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MLB – 1987 ALCS – Game 1 – The Metrodome – Detroit Tigers VS Minnesota Twins


The 1987 American League Championship Series pitted the American League West champions Minnesota Twins against the Detroit Tigers….the American League East champions….who finished the 1987 regular season with the best record in all of baseball, at 98–64 (.605)….as they won the American League East by two games in thrilling fashion over the Toronto Blue Jays by overcoming a 3 12  game deficit with a week to go….while clinching the division on the last day of the season with a 1–0 win over the Jays. The Twins, by contrast, finished with the worst record of any of the four teams that made the playoffs at 85–77 (.525)….and although they held off the Kansas City Royals by two games to take the American League West….they were clearly seen as the underdogs against the power of the Tigers in the 1987 ALCS. 

The 1987 AL playoffs opened at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome….with the Tigers throwing Doyle Alexander against the Twins’ Frank Viola….when in the bottom of the second, the Twins opened the scoring after 3B Gary Gaetti homered off Alexander to give Minnesota a 1–0 lead….however, Detroit answered back the very next half-inning….as catcher Mike Heath homered off Viola to center field to tie the game. The game remained tied until the bottom of the fifth….when the Twins erupted for three runs as Gaetti led off the inning with his second round-tripper of the game….who was followed by OF Randy Bush stroking a triple to right field and coming home on a double by Tom Brunansky….as 2B Steve Lombardozzi sacrificed Brunansky to third….who scored on a subsequent base hit by Dan Gladden to make the score 4–1.

Detroit staged a comeback at the beginning in the top half of the sixth when OF Kirk Gibson hit a solo home run that inning…. which was followed by Heath ripping an RBI single in the seventh that scored Larry Herndon to cut Minnesota’s lead down to one. In the top of the eighth, the Tigers took a one-run lead with a pair of sacrifice flies off Twins reliever Jeff Reardon….which scored Gibson and Alan Trammell….then in the bottom of the eighth, however, Minnesota took the lead for good….as a double by Kirby Puckett brought Gladden home to tie the game…..and Don Baylor and Brunansky drove in the go-ahead runs off Willie Hernández with a single and double, respectively. A single by Johnny Grubb and a walk to Lou Whitaker was all the Tigers could muster against Reardon in the ninth….as Gibson struck out to give the Twins an 8–5 victory and a 1–0 lead in the series. 

The Twins would go on to win the first of two World’s Championships in the next four years….and as for Detroit, after their elimination in this series….the Tigers would not see the playoffs again for 19 years….when they won the American League Pennant in 2006.  Minnesota won this Series four games to one, en route to winning the 1987 World Series four games to three over the St. Louis Cardinals.

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