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Home not so sweet for Twins10/08/2004 11:00 PM ET
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Heading into the playoffs, the Twins vowed they were a different team, and one that was better built to go farther in the playoffs than the past two years. But after Minnesota's 8-4 loss to the Yankees in Game 3 Friday put them down, 2-1, in the best-of-five American League Division Series, this team is dangerously close to a familiar scenario. Elimination by the Yankees. A short October. A longer offseason. Game 4 is set for Saturday afternoon, again at the Metrodome. If the Twins win, a deciding Game 5 is scheduled in New York. If they lose, the season is over. "We're going to come here with our bags packed and see what happens," Twins left fielder Shannon Stewart said. "This group has been fighting for five years," said right fielder Jacque Jones, whose first-inning home run off Kevin Brown put the Twins ahead, 1-0. "Backs against the wall, faced contraction, all that good stuff. Everybody knows the story. We always find a way to accomplish the things we want to accomplish. Our goal this year is to go to the World Series. To go to the World Series, you have to beat the best team, which is this team here." Jones' blast was one of few balls hit hard off Brown, who allowed just one run over six innings. All but one of the Twins' remaining seven hits off the sinkerball-throwing right-hander were singles. Meanwhile, Twins starter Carlos Silva was on the hook for six runs and 10 hits over five innings. In a pivotal second inning, Silva routinely retired the first two batters in the top of second inning, but found the third out to be elusive when New York collected five straight singles for three runs. Jorge Posada hit a liner to center field that was followed by a roller through the left side by John Olerud. Ticky-tack hits by Miguel Cairo, Kenny Lofton and Derek Jeter all scored runs. "I was mad because I didn't help my team," said Silva, whose opponents batted .373 against him with two outs in the regular season. "They gave me an opportunity to be the third starter and I didn't do the job. I feel bad about that."
A four-run sixth inning, which included Bernie Williams' two-run homer off Silva and Jeter's two-run single off Jesse Crain, helped put the game out of reach for Minnesota."They came out and they knocked the (stuff) out of the ball," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They feathered the ball down the right-field line and the left-field line, and they kind of played a little bit of our game." In the bottom of the sixth, overaggressive baserunning took the Twins out of an inning. Torii Hunter chopped a hit over Alex Rodriguez at third for a double. When Hideki Matsui booted the ball in left field, Hunter tried to stretch for a triple. Matsui recovered the ball quickly and gunned Hunter down with a good throw. Two batters later, Corey Koskie attempted to stretch a liner hit to center field into a double, but was thrown out at second base on a perfect throw by Williams. In what was perhaps a fitting symbol for their night, a would-be spectacular catch by Hunter became a home run by Matsui. On a deep drive to left-center field, Hunter gloved the ball but lost control of it when he slammed hard into the fence. The ball trickled over the wall for a two-run homer off Terry Mulholland.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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