MINNESOTA 4, CLEVELAND 3 IN CLEVELAND
Date: Sunday, August 15 (Game 1 of doubleheader).
Batting stars: Jimmie Hall was 2-for-4 with a double, scoring once and driving in one. Don Mincher was 1-for-4 with a double, scoring once and driving in two. Sandy Valdespino was 2-for-4 with a run.
Pitching star: Mudcat Grant pitched eight innings, giving up two runs on six hits and three walks with one strikeout.
Opposition stars: Luis Tiant pitched eight innings, allowing one run on three hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Leon Wagner was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his twenty-first) and a walk. Vic Davalillo was 1-for-2 with two walks and a run.
The game: With one out in the second, Hall doubled and scored on an Earl Battey single to put the Twins ahead 1-0. That was it for the scoring until the ninth inning. In fact, from the third through the eighth, each team managed only one hit, each a single. In the ninth, however, Zoilo Versalles and Valdespino greeted reliever Bobby Tiefenauer with singles, and with one out Mincher delivered a two-run double. Hall had an RBI single off Don McMahon to make it 4-0. The Twins would need every one of those runs, because the Indians opened the ninth with a walk and a Wagner's two-run homer. That brought in Al Worthington, who promptly gave up a double to Rocky Colavito. He retired the next two batters, but Chuck Hinton's pinch-hit RBI single made it 4-3. Pedro Gonzalez came up representing the winning run, but he popped up to short to end the game.
Of note: Versalles was 1-for-4 with a run. Tony Oliva was 0-for-4. Battey was 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Record: The win made the Twins 75-42 and increased their lead over Cleveland to nine games. The Indians were now in a tie for second with Detroit, which won the first game of a doubleheader with California and was also nine games back.
Notes: Battey raised his average to .311. Oliva dropped to .306. Hall pushed his average back over the .300 mark at .301...Another forgotten star from the 1960s is Leon Wagner. He started his career with the Giants in 1958 but did not become a regular until he went to the Angels in 1961. He was an all-star for the Angels in 1962 and 1963 and finished fourth in MVP voting in 1962, when he hit 37 home runs. He also received MVP consideration in 1963, 1964, and 1966. The year in-between, 1965, was arguably his best year, as he set career highs in batting average (.294) and on-base percentage (.369) and also hit 28 homers. The Angels traded him after the 1963 season for Barry Latman and a fading Joe Adcock--either he got crosswise with management somehow or the Angels just made a really dumb trade. He appeared in a couple of movies in the 1970s and later owned a clothing store, but eventually fell on hard times. He was living in an abandoned electrical shed next to a dumpster in Los Angeles when he passed away in 2004.