- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 9, 2002

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Twins just won't go away. But the team that wasn't supposed to make it to Opening Day isn't a surprise anymore.

Joe Mays shut down Anaheim for eight innings and Corey Koskie hit a go-ahead double last night, lifting the Twins over the Angels 2-1 in the opener of this improbable American League Championship Series.

Before 55,562 screaming, Homer Hanky-waving fans in the Metrodome, and with commissioner Bud Selig watching from a luxury suite behind home plate, the Twins signaled the time has come to forget the Yankees, Braves and other big spenders who have dominated the playoffs in recent years.

And they showed just how dominant they are in the Metrodome, improving to 13-2 there in postseason play. Game 2 is in the dome tonight, with Rick Reed pitching for the Twins against Ramon Ortiz.

The Metrodome was festive and loud for its biggest night since Oct.27,1991, when Jack Morris pitched a 10-inning shutout against Atlanta to win Game 7 of the World Series 1-0. The crowd was on its feet shouting during the key points of the game and throughout the ninth inning.

Baseball owners tried to fold the Twins along with the Montreal Expos last offseason, but were blocked by the Minnesota courts. Since then, the Twins have seemed intent on banging the gavel on all of baseball, wanting to force Selig to hand them the World Series trophy.

"Contract-ula-tions Twins for a superb season/All the way for Bud's sake" read one sign behind home plate.

Anaheim, too, is a surprise to be here. The Angels are seeking their first World Series appearance since joining the major leagues in 1961.

Mays, hit hard by Oakland in Game 2 of the five-game Division eries, shut down the high-flying Angels, who hit .376 in their four-game victory over the four-time defending league champion Yankees the highest average by a team in any postseason series.

Mays allowed only four hits and an unearned run caused by an error by shortstop Cristian Guzman, striking out three and walking none in eight innings. Eddie Guardado pitched a hitless ninth for the save.

Anaheim's Kevin Appier, winless in four postseason appearances, pitched almost as well, giving up two runs and five hits in five innings, but it wasn't enough.

Minnesota went ahead in the second when Torii Hunter doubled, advanced on a wild pitch and came home on A.J. Pierzynski's sacrifice fly.

Anaheim tied it in the third on singles by Adam Kennedy and David Eckstein, and the error by Guzman on a grounder by Darin Erstad that stayed down on the slick artificial surface. Minnesota had the fewest errors in the major leagues during the regular season (74) and Anaheim (87) was second in the AL.

Koskie drove in the go-ahead run in the fifth with a double just inside the right-field line after Luis Rivas walked and Guzman singled.


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