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Contraction Sounded Good in 7th

October 14, 2002|BOB SANSEVERE | St. Paul Pioneer Press

What was it like?

"It was just like, 'Wow. Is this really happening?' " A.J. Pierzynski said.

"Tough to swallow," Torii Hunter said.

"I didn't believe it. I didn't believe it was happening," Eddie Guardado said.

They were talking, of course, about the bottom of the seventh inning Sunday.

The Anaheim Angels got out their Thunder Stix in that half of the inning. They scored 10 runs and almost batted around twice.

And everyone knew, when the inning finally ended, that the Twins were about to conclude the season that almost wasn't.

"You just try to be real with yourself," Hunter said. "They had it in the bag when they got those runs."

Yeah, they did. The Angels bagged a trip to the World Series with their 13-5 victory over the Twins. The Angels won all three games in Anaheim to clinch the best-of-seven series, 4-1.

For a brief time, it appeared the series might head back to Minnesota. When the Twins scored three runs in the top of the seventh to take a 5-3 lead, that possibility was on a lot of minds.

And then, as the bottom of the seventh sent them spiraling through the corridors of hell, the Twins realized they would be heading back to Minnesota alone. The Angels would be staying behind to party.

"It was frustrating to see the game slip away right out of our hands," Hunter said.

Through several rounds of interviews after the game, Hunter kept referring to the eight runs the Angels had scored in the seventh inning. Maybe he lost track. Maybe it was just wishful thinking. Eventually, he was told the Angels scored 10 runs.

"It was 10?" he said. "I'll think about that a lot."

Doug Mientkiewicz thought a lot about what all those runs meant as the inning dragged on and on and on.

"We knew we were nine outs away from going home," Mientkiewicz said.

It might have been the only time all season when contraction didn't sound like such a bad idea.

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