In what would turn out to be the last postseason game ever played at Tiger Stadium….the Twins would send future Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven to the mound to face the Tigers’ seasoned vet ace Doyle Alexander.
Minnesota drew first blood in the top of the 2nd….when Tom Brunansky doubled home Gary Gaetti and Randy Bush….but was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a triple. Dan Gladden and Kirby Puckett added RBI base hits of their own to give the Twins a 4 – 0 lead….and that is when Tigers manager Sparky Anderson replaced Alexander with Eric King.
Detroit would cut the Twins’ lead down to one run in the bottom of the 4th….when Kirk Gibson scored on an Alan Trammell single….which was followed by Matt Nokes’ two-run homer. In the top of the 7th, however, the Twins restored their two-run lead when Kent Hrbek singled….then moved to second when Gaetti was hit by a pitch….and took third on a wild pitch by King….after which he scored on a sacrifice fly by Bush.
In the 8th, Tiger reliever Mike Henneman….who replaced King in the 7th….gave up a double to Gladden….followed by a walk to Gagne…..when Puckett grounded to Henneman…..who attempted to initiate a double play….however, 1B Darrell Evans made his second error of the series….thus allowing Gladden to score and make the score a 6 – 3 Minnesota lead. Tigers’ Chet Lemon homered for Detroit in the bottom half of the inning to make it 6 – 4….but that was when the Twins “blew the doors off” in the top of the 9th…..as Brunansky hit his 2nd home run of the postseason…..when Gladden and Gagne followed with consecutive RBI doubles off Henneman and Jeff Robinson.
The Twins sent their ace closer Jeff Reardon to the mound in the bottom of the 8th…..who then closed out the series in the bottom of the 9th…..and although an RBI single by Gibson scored Jim Morrison….Reardon slammed the door shut as he got Matt Nokes to ground out to Reardon to end a 9 – 5 Twins victory….and clinch the franchise’s first World Series berth since 1965.