Meeting for the first time since the 1991 ALCS, the Toronto Blue Jays extracted some revenge over the hometown Minnesota Twins with a 5-3 victory in 10 innings at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome before a crowd of 20,134. Devon White homered from both sides of the plate, including an inside-the-park home run, to lead the Jays to the win.
The Twins had defeated the Blue Jays in five games in the 1991 ALCS and then went on to a dramatic seven game World Series win over Atlanta. Both teams were in first place this day. Toronto manager Cito Gaston chose veteran Dave Stieb, who had missed most of the 1991 season with injuries. Minnesota's skipper Tom Kelly picked lefty John Smiley, who had come over from Pittsburgh in the offseason in exchange for Midre Cummings and Denny Neagle.
White led off the game with a home run. But Twins first baseman Kent Hrbek answered with a homer of his own in the second. Then Stieb gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases. Then Toronto right fielder Joe Carter made a nice play on a drive off the bat of Shane Mack to keep it from going past him and holding Mack to a single instead of an inside-the-park grand slam. Two runs scored though and Minnesota led 3-1.
Toronto tied things up in the sixth. With one out, second baseman Roberto Alomar singled and right fielder Joe Carter homered to make it 3-3. Toronto reliever Duane Ward and Minnesota relievers Gary Wayne and Carl Willis kept it tied through nine and sent the game to extra innings.
With one out in the tenth, White hit a ball into the gap in left center. Left fielder Mack tried to make a diving catch, but the ball went by him. Center fielder Kirby Puckett tried to catch up to the ball, but it bounced over his head and on to the wall. White, who claimed he could circle the bases in 13 seconds, was able to score easily and give Toronto a 4-3 lead. White's second homer was hit left-handed and he became the 56th AL player to homer from both sides of the plate in one game. One batter later, Carter reached on an infield single and scored on a double by designated hitter Dave Winfield.
Tom Henke came in to close in the bottom of the tenth. He struck out pinch hitter Randy Bush to start the inning, but Mack reached first on an error by third baseman Kelly Gruber. Twins second baseman Chuck Knoblauch singled to left to move Mack up to second. Puckett followed with a screaming liner to left, but Candy Maldonado was able to snatch it and then throw it back to second for a double play, which somehow ended up being scored 7-4-7-8. Newspaper accounts of the game don't seem to mention anything too unusual about the play.
Toronto would win the AL East in 1992 with a 96-66 record and defeat Oakland in six games in the ALCS. The Twins finished in second, six games behind Oakland. Jack Morris, who had starred for the Twins in 1991, signed as a free agent with Toronto for 1992 and went 21-6 for the Jays, although with a 4.04 ERA. Juan Guzman went 16-5 with a 2.64 ERA. Smiley, expected to pick up the slack for Morris, was 16-9 with a 3.21 ERA.
The Blue Jays moved on to play Atlanta in the World Series. Toronto brought home Canada's first ever World Series championship with a six game win. Catcher Pat Borders won the World Series MVP, although Winfield, long derided by New York fans for his poor postseason play, drove in the winning run in Game 6. Morris went 0-2 in this World Series with an 8.44 ERA. Lefty Jimmy Key won 2 games and Ward won the other two. The Blue Jays would repeat as World Series champions in 1993 while the Twins dropped to sixth place and would not make the postseason again until 2002. And since 1993, the Blue Jays have never been back to the postseason.
Sources: Toronto Star, Star Tribune, Retrosheet, Baseball-Reference.com