DETROIT 5, MINNESOTA 4 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Thursday, September 2.
Batting stars: Tony Oliva was 2-for-4 with a triple and a stolen base (his fifteenth), scoring once and driving in one. Don Mincher was 1-for-3 with a home run (his eighteenth) and two walks. Joe Nossek was 1-for-5 with a walk and two runs.
Pitching star: Dave Boswell struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up three walks.
Opposition stars: Don Wert was 2-for-4 with a home run (his ninth) and two walks, driving in four. George Thomas was 4-for-5 with a double and a stolen base (his second), scoring three times. Joe Sparma struck out nine in seven innings, allowing three unearned runs on six hits and eight walks.
The game: It was a game of missed opportunities for the Twins as they stranded sixteen runners and went an incredible 1-for-17 with men in scoring position. They took the lead 1-0 in the first, scoring on an error, but Wert's two-run single in the third put the Tigers on top 2-1. Oliva singled in a run in the bottom of the third to tie it 2-2, but Wert struck again in the fifth, hitting a two-run homer to give Detroit a 4-2 advantage. The Twins got one back in the fifth on a walk, an error, and two more walks, but left the bases loaded. The Tigers got an insurance run in the top of the ninth and needed it, as Mincher homered in the bottom of the ninth to cut the lead to 5-4. Fittingly, the Twins stranded two runners in that inning. They had six innings in which they stranded two baserunners in addition to leaving the bases loaded in the fifth.
Of note: Zoilo Versalles was 2-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base, his eighteenth. Jimmie Hall was 1-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base, his eighth. Jim Merritt pitched five innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and no walks with three strikeouts.
Record: The loss dropped the Twins to 85-51. Chicago swept a doubleheader from Baltimore, making the Twins' lead 6.5 games.
Notes: Oliva raised his average to .316...The Twins drew ten walks in the game...Jerry Zimmerman caught in place of Earl Battey. Nossek played third base in place of Rich Rollins...George Thomas played for the Twins for part of 1971 and was the head coach of the University of Minnesota from 1979-81.