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TWIN NOTES/ AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

Pitching Changes Equal a Record

October 13, 2002|Jason Reid and Mike Hiserman | From Staff Reports

The Twins used five pitchers in the Angels' five-run eighth inning, matching an American League championship series record.

Left-hander Johan Santana started the inning, then Manager Ron Gardenhire went to right-hander LaTroy Hawkins, then back to a left-hander, J.C. Romero, then to right-handers Mike Jackson and Bob Wells before the inning mercifully ended with the Angels getting five hits and having batted around.

So what was the problem? Gardenhire took the blame himself.

"We had all the matchups, it looked like," he said. "What I tried to get done in the last inning never got there."

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Gardenhire met Twin General Manager Terry Ryan when they were with the New York Mets in the early 1980s, Gardenhire then an overachieving utility infielder and Ryan a high-ranking scout.

Their relationship grew after they joined the Twins, Ryan becoming the club's scouting director in 1986 and Gardenhire a minor league manager in '88 after retiring as a player.

Other talented teams have collapsed under the weight of horrible general manager-manager relationships, but the Twins' top officials are doing just fine.

"He treats people with respect," Gardenhire said of Ryan. "He knows the game, he works very, very hard at it, and he's given me this opportunity. He's believed in me and we have a great relationship."

Ryan does not try to do Gardenhire's job, instead letting the first-year manager manage.

"He doesn't want any input into who's going to pitch, who's going to DH," Gardenhire said. "Once we decide on the team, that's my job to do the lineup. That's what a manager needs.

"I've asked him many times, 'What do you think?' He's says, 'That's not my department.' That's pretty good for a general manager."

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Joe Mays plans to stick with what worked.

The right-hander baffled the Angels with a sharp changeup in a Game 1 victory, giving up four hits and an unearned run in eight innings, and he hopes to do it again today in Game 5 of the American League championship series at Edison Field.

"I'm not a power pitcher; there's no chance," Mays said. "I'm a finesse guy. I've got to change speeds, throw the ball over the plate and give the defense a chance."

He did that in his first start in this series, benefiting from good scouting reports.

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Gardenhire made a change in right field in Game 3, starting Dustan Mohr instead of rookie Michael Cuddyer, who misplayed two balls in Game 2.

Mohr, the Twins' best right fielder, was back in the lineup for Game 4.

"Michael Cuddyer's done very well for us, he's swinging the bat good," Gardenhire said. "But I want to make sure we have our best defense out there catching the ball. Any time you make a mistake right now ... it ends up costing you."

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Twin fans are known for waving their Homer Hankies and pumping up the volume in the Metrodome.

The Angels' red-clad supporters made their presence known in Games 3 and 4, annoying the Twins by banging Thunder Stix.

"Those things that they're banging can get very irritating, but I'm sure our hankies get irritating too," Gardenhire said. "We just wanted a bunch of pins to start popping them. It's actually really cool to sit in the dugout, look up in the stands and watch the people standing and cheering. That's what the game's all about."

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The Twins said Game 3 starter Eric Milton would start Game 7, if necessary.

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