DETROIT, OCT. 9 -- If the miracle of Minneapolis continues, the Twins would go to the World Series with the worst winning percentage of any American League team in history.
They finished 85-77, which figures to a .525 percentage. The lowest winning percentage for an AL champion was .551 by the New York Yankees (59-48) in the strike-shortened 1981 season. The worst percentage over a full season was .556 by the 1974 Oakland A's (90-72). The only major league team to make the Series with a worse record was the 1973 New York Mets, who went 82-79 (.509).
The Twins' 4.63 staff ERA is the highest for a team in postseason play. The previous highest was 4.40 by the 1930 St. Louis Cardinals, who played in an era when the league batting average was around .300 for several years.
Hot Dog Refutes His Role
Minnesota reliever Juan Berenguer said he intends to apologize to his former teammates for his actions in Thursday's 6-3 victory. He pitched the last 1 2/3 innings in relief of Bert Blyleven, striking out four of the five Twins he faced. However, the Tigers didn't appreciate his ending every strikeout by making a hand gesture toward the Tigers dugout.
"I wasn't trying to show anyone up," he said. "Sparky gave me a chance to play in '83. He helped me. I did those things, but it wasn't to show anyone up. It's something I've done the whole year."
Anderson complained about Berenguer after Thursday's game, but the Twins wondered if the complaint might not have been two-fold: anger at Berenguer and an attempt to arouse his Tigers.
Anderson knows Berenguer's theatrics more than most people. Berenguer pitched for the Tigers in 1982-85 and won 11 games for the 1984 championship team. At the end of the '85 season, he and catcher Bob Melvin were traded to San Francisco for pitchers Dave LaPoint and Eric King and catcher Matt Nokes.
Madlock's Status Clouded
Bill Madlock's status remains in doubt. He saw a Detroit doctor today about his sore left hand, but no diagnosis was immediately available. He's batting only .226 since the injury, and Anderson said Dave Bergman will be designated hitter Saturday . . .
If the Twins take a 3-0 lead, Minnesota Manager Tom Kelly said he'd probably not use Frank Viola. Instead, he'd give him an extra day off and start him in Game 5. Joe Niekro would start in his place . . .
Outfielder Jesse Barfield, who had been considered eligible for free agency, signed a three-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays several months ago, General Manager Pat Gillick said today . . .
The Baltimore Orioles began fall housecleaning by releasing five players: catcher Floyd Rayford, outfielder Mike Hart and pitchers Tony Arnold, Mike Kinnunen and Luis DeLeon.
Rayford, who made $248,000 last season, had expressed unhappiness with the Orioles, saying in May when he was sent back to Rochester: "I'm going to try to get released."
His .306 led the Orioles in 1985, but he hit .176 in 1986.