But the Tigers were revived and, with Frank Tanana ready for Game 4, seemed to have a clear pitching advantage. Minnesota manager Tom Kelly had to bring Viola back on three days' rest. But Tanana did not have his best control. "I couldn't get the low strike called," he said and left trailing 4-2 in the sixth, thanks to homers by Puckett and Gagne, four walks, a wild pitch and three hit batters.
Detroit fans will long wonder what went through the minds of the 40-year-old Darrell Evans and his manager in the latter innings of Game 4. Lemon and Evans knocked out Viola with singles, and when pinch hitter Dave Bergman lined a single off reliever Keith Atherton, it was 4-3, and as Gaetti would say, "We were in big trouble. We had to do something to get us out of it." After Mike Heath bunted Evans and Bergman into scoring position, they tried the hidden-ball trick on Bergman. He didn't budge. When Berenguer came in from the bullpen, Gaetti had another idea.
"I know Evans," said Gaetti. "He could see that our infield was playing back. He naturally wanted to get an extra half-step lead in case the ball was hit on the ground. Laudner and I have been playing together for seven years. He knows to look at me in that situation to see if I put on a play. Which, with a lefthanded hitter [Lou Whitaker] up, I did. I tried to warn the third-base umpire, Joe Brinkman, but he didn't hear me." But Brinkman saw what happened well enough. As Berenguer released his first pitch, Gaetti broke for the bag. Evans said, "The pitch was low. I was thinking it might be in the dirt, and I might have a chance to score on a wild pitch. Had the pitch been high, I'd never have taken that extra half step." Laudner came up firing, and Gaetti slapped the tag on the stunned Evans.
Berenguer still wasn't out of it. He walked Whitaker, which gave Anderson the chance to use lefty Matt Nokes—he of the 32 homers—for DH Morrison against a pitcher whom lefties hit much better than righthanders. Anderson let Morrison bat, and he flied out to end the inning. Berenguer got the Twins to the ninth, and this time Reardon did close the victory, 5-3.
Minnesota was even more dominating in Game 5, as Brunansky hit a two-run double to key a four-run second inning that knocked out Alexander once again. Nokes's two-run homer off Blyleven cut the lead to 4-3, but then Blyleven settled down until relief came. First there was southpaw Dan Schatzeder, who got the three lefties at the top of the Detroit order on 12 pitches in the seventh. Then came Berenguer and finally Reardon, while the Twins locked it up with single runs in the seventh and eighth, and three more in the ninth for a 9-5 victory.
More than an hour after the last out, Gaetti finally fought his way through the crowd of reporters and well-wishers in the tiny visitors' clubhouse. "I had hoped this could be a special moment with my teammates," he said, clutching the MVP trophy. "We grew up together. Now, everyone is horning in on us." Welcome, Gary, to the World Series.