The World Series came down to Milwaukee, representing the American League, and Fargo, the National League champs. This seemed like a good match-up on paper, and the games did not disappoint.
#2 (AL) Milwaukee Manic Maulers vs. #1 (NL) Fargo Dirtbags
Game 1 was going Milwaukee's way until the 4th inning, when a 3-run homer by Fargo's Greg Burkhart and a Sammy Pierce RBI single erased a 3-0 deficit. Fargo would not trail after that point and went on to a 6-4 home victory to open the series.
Game 2 was very similar to game 1, with Fargo coming up with the big inning when it counted. Tied 2-2 in the 6th, Fargo added 4 runs by stringing together five singles and two walks. That was enough for Chris Siddall out of the Fargo bullpen; he shut out the Maulers over the final three innings to nail down a 6-2 victory.
Game 3 saw the series shift to Milwaukee , and Manic Maulers' starter Graham Costello most certainly felt at home in Wisconsin. He pitched 7 innings of one-hit ball and the Milwaukee offense provided just enough offense to scratch out 2 runs for him. Closer King Burns made it interesting in the 9th, but held on for a 2-1 win behind Costello's great performance.
Game 4 was a wild affair, with both closers blowing save opportunities. Down 3-2 in the ninth, Fargo pushed across two runs to take a 4-3 lead, only to see it surrendered in the bottom of the inning. The teams traded runs in the tenth, and Fargo tallied again in the top of the 12th, hoping to secure a win. But Harold Lewis hit a solo shot to tie the game, and AL MVP Luis Martinez drew a bases-loaded walk to drive in the game-winning run. Final score: 7-6, Milwaukee.
Game 5 saw the first road win of the series. Fargo got both a solid pitching performance from Willie Williams (7 IP, 5 hits, 1 run) and a 3-run 7th (with Willis Petrov and Leo Miller both having RBI extra-base hits) to key a 6-3 win.
So Fargo had a home game and Javier Henriquez on the mound to try and clinch the series. It seemed like a sure thing, but it was not to be. Henriquez made one key mistake- a 3 run homer in the 5th surrendered to Eric Speier. Fargo SS Shawn Butler ran into one in the 8th for a 3-run shot of his own to tie the game, but Martinez and Louie Chang hit back-to-back solo shots in the 10th to beat Henriquez and co. 5-3 to tie the series at 3.
It would all come down to game 7, and it was everything the experts could have predicted. Pierce and Costello both took the ball for their respective teams, and both were very good. Fargo struck first in the second inning, as Tomas DeJesus drove in Greg Burkhart with an RBI single. John Stevenson tied the game for Milwaukee in the 5th, hitting a solo shot off of Pierce, but in the bottom of the inning Fargo got 2 runs off a DeJesus homer and a Rolando James RBI single. Milwaukee only managed two hits after that point, and Fargo had itself a 3-1 victory in game 7 and its first World Series championship.
A great series to cap yet another great season in The Bigs.