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1996 AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

Detroit Stars @ California Quakes

Detroit StarsCaliforniaQuakesAL West winner California Quakes (116-46) and AL Central winner Detroit Stars (94-69) meet up for the AL Championship Series. California led the league in scoring (6.0 R/G) and home runs (243) behind a .279/.364/.476 team line and Detroit led the league with the best fielding team overall—a classic story of offense versus defense. Two well-balanced teams face-off in what projects to be a close series.

GAME #1 – Chad Ogea 15-9 (3.37) vs. Alex Fernandez 23-6 (2.52)

The Detroit Stars jumped to an early lead with a Mo Vaughn RBI single in the top of the 1st, but the California Quakes quickly responded with a J. Canseco RBI double in the bottom of the inning. It would be back-and-forth for the remainder of the game. California jumped to a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the second inning off a 2-run J. Valentin home run; but the Stars responded with a 2-out, 2-run 3rd with the help of back-to-back doubles by Bonilla and Mondesi. California again takes the lead in the 4th with a P. O’Neill RBI double, but lose the lead in the 6th when M. Carreon puts one in the seats for 3, followed by a solo home run by A. Gonzalez. The Quakes responded with one run in the bottom of the 6th to make it 7-5, where it would stay until the bottom of the 9th inning. Up 7-5, the Stars’ M. Rivera walks J. Olerud followed by a D. Palmer single; runners on 1st and 2nd with one out. Steinbach launches a high drive between B. Bonilla and M. Cordova scoring both runners. The game is tied at 7, but the Quakes strand the runner in scoring position and head to extra innings. Both teams put two on the board in the 12th, maintaining a 9-9 tie until the 14th. Otero on 1st for the Quakes, Molitor up; Molitor lines it to short left, and the speedy Otero reaches 3rd. Runners at the corners, N. Martin up; Martin grounds to Pendleton at 3rd, and he muffs it; the ball rolls away … it’s all over! Otero scores and the Quakes win 10-9.

DET – 9
CAL – 10

W – T. Hoffman (1-0)
L – B. Ayala (0-1)

HR – J. Valentin (1), R. Mondesi (1), M. Carreon (1), A. Gonzalez (1)
SB – A. Gonzalez (1), L. Castillo (1)
CS – R. Mondesi (1)

GAME #2 – Al Leiter 17-10 (3.55) vs. Jeff Fassero 26-6 (3.04)

Quakes lead 1-0. Once again, the Stars jump to an early lead, a big one. Three straight singles by Hundley, Vaughn, and Bonilla load the bases; a 2-RBI doubly by M. Cordova, a M. McClemore walk, and another 2-RBI double by R. Mondesi gives the Stars a 4-0 lead with runners in scoring position and no outs in the top of the 1st. J. Fassero struck out the final two batters to escape what could have been a disastrous 1st inning. His night was saved, however, by a D. Palmer 3-run home run in the bottom 1st, closing the lead 3-4. Bottom of the 4th, down 3-4, doubles by P. O’Neill and J. Canseco tie the game at 4. Detroit re-takes the lead with a bases-loaded B. Bonilla sac fly, and California re-ties the game in the bottom of the 8th with a J. Canseco solo home run. Tied once again, 5-5 heading to the 9th. Bottom of the 9th, Gilkey on 3rd and Valentin on 1st, one out and P. O’Neill at the dish. W. Blair with the offering … wild pitch! And it’s all over … Gilkey scores! California wins 6-5.

DET – 5
CAL – 6

W – W. Blair (0-1)
L – T. Hoffman (2-0)

HR – J. Canseco (1), D. Palmer (1)
SB – M. McLemore (1)

GAME #3 – Mike Bielecki 10-3 (3.61) vs. Ariel Prieto 9-8 (4.48)

Coming off two high-scoring walk-off wins, California looks to put the series out of reach in Game 3. J. Canseco puts one on the board in the top of the 4th, his second home run in two games, and gives California the 1-0 lead. B. Gilkey extends the lead to 2-0 in the top of the 5th, and T. Hoffman shuts the door with a 2-inning save. California up 3-0.

DET – 0
CAL – 2

W – M. Bielecki (1-0)
L – A. Prieto (0-1)
S – Hoffman (1)

HR – J. Canseco (2)
SB – R. Otero (1), R. Mondesi (2)
CS – B. Gilkey (1)

GAME #4 – Alex Fernandez 23-6 (2.52) vs. Ismael Valdez 13-12 (4.21)

Down 0-3 and in dire need of a win, Detroit jumped to an early lead in the 2nd inning; M. McLemore led off with a double to right, R. Mondesi advanced the runner and H. Morris brought him home on a sacrifice to right. A solo home run by Canseco, his 3rd of the series, tied it up in the top of the 4th. P. O’Neill scored on an error in the top of the 6th to give the Quakes the lead, a lead they would not relinquish. California’s bullpen shuts down the Stars for the remaining 3 innings, giving California the 2-1 win, and the ALCS title.

DET – 1
CAL – 2

W – A. Fernandez (1-0)
L – I. Valdez (0-1)

HR – J. Canseco (3)
CS – J. Kent (1)

California sweeps Detroit. As the series outcome might suggest, the series was a generally lopsided one, with California dominating both defense and offense. California (2.85 ERA) out-pitched Detroit (3.60 ERA) in general. California’s bats stayed hot. Led by B. Gilkey (.438/.526/.625 with 3 runs) and J. Canseco (.412/.524/1.059, 3 HR, 2 2B, 6 RBI, and 4 R), the Quakes batted a team .294/.376/.481 triple slash with 5 HR, 15 2B, and 20 runs. Detroit, however, just could not get the bats going with any consistency. Led by B. Bonilla (.375/.421/.563, 3 RBI and 2 R) and M. Vaughn (.375/.500/.438), the Start batted only .229/.293/.363 with 3 HR and 15 runs over 4 games. Despite the lopsided stats, the series was an exceptionally close one. Three games decided by 1 run, and two walk-off wins. Close indeed. Ultimately, it was California’s bullpen, which held a 0.50 ERA and gave up only 1 ER in 18 IP, anchored by T. Hoffman (2-0, 1 SV, 0.00 ERA), that made all the difference in the series.

1997 MWWL
DRAFT DAY
SUNDAY 09/20/2020
AT 8:00 PM - ET!

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