In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com
It’s no place like home in the dome, as the Minnesota Twins become the first team to play indoors to play in and win the World Series as they beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-2 in Game 7 at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. All seven games in the Fall Classic were won by the home team, with the Twins completing a season-long trend of dominating at the Metrodome, as Frank Viola with his second win was named series MVP.
The 1987 Minnesota Twins came out of nowhere to win the American League West. A year earlier they lost 91 games, as Tom Kelly took over as manager near the end of the season, becoming the full-time manager after the season. As the 1986 season came to an end, Bert Blyleven told fans that with some additions the Twins could win the World Series in 1987. Taking advantage of a weak American League Western Division the Twins, won their first division title since 1970, posting a record of 85-77. The Twins path to the division title came through their home in the dome as they posted a record of 56-25 in front of their home fans at the Metrodome while posting a horrendous 29-52 mark away from the Twin Cities. As the Twins made their stunning run to the postseason, fans began waving Homer Hankies to spur on their team. In the ALCS, the Twins sparked by the first two games at home upset the Detroit Tigers in five games to advance to the World Series for the first time since 1965.
The St. Louis Cardinals after a frustrating injury-plagued season in 1986 returned to the top of the National League East led by Manager Whitey Herzog, posting a record of 95-67 with a team built on speed and aggressive base running. In the NLCS the Cardinals were pushed to the limit by the San Francisco Giants, as Jeffrey Leonard had a monster series and won MVP honors in a losing effort as the Cardinals winning the last two games at Busch Stadium advanced in seven games.
History was made the first pitch, as the Minnesota Twins hosted the first World Series game played indoors as Frank Viola opposed Joe Magrane in the opener. While Magrane was on the mound, the Cardinals must have felt like they had a migraine as the Metrodome exceeded 110 decibels when Dan Gladden capped a seven-run rally in the fourth inning with a grand slam. The Twins would also get a homer from Steve Lombardozzi to win the opener 10-1 as Viola allowed one run on five hits in eight innings to earn the win. In Game 2, the Twins used the big fourth inning again to break the game open as Randy Bush and Tim Laudner had two RBI each to build a 7-0 lead, as Bert Blyleven earned the win as Minnesota won 8-4.
Coming home to Busch Stadium, the Cardinals got a boost as they had their ace John Tudor on the mound. Tudor and Twins Rookie Les Straker matched zero for zero, until the sixth inning when Tom Brunasky gave Minnesota a brief 1-0 lead on an RBI single. However, the Cardinals would rally against the Twins bullpen scoring three runs off an ineffective Juan Berenguer sparked by Vince Coleman’s two-run double in the seventh inning to win the game 3-1. The Twins looked to bounce back in Game 4 with Frank Viola on the mound against Bob Forsch. The Twins scored first with Greg Gagne leading off the third inning with a home run. The Cardinals answered back with an RBI single by Jim Lindeman in the bottom of the inning. In the fourth inning, the Redbirds took the lead on a stunning three-run home run by Tom Lawless, who had just two hits in 25 at-bats during the regular season. The Cardinals would go on to win the game 7-2 to even the series. In Game 5, the Cardinals got an outstanding start from Danny CoxTom Brun, white Curt Ford opened the scoring with a two-run single in the sixth inning as the Cardinals won 4-2 to take a 3-2 series lead.
The 1987 World Series featured a lot of firsts, as it had the first game played in a dome and the first series where the home team won all seven games. It also had the last daytime start in the history of the Fall Classic as Game 6 back at the Metrodome had a first pitch time of 3:00. Looking to clinch their tenth World Championship, the Cardinals had John Tudor on the mound against Les Straker. The Cardinals took an early lead on a home run by Tom Herr in the first inning, while Twins answered back with two runs in the bottom of the first on RBIs from Kirby Puckett and Don Baylor. Jose Oquendo tied the game with an RBI single in the second inning. In the fourth inning, St. Louis regained the lead chasing Straker from the game on RBIs from Terry Pendleton and Oquendo. The Cardinals extended their lead to 5-2 as Willie McGee drove home Ozzie Smith with an RBI single of Dan Schatzeder in the fifth inning. In the bottom of the fifth, the Twins bats came alive, as Kirby Puckett led off with a line drive single and later scored on a double by Gary Gaeitti. One batter later the game was tied on a home run by Don Baylor. After Tom Brunansky single, John Tudor was relieved by Ricky Horton who gave up the go-ahead run to Steve Lombardozzi. In the sixth inning, the Twins loaded the bases against Bob Forsch, with the game in the balance lefty specialist Ken Daley came on with two outs to face Kent Hrbek, who took the first pitch he saw out to centerfield for a game-breaking Grand Slam. The Twins would go on to win the game 10-5 to even the series at three games apiece.
Game 7 would feature a rematch of the opening game as Frank Viola again opposed Joe Magrane. The Cardinals got an early lead with run-scoring hits by Tony Pena and Steve Lake in the second inning. Steve Lombardozzi put the Twins on the board with a single in the bottom of the second, In the fifth inning, Magrane was relieved by Danny Cox who gave up a game-tying double to Kirby Puckett. Minnesota took the lead in the sixth inning on a two-out single by Greg Gagne. After his struggles in the second inning, Viola was nearly perfect, allowing two hits over his final six innings with six strikeouts. In the eighth inning, the Twins would get some breathing room on an RBI double by Dan Gladden to make it 4-2. In the ninth inning Twins Closer, Jeff Reardon retired the side in order as Willie McGee grounded out to third to end the series. For his two series wins, Frank Viola would be named World Series MVP.
The Minnesota Twins would light the home fires again in 1991, beating the Atlanta Braves in the second World Series in which the home team won all seven. Dating back to 1965, the Twins are 0-9 in three World Series appearances at home of the National League Champion, while holding an 11-1 record at home, including games played at Metropolitan Stadium in 1965. The only loss was a Game 7 loss to Sandy Koufax and the Los Angeles Dodgers.