MINNESOTA 2, BOSTON 0 IN BOSTON
Date: Sunday, September 12.
Batting stars: Tony Oliva was 1-for-3 with a triple, a walk, and a stolen base (his nineteenth), scoring once. Bob Allison was 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. Zoilo Versalles was 1-for-4 with two stolen bases (his twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth) and a run.
Pitching star: Mudcat Grant pitched a complete game shutout, giving up four hits and one walk with six strikeouts.
Opposition stars: Earl Wilson pitched eight innings, allowing one run on three hits and no walks with four strikeouts. Jim Gosger was 2-for-4. Frank Malzone was 1-for-4 with a double.
The game: The Twins took a 1-0 lead in the first when Oliva hit a two-out triple and scored on Allison's single. The score stayed 1-0 through eight innings. Neither team even mounted much of a threat--the only player for either team to reach second base in that time was Malzone, who hit a two-out double in the sixth. In the ninth, Versalles singled, stole second and third, and scored on a Don Mincher sacrifice fly. The Red Sox did not get a man past first base in the ninth.
Of note: Jimmie Hall was 0-for-4.
Record: The win was the Twins' fifth straight and made them 92-54. Chicago won and Baltimore did not play, so the White Sox resumed sole possession of second place, nine games behind.
Notes: Oliva's average remained .318...Earl Wilson is another forgotten pitcher of the 1960s. He became a rotation starter in 1961, but really did not hit his stride until he was traded to Detroit in June of 1966 at age 31. After posting an ERA of 4.10 and a WHIP of 1.40 in his seasons with Boston, he went 13-6, 2.59, 1.00 WHIP the rest of the 1966 season with Detroit. He followed that up in 1967 by going 22-11, 3.67, 1.17 WHIP in 1967. In 1968 his won-lost record was not as good, but his other numbers were comparable or better. He continued to pitch well in 1969, but struggled in 1970 and ended his playing career after that season. My first thought was that perhaps the Tigers had some genius pitching coach who helped Wilson in 1966. And maybe he was a genius, but he certain doesn't have that reputation. The Tigers' pitching coach in 1966 was Stubby Overmire.