MINNEAPOLIS, OCT. 18 -- The World Series had never seen a Metrodome or Homer Hankies or a Kirby Puckett. It seldom has seen back-to-back opening victories like these two.

The improbable Minnesota Twins played another dominating game tonight, getting seven innings of six-hit pitching from Bert Blyleven and home runs from Gary Gaetti and Tim Laudner to start and end their scoring in pounding the St. Louis Cardinals, 8-4, in Game 2 of the 1987 best-of-seven for the championship of baseball.

With a record 55,257 fans jammed into the Metrodome, the Twins had 10 hits off four pitchers and again blew the game open early, sending 11 to bat and scoring six times in the fourth inning. They'd scored seven runs in the fourth inning of Game 1's 10-1 victory.

Cardinals starter Danny Cox, who had pitched brilliantly in Game 7 of the National League playoffs, was hit hard and often tonight, allowing six hits and seven runs in 3 2/3 innings.

"They look pretty good to me," Cardinals Manager Whitey Herzog said of the Twins. "I saw them play Detroit, and they are a hot ball club. We haven't had many big innings against us all year, and we've given up 13 runs in the fourth inning the last two days."

The victory gives the Twins a 2-0 lead and sends the Series to St. Louis for Games 3, 4 and -- maybe -- 5. The Cardinals are hoping that John Tudor can jump-start them in Game 3 Tuesday at Busch Stadium. If ever there was a team that needed it, it's the Cardinals.

Their hope is that a season-long trend will continue. The Twins have been the best team in the big leagues at the Metrodome, where they're now up to an imposing 60-25 record. However, away from the Dome they're 31-53.

The Cardinals will be glad to go after getting outscored 18-5 here in Games 1 and 2, and you have to go back to 1937 to find a World Series that began with two such blowouts. That year, the Yankees blew away the Giants, 8-1 and 8-1, in Games 1 and 2 on their way to a five-game Series victory.

"This place holds the noise," Herzog said of the Metrodome. "Casey {Stengel} said St. Louis holds the heat. This place holds the noise."

No one may compare the '87 Twins and '37 Yankees very often, but for a couple of weeks in October the Twins are on a roll to end all rolls.

"We're on a mission," Gaetti joked. "At least in the Dome. This is what we've been doing all year here. I would expect they'll have the advantage in their place like we do in ours."

How much of a roll? Light-hitting catcher Laudner drives in four runs in Games 1 and 2, this after hitting .191 in the regular season and going one for 14 in the American League playoffs.

How much of a roll? The Twins have 21 hits in two games against arguably the game's best pitching staff. Cardinals starters Joe Magrane and Cox yielded 12 earned runs in 6 2/3 innings.

Twins left fielder Dan Gladden had another RBI tonight, giving him six in two games.

The Cardinals have gotten 14 hits in two games, but only Jim Lindeman's bloop double in Game 1 and Dan Driessen's double off the "Hefty Bag" backdrop in right field tonight have gone for extra bases.

Asked if he was shocked at how a team could win a modest 85 regular season games, then rip off six victories in seven postseason games against Detroit and St. Louis, Twins Manager Tom Kelly said, "Well, I just think that we were the underdogs against the Tigers, and maybe a lot of people saw us for the first time. I don't feel we've shocked anyone. If you pitch good and catch the ball, you've got a chance to win. I guess it's a shock to some people out there."

Rookie Les Straker will try to get the Twins a 3-0 lead Tuesday.

History is now with the Twins, sort of. Teams have gotten off to 2-0 leads in 37 previous World Series and have gone on to win the championship 27 times (73 percent). However, in the last 32 years, only six of 15 teams with 2-0 leads have gone on to win the Series. The Philadelphia Phillies did it in 1980, but the 1981 Yankees, 1985 Cardinals and 1986 Red Sox all had 2-0 leads, only they never got win No. 4.

"Two things mean nothing in baseball," Herzog said. "Last year and yesterday."

It was close for only a while again tonight. The Twins took a 1-0 lead in the second when Cox hung a slider that Gaetti hit 10 rows deep in the left field bleachers.

"It was right in the whomp-'em zone," Gaetti said.

Then, for the second straight night, the Twins sent 11 men to the plate in the fourth inning, this time scoring six runs. With one out, Puckett punched an opposite field single to right. Kent Hrbek singled to right, and Cox wild-pitched them to second and third. He walked Gaetti on four pitches to load the bases.

Cox had barely missed on a half-dozen pitches until then, but at this point, he started missing badly. He got a change-up up, and Randy Bush doubled to left for two runs. Tom Brunansky was walked intentionally to reload the bases and, after Steve Lombardozzi flied out, Laudner singled in two runs. Bush scored the second of those with an acrobatic sideways slide to avoid Tony Pena's tag.

Gladden, who had the grand slam in Game 1, singled to left for another run, and Herzog brought in reliever Lee Tunnell. Greg Gagne singled to right for the sixth run of the inning.

The runs allowed Kelly to remove Blyleven after seven innings and 91 pitches. He was outstanding, striking out eight. His claim to fame has always been one of the greatest curveballs ever, and he had it tonight, especially early when he struck out Driessen and Jose Oquendo on unhittable ones.

Trailing, 7-0, the Cardinals turned a single into a run in the fifth inning. Terry Pendleton led off with the hit, and Curt Ford walked. The runners moved up on Oquendo's grounder, and Pendleton raced home on Pena's grounder to Gaetti.

Laudner homered off Tunnell in the sixth and it was 8-1.

The Cardinals got a run back in the seventh and might have had more if Oquendo hadn't made a base-running mistake.

With two out, Ford and Oquendo singled. Pena dumped a single in front of Puckett to score Ford, but Oquendo tried to take third and was easily thrown out.

That became important because the Cardinals scored twice off Juan Berenguer in the eighth.

"I give our pitchers all the credit," Laudner said. "They kept them off base until we scored some runs. I wouldn't say we're overconfident right now."