MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- The Anaheim Angels expected it to be
loud in the Metrodome but were caught off guard by the way Joe
Mays silenced their bats.
Mays allowed four hits in eight superb innings and Eddie
Guardado struck out Troy Glaus with the tying run on base in the
ninth as the Minnesota Twins edged the Angels, 2-1, in Game One
of their best-of-seven American League Championship Series.
After getting ripped in Game Two of the Twins' Division Series
against the Oakland Athletics, Mays was asked to contain a team
that hit a postseason-record .376 in the first round. The
26-year-old righthander responded with a masterpiece, scattering
Mays (1-1) allowed an unearned run, did not walk a batter,
struck out three and retired 16 of the last 17 batters he faced.
After an All-Star season in 2001, Mays endured an injury-filled
campaign this year, going just 4-8 with a 5.38 ERA.
"Tonight, I maintained the strike zone throughout the entire
game and gave my team a chance to play behind me," Mays said. "I
didn't walk anybody and I didn't strike out a whole lot of
guys. That's the type of pitcher I am, that's the type of guy I
was last year. Hopefully I can get back to that."
"He had everything," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He had
his changeup, he had his great fastball moving in and out.
That's what we envision with Joe Mays right there, going right
at the hitters, making them swing the bats, going right at them,
attacking. That's what he did tonight. That's a pretty good
The Angels were impressed with Mays' stuff and approach.
"We knew how good Mays was," Angels shortstop David Eckstein
said. "We didn't face him this year, but we saw him last year.
He was awesome tonight. He was dominating. He had his fastball
and sinker working early and he was able to throw first-pitch
"Mays pitched a terrific ballgame," Angels manager Mike Scioscia
said. "If you look at no runners leading off got on base. When
guys were on base, he made pitches. I don't think he faced,
but, three over the minimum or something like that. He stepped
up and pitched a great game."
Mays was so dominant late that Gardenhire gave him the option to
go out there for the ninth. The two agreed to turn the game
over to their All-Star closer, who endured a rocky outing
closing out the Athletics in Game Five of the Division Series.
Guardado struck out Darin Erstad to open the ninth but walked
Tim Salmon on a 3-2 pitch. Chone Figgins came on to pinch-run
but Guardado got Garret Anderson to fly out before striking out
Glaus looking on a 3-2 pitch.
The Twins got a sacrifice fly from A.J. Pierzynski in the second
inning and Corey Koskie's RBI double in the fifth snapped a 1-1
Anaheim starter Kevin Appier (0-1) pitched well, allowing two
runs and five hits in five innings. The veteran righthander
walked three and struck out two.
"Ape worked for every out he got," Scioscia said. "He seemed to
be at his best when things got hot. He made some great pitches
to (David) Ortiz, to (Torii) Hunter, to keep us in the game.
Those guys had a lot of opportunities and Ape made some terrific
pitches to keep us in the game."
"Obviously, I didn't pitch well enough to win," Appier said.
"But, I feel I threw pretty well. I was able to get us out of
Game Two is slated for Wednesday with the Twins sending veteran
righthander Rick Reed to the mound against the Angels' Ramon
"It's a nice feeling to get that first game in front of our
people," Gardenhire said. "They were very excited. That was a
great baseball game."
"We're not in the driver's seat yet," Twins first baseman Doug
Mientkiewicz said. "Seven games is a long time. We have to take
this win and come out tomorrow like it's do-or-die."
Mays got a double-play grounder in the opening inning and was
staked to a lead in the second. Hunter led off with a double
and took third on a wild pitch. After a foulout, rookie Michael
Cuddyer walked and Pierzynski ripped a sacrifice fly to center
Mays got the first two batters in the third but Adam Kennedy and
Eckstein strung together singles to put runners at the corners.
Erstad followed with an easy bounced to shortstop but Cristian
Guzman allowed the ball to go through his legs for a
Mays retired Salmon on a flyout to center, beginning the string
in which he retired all but one of the next 17 batters
"He changed speeds well and worked in and out," Scioscia said.
"We really couldn't get anything going. Obviously when you're
not getting any leadoff guys on in an inning, it makes it tough.
He pitched a terrific game. That's one of the best games
pitched against us all year."
After Minnesota left two on in the fourth, it capitalized on a
leadoff walk in the fifth. Luis Rivas walked on five pitches,
took second on a one-out single by Guzman and scored when Koskie
lined a double into the right field corner.
"I was really looking for something up," Koskie said. "It was
either an offspeed changeup or split-finger. I was trying to
get something up in the zone, to hit it hard somewhere."
Appier avoided further damage in the fifth by getting Ortiz on a
foulout and striking out Hunter.
Neither team generated much offense over the final three innings
and the teams combined for just nine hits in the contest.
"Nobody was able to get into a rhythm," Salmon said. "(Mays)
didn't walk anybody. He didn't make mistakes. I felt like I
was swinging at his pitches all night. He was on the corners
and had me diving for balls."
"I am not surprised at anything," Erstad said. "I wouldn't have
been surprised if it had been a 15-14 game. Nobody has a
crystal ball. You just go out and make do and try to deal with