In 1986, the Minnesota Twins were a sixth-place team. Then they changed their uniforms in the off-season and in 1987 the Twins were baseball's surprise team, winning the AL West with an 85-77 record.
Because of MLB's awarding home field advantage on a rotating basis rather than on won/loss records, the Twins would host the first two games of the best-of-seven ALCS against the 98-64 Detroit Tigers.
In Game 1, the Twins fell behind 5-4 in the Tigers' eighth inning, but then stormed back with four runs in their half to win, 8-5. The key blow was a bases-loaded single by veteran Don Baylor off Guillermo (formerly Willie) Hernandez that put the Twins ahead, 6-5. Tom Brunansky followed with a two-run double.
In Game 2, the Twins roughed up Jack Morris in winning, 6-3. Six different Twins got the team's six hits in a very balanced attack.
The series moved to Detroit and the Tigers finally drew blood, 7-6, but not before blowing a 5-0 lead, falling behind 6-5, and being rescued by Pat Sheridan's two-run homer in the eighth inning.
In Game 4, the key play of the entire series occurred. It happened in the sixth inning, with the Tigers trying to erase a 4-2 deficit. The Tigers rallied, pulling to within 4-3, with runners on second and third and one out. The Tiger Stadium crowd was roaring. But Darrell Evans, the runner on third, got picked off by catcher Tim Laudner, taking the wind out of the Tigers' sails. The Twins went on to win, 5-3.
Game 5 saw Evans receive a heartfelt standing ovation before his first at-bat, causing the 40-year-old veteran to get emotional. It was Tigers fans' way of forgiving him for the base running mistake of the night before. But the Twins spoiled the party, racing to a 4-0 lead and going on to a 9-5, series-clinching victory. Brunansky had three hits, including a home run, and three RBI.
The Twins went from sixth place to first and then to the World Series, their first appearance there since 1965. Gary Gaetti was the ALCS MVP, batting .300 with two homers and five RBI.By GregEno
- 1987 ALCS, Darrell Evans, Detroit Tigers, Don Baylor, Gary Gaetti, Jack Morris, Minnesota Twins, Pat Sheridan, Tim Laudner, Tom Brunansky