10/04/2002 9:31 pm ET
Dyed in the wool
Oakland outfielder comes through in the clutch
By Jim Molony / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- A simple plan was what Jermaine Dye called his approach to Minnesota starter Rick Reed, but the effect was momentum-changing and possibly meant the difference between the Twins, and not the A's, facing elimination on Saturday when the two teams meet in Game Four of their American League Division Series.
"Jermaine's homer was huge, we had built a lead but they had came back and
tied it up," teammate David Justice said. "There was a chance the momentum
might swing back their way, but Jermaine's homer took care of that."
Dye had struck out each of the first two times he faced Reed and
to be headed for the hat trick when the Minnesota right-hander quickly went
ahead 0-2 with the game tied at three as Dye led off the sixth inning. The
Twins had scored twice in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game and the
crowd of 55,932 -- the largest crowd in Twins history -- was starting to
turn up the volume.
"Reed likes to get you with pitches off the plate and he doesn't
walk a lot
of batters," Dye said. "My plan was to try to get him to make a mistake with
a fastball in. The first two times he didn't make a mistake, he got me with
This time Reed threw a fastball inside but Dye was ready. He
pitch down the left-field line into the seats to give Oakland a lead it
would never relinquish and chase Reed from the ballgame. The A's went on to
win 6-3 to take a two games to one lead in the best-of-five series.
"He came inside and I was able to drop the barrel of the bat down
around on the ball and hit it out of the park," Dye said.
Dye finished 1-for-4 and is hitting .308 for the series. He has
bases, third on the team in the series behind Ray Durham (10) and Scott
Hatteberg (9). Dye and Justice (.286) have helped protect Eric Chavez (.385)
in the lineup and minimized the impact of Miguel Tejada's poor series.
Tejada is hitting .154 with one extra-base hit and two RBIs.
Dye's heroics meant the A's need only win either Saturday or Sunday
advance to the ALCS, a much better scenario than Dye faced this time a year
ago. He fractured his leg after fouling a pitch from New York's
Orlando Hernandez during the ALDS last year. Dye's season ended Oct. 14 and
the A's were eliminated by the Yankees in Game 5.
"We're in a good position but we still have to win one more and we
let up against that team, they've shown time and time again they know how to
come back," Dye said. "It's nice to be one game away (from winning the
series) but we're not there yet.
True, but they are one huge step closer, and Dye's simple plan
Jim Molony is a writer for MLB.com. He can be reached at email@example.com. This article was not sujbect to approval by Major League