Twins look for second gem from victor Mays

Game 1 starter gave 1-3 Twins their only win

Angels pitching rolls on

ALCS notebook

October 13, 2002|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Minnesota Twins pitcher Joe Mays, fresh off Tuesday's Game 1 gem, will attempt to keep his team alive today in the American League Championship Series and force a sixth game at the Metrodome.

Nothing like a little pressure.

In his last start, Mays held the Anaheim Angels to one unearned run over eight innings in a 2-1 victory in Minnesota. He allowed only four hits and didn't walk a batter.

Can he top that performance?

"I don't want to top that," he said. "My job is to go out there and give the team a chance to win. Hopefully I'm able to do that, throw the ball over the plate, allow my team to play some defense behind me, and hopefully we can push a couple runs across the board."

Mays has dealt with more serious fears. He missed three months of the season with inflammation in the muscle and tendon in his right elbow. The Twins transferred him to the 60-day disabled list on May 14.

At least he could trust the Twins' pitching depth, and their big lead in the AL Central. Not having him around for a while wasn't going to crush their year.

"It was easier for me to sit back and allow myself to give the adequate time to get healthy," he said. "But I didn't like coming to the park every day and knowing I couldn't go out there and compete."

Heavenly Angels pitching

The Angels were able to take a 2-1 lead in the series despite batting .212. Credit the pitching, which registered a 2.08 ERA going into last night's 7-1 win.

"Our guys are doing a heck of a job keeping us in games," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We've got to keep giving ourselves the opportunity to play our style of game and to eventually put pressure on clubs, and our way to do it is to put some zeros up."

Noisy group

No matter who wins this series, it's evident that neither team will go quietly.

Their rabid fans won't allow it.

The decibel level at the Metrodome is being challenged at Edison International Field, where the crowd slams together its inflatable Thunder Sticks and cheers wildly every time the Rally Monkey appears on the JumboTron.

With three pitching changes in the seventh inning of Game 3, the monkey got lots of play as his image was superimposed in scenes from the movies Animal House and Risky Business, and an episode of Star Trek.

"Those things they're banging can get very irritating," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said, "but I'm sure our [homer] hankies get irritating, too. We just wanted a bunch of pins to start popping them."

Support for Reed

Gardenhire said he has no reservations about using Rick Reed in Game 6 if the series returns to Minnesota. And he's agitated by suggestions that Reed should be skipped after allowing six runs in 5 1/3 innings in Game 2.

"Rick Reed's fine. He'll want the ball, believe me. He's a big-game pitcher."

Around the horn

Angels rookie Francisco Rodriguez, 20, pitched a scoreless eighth inning, striking out two. He has struck out seven in 3 2/3 innings of the ALCS, and 15 in 9 1/3 postseason innings. ... The Angels' bullpen allowed its first run of the ALCS when the Twins scored once off Ben Weber in the ninth last night. Anaheim's relievers have surrendered one run and four hits, with one walk, in 10 2/3 innings. They've struck out 16 batters. Minnesota's bullpen has allowed six runs and nine hits, with seven walks, in 10 innings.

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