A.J. Pierzynski — who couldn’t hold on to a throw home after Reed caught a runner off first.

When Fullmer chased Reed with a two-run homer in the sixth, it seemed over. But Minnesota battled right back, knocking Ramon Ortiz out in the sixth when Corey Koskie hit an RBI single and Doug Mientkiewicz, who had three hits, had a two-run single.

Brendan Donnelly replaced Ortiz and got out of the inning, and 20-year-old rookie Francisco Rodriguez struck out two in a 1-2-3 seventh.

After a two-out walk to Torii Hunter and a single by Mientkiewicz put runners at the corners in the eighth, Angels manager Mike Scioscia brought in Troy Percival, whom he had been reluctant to use in the eighth until after the New York Yankees rallied to win the division series opener.

Percival, who hasn’t allowed an unearned run to Minnesota in 35 innings during the regular season, got ahead 1-2 in the count on pinch-hitter Bobby Kielty. With the crowd on its feet, shouting and waving hankies, Kielty took a called third strike over the inside corner. Percival finished up with a perfect ninth for the save.

When the series resumes Friday in California, Jarrod Washburn pitches for the Anaheim against Eric Milton, who no-hit the Angels in September 1999.

With Tuesday’s win, Minnesota improved its postseason record at the Metrodome — where grounders to shortstop can turn into doubles — to 13-2. Reed has two of the Twins’ three postseason losses in the dome.

Anaheim found the solution: Get a big early lead to quiet those homer-hanky-waving fans.

A Metrodome baseball record 55,990 filled the ballpark, and they didn’t like what they saw early. Erstad, 5-for-12 against Reed in his career, put the Angels ahead in the first with his first postseason homer.

After failing to get a leadoff hitter on in the first 10 innings of the series, Anaheim’s first three batters got hits in the second, with Scott Spiezio’s bloop double near the right-field line bouncing over an onrushing Michael Cuddyer to make it 2-0.

After Reed threw out a runner at the plate on a comebacker, Pierzynski’s error cost the Twins, the top-fielding team in the major leagues during the regular season, two more runs.

Reed caught Adam Kennedy leaning and threw to first for the pickoff. Kennedy broke for second, Spiezio then headed home from third, and Mientkiewicz threw to the plate.

But Pierzynski couldn’t handle the throw, which was to the first base side, as Spiezio made contact with him and scored. David Eckstein’s RBI single made it 4-0.

Minnesota, which had just 74 errors in 161 games during the season, had six in seven postseason games. Pierzynski, who had three during the season, has two during the playoffs.

Ortiz, hit hard by the Yankees last Friday, allowed three runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings, repeatedly pitching out of trouble. Minnesota’s leadoff hitters reached in the third, fourth and fifth innings, but one was erased by a pickoff and two by double-play grounders. Anaheim has turned eight already in the postseason.

Reed, 1-3 in seven career postseason starts, gave up six runs — four earned — and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.

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