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Updated: Friday October 4, 2002 9:36 AM
  MLB PREVIEW
Oakland Athletics
Team Page |  Schedule |  Injuries
Stats: Batting |  Pitching
Barry Zito W-L ERA
Postseason 0-0 0.00
Career vs. Twins 1-2 5.97
 
Rick Reed W-L ERA
Postseason 0-0 0.00
Career vs. Athletics 0-0 3.00
Minnesota Twins
Team Page |  Schedule |  Injuries
Stats: Batting |  Pitching
Game Time: Oct. 4 4:05 PM EDT |  Today's Scoreboard
  Barry Zito
  Rick Reed

MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- After splitting two games on the road, the Minnesota Twins return to what is expected to be an energized crowd Friday at the Metrodome for Game Three of their American League Division Series with the Oakland Athletics.

Minnesota, in the playoffs for the first time since 1991, overcame a four-run deficit and three errors in Game One at Network Associates Coliseum to post a 7-5 victory on Tuesday.

The Athletics rebounded in Game Two with a 9-1 romp. Eric Chavez hit a three-run homer in the first inning, David Justice ripped a three-run triple to highlight a five-run fourth and lefthander Mark Mulder limited the Twins to one run through six innings.

"We had an opportunity to go home up 2-0 but we are going there 1-1," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It was a disappointing loss for us in that we were blown out."

Despite being in the postseason for the third straight year, the A's drew less than 35,000 fans in each of the first two games. The Twins expect over 50,000 with nearly all waving white "Homer Hankies."

Minnesota, which batted just .252 against lefthanders in the regular season, faces another tough one in Barry Zito on Friday.

Zito (23-5, 2.75 ERA) was the third different 20-game winner in as many seasons for Oakland and led the league in victories. He has one of the best curveballs in the major leagues and finished the regular season by winning eight straight decisions.

The 24-year-old Zito entered the season with an 0-2 record and 10.54 ERA in three appearances against Minnesota. But he went 1-0 in two starts against the Twins this year, limiting them to three runs and 10 hits in 15 innings.

Zito has a win and a loss in a pair of Division Series starts against the New York Yankees, allowing two earned runs and nine hits in 13 2/3 innings.

The Twins ended Oakland's 20-game winning streak with a 6-0 victory here on September 6, but the A's took the final two games of that series. In the finale, Zito tossed seven brilliant innings and became the American League's first 20-game winner in a 6-0 victory.

After that loss, the Twins won eight of their final nine home games to finish 54-27 at the Metrodome, tying Oakland and Anaheim for the best home record in the AL. The Twins are 11-1 all-time in postseason games at the Metrodome.

"Yeah, but they're not 11-1 because of the noise," Justice said. "They're 11-1 because they know how to play at their stadium. They have speed, guys who can chop some baseballs into the turf and get those type of base hits.

"The crowd and the noise, that's not the reason why they're good at home, because they haven't played in front of a crowd like we are going to have here in these two games."

Rick Reed (15-7, 3.78), who went 8-4 with a 3.94 ERA at home this season, takes the mound for the Twins. Reed was 3-0 with a 2.90 ERA in five appearances in September. The righthander started at Oakland on July 2 and did not receive a decision after allowing one run and five hits in seven innings.

Reed pitched in the NL Division Series in 1999 and 2000 with the New York Mets and was 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in a pair of starts.

© 2002 Sportsticker
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