The 1965 World Series featured the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers against the American League champion Minnesota Twins, who had won their first pennant since 1933 when the team was known as the Washington Senators. The Dodgers prevailed in 7 games to capture their second title in three years, and their third since moving to Los Angeles in 1958.
The Twins won the first two games of the series against Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax, but once Claude Osteen shutout the Twins in Game 3, things turned around. The Dodgers proceed to win the three middle games at Dodger Stadium and Koufax would pitch two shutouts including a three-hitter with ten strikeouts to clinch. Ron Fairly hit two home runs for the Dodgers, both in losing efforts.
Series MVP: Sandy Koufax (Los Angeles)
Game 1: Minnesota Twins 8, Los Angeles Dodgers 2
Game 2: Minnesota Twins 5, Los Angeles Dodgers 1
Game 3: Los Angeles Dodgers 4, Minnesota Twins 0
Game 4: Los Angeles Dodgers 7, Minnesota Twins 2
Game 5: Los Angeles Dodgers 7, Minnesota Twins 0
Game 6: Minnesota Twins 5, Los Angeles Dodgers 1
Game 7 (October 14, 1965): Los Angeles Dodgers 2, Minnesota Twins 0
Game 1 was set to be a pitching duel between future Hall-of-Famer Dodgers' Don Drysdale and the Twins' Mudcat Grant (21-7, 3.30 ERA on the year). However, the Twins 3rd inning put any thought of a pitcher's duel to rest. Going into that inning, it was 1-1. Coming out, it was 7-1. It started with a Frank Quilici double to left field, followed by an error by Jim Lefebvre, allowing the pitcher Grant to reach. Then, famed short stop Zoilo Versalles stepped to the plate. He had hit 19 home runs in the regular season and would later win the AL MVP Award for that year. He crushed a pitch from Drysdale for a 3-run home run to make the score, 4-1. However, the Twins scoring wasn't over. With still no one out, left fielder Sandy Valdespino began things again with a double. After a few outs and baserunners, and a single by Harmon Killebrew, the Twins had two runners again. With three straight singles (Earl Battey, Don Mincher, and Quilici), scoring three unearned runs, the Twins had jumped out to a 6-run lead and would never look back, winning the game 8-2. The Dodgers had gotten their runs on a Ron Fairly homer and a Maury Wills bunt single that scored Lefebvre. Grant received the win while Drysdale took the loss.
In Game 2, the Twins again got to a Dodgers ace, this time Hall-of-Famer Sandy Koufax. Also again, the pitcher for Minnesota, this time Jim Kaat shut down the Dodgers offense. This time though, the Twins didn't get their runs until later on. Again though, an error hurt the Dodgers. When Jim Gilliam bobbled the ball at third base, Versalles reached, and ended up scoring on a Tony Oliva double. The Twins went up 2-0 in the series as they prevailed, 5-1 in the game.
In Game 3, Claude Osteen was the pitcher for the Dodgers. With his team down 2-0 in the series, pressure was put on him to have a good start (no MLB team had ever come back from a 3-0 defecit in a series at that time, and no team did for another 39 years (Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS). He was set to face the Twins' Camilo Pascual who had had a very quality year (9-3, 3.35 ERA). In the 1st inning, after a double by Versalles, he was caught stealing home to end the inning. In the 4th inning, with the score at 0-0, Johnny Roseboro put two runs on the board for the Dodgers on a two run single. Osteen, who was shutting out the Twins continued to do so inning after inning, while Los Angeles continued to score runs on a Willie Davis single and a Lou Johnson double in the 5th, and then a Wills double in the 7th. Osteen completed the game by getting backup catcher Jerry Zimmerman to ground into a double play. He allowed only five hits in the contest. He had done what the Dodgers first two aces could not and helped make the series a tight two games to one as the Dodgers won, 4-0.
In Game 4, a rematch of Game 1's pitchers (Drysdale, Grant), this time the Dodgers ace prevailed ending out with game statistics of 2 runs, both earned on five hits and two walks. He had eleven strike outs in the game, fanning Jimmie Hall and Mincher three times each. The Twins' Grant gave up three runs in the first five innings and then was taken out during the 6th inning, when the Dodgers put three more runs on the board, two credited to Grant, while one went to reliever Al Worthington. After that inning, the Dodgers got one more, on a Johnson home run. The Twins had gotten their two runs on home runs from Killebrew and Oliva. Back in form, Drysdale had evened the series up and the Dodgers won, 7-2.
In Game 5, a mirror image of Game 4, the pitcher for the Twins who had done so well in Game 2, Jim Kaat, did not do as well this time, as the Dodgers won their third straight by shutting out the Twins. Koufax had an excellent start, giving up only four hits, one walk, and striking out ten. After Kaat gave up two runs quickly in the first inning, and then again in the third, Dave Boswell came in to attempt to stop the bleeding. Later, Jim Perry did the same. While both faired better than Kaat, Koufax basically put the game out of reach in the 7th, when he helped himself out by hitting a two-run single to score Fairly and Roseboro. The Dodgers won their third in a row and went up 3-2 in the series. The final score was 7-0.
In Game 6, Osteen did not fare quite as well as he had in his last start. In the 4th inning, Battey reached on an error by Dick Tracewski, yet another fielding blunder made by the Dodgers. This was followed by a Bob Allison two run home run. Meanwhile, Grant for the Twins, was on his game once again. Although Grant pitched very well (1 run, 6 hits, 5 strike outs), he also helped himself, similar to Koufax for L.A. the game before, but this time with a towering three-run home run, after Quilici was intentionally walked to get to Grant. A fairly home run, his second of the series, put the Dodgers on the board and made the score 5-1, which would end up being the final, as Grant pitched a complete game.
In Game 7, a series that held many would-be pitching duels, featured one final one. This one was between Kaat and Koufax, two pitchers who had had one good, and one bad start in the series. If everything continued to go the way it had been (each pitcher switching off between bad games and good games), the Twins would have won with Kaat pitching a gem. However, while Kaat's game only lasted three innings, Koufax's was the gem. Coming into Game 7, none of the games featured finals closer than four runs. That changed in this game, which was a barnburner. All the scoring in the game came in the top of the fourth. Manager Sam Mele had an awfully short leash on Kaat, and pulled him quickly in the 4th after three hits and two runs in; one on a home run by Johnson. Worthington, Johnny Klippstein, Jim Merritt, and Perry combined to shut out the Dodgers for the rest of the game. Los Angeles didn't score again after that inning, but didn't need to. Koufax had possibly the greatest playoff game of his career. In his last start, he had given up four hits with ten strike outs. This time around, he gave up three hits with ten strike outs, to help the Dodgers clinch the game, 2-0, and the World Series.
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