MINNEAPOLIS, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Joe Mays allowed a paltry four hits in eight innings Tuesday night, and Eddie Guardado struck out slugger Troy Glaus with the tying run on base in the ninth as the Minnesota Twins edged the Anaheim Angels, 2-1, in Game One of their best-of-seven American League Championship Series.
After getting ripped in Game Two of the Twins' Division Series against Oakland, Mays was asked to contain a team that hit a postseason-record .376 in the first round. He did just that.
The 26-year-old righthander responded with a masterpiece, scattering four singles.
Mays (1-1) allowed an unearned run, did not walk a batter, struck out three, and retired 16 of the last 17 batters he faced.
After an All-Star season in 2001, he endured an injury-filled 2002, going just 4-8 with a 5.38 ERA.
"Tonight, I maintained the strike zone throughout the entire game and gave my team a chance to play behind me," Mays said. "I didn't walk anybody and I didn't strike out a whole lot of guys. That's the type of pitcher I am. That's the type of guy I was last year. Hopefully I can get back to that."
"He had everything," said Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire. "He had his changeup, he had his great fastball moving in and out. That's what we envision with Joe Mays right there, going right at the hitters, making them swing the bats, going right at them, attacking. That's what he did tonight. That's a pretty good performance."
"We knew how good Mays was," said Anaheim shortstop David Eckstein. "We didn't face him this year, but we saw him last year. He was awesome tonight. He was dominating. He had his fastball and sinker working early and he was able to throw first-pitch strikes."
Mays was so dominant late that Gardenhire gave him the option to go out for the ninth. The two agreed to turn the game over to their Guardado, the Twins' All-Star closer.
Guardado struck out Darin Erstad to open the ninth, but walked Tim Salmon on a 3-2 pitch. Chone Figgins came on to pinch-run but Guardado got Garret Anderson to fly out before striking out Glaus looking on a 3-2 pitch.
The Twins got a sacrifice fly from A.J. Pierzynski in the second inning and Corey Koskie's RBI double in the fifth, snapped a 1-1
Anaheim starter Kevin Appier (0-1) pitched well, allowing two runs and five hits in five innings. The veteran righthander walked three and struck out two.
"Ape worked for every out he got," said Angels Nanager Mike Scioscia. "He seemed to be at his best when things got hot. He made some great pitches to (David) Ortiz, to (Torii) Hunter, to keep us in the game. Those guys had a lot of opportunities, and Ape made some terrific pitches to keep us in the game."
Game Two is slated for Wednesday, with the Twins sending veteran righthander Rick Reed to the mound against the Angels' Ramon Ortiz.
"It's a nice feeling to get that first game in front of our people," Gardenhire said. "They were very excited. That was a great baseball game."
"We're not in the driver's seat yet," said Twins first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz. "Seven games is a long time. We have to take this win and come out tomorrow like it's do-or-die."