MINNESOTA 6, SEATTLE 4 IN SEATTLE
Date: Wednesday, April 16.
Batting stars: Rod Carew was 4-for-5 with two doubles. Tony Oliva was 3-for-4 with a walk. Leo Cardenas was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.
Pitching stars: Joe Grzenda struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up two hits and a walk. Ron Perranoski struck out two in 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk.
Opposition stars: Jim Gosger was 3-for-5 with a home run and two doubles. Jerry McNertney was 2-for-3 with a walk. Ray Oyler was 2-for-4. Diego Segui retired all seven men he faced, striking out three.
The game: The Twins jumped on starter Gary Bell for three runs in the first inning. With one out, Minnesota got consecutive singles by Carew, Oliva, Harmon Killebrew, and Graig Nettles. With two out, Cardenas delivered another run-scoring single.
The Twins missed a chance to add to the lead in the second due to some overly aggressive baserunning. Ted Uhlaender was thrown out trying to score from first on a Carew double. Later, with men on first and third, Oliva was caught trying to steal second.
The Pilots also missed some chances stranding two runners in the second and again in the third. They got on the board in the fourth but could have had more, as they put men on second and third with none out but only got an RBI ground ball. An error and another RBI ground ball gave Seattle a run in the fifth, cutting the margin to 3-2. They tied it in the sixth on an RBI single by Oyler and went ahead in the eighth on Gosger's home run.
Jack Aker, who came on in the eighth, tried to close it out in the ninth. With one out, Carew doubled and Oliva singled to tie it 4-4. With Oliva on first and one out, Killebrew was intentionally walked. Nettles flied out. but Rich Reese doubled to left to bring home both runners and put the Twins ahead 6-4.
The Pilots kept trying. Larry Haney walked and ex-Twin Don Mincher singled to put men on first and second with none out in the bottom of the ninth. Another ex-Twin, Rich Rollins, grounded into a double play and Gosger struck out to end the game.
WP: Perranoski (2-0). LP: Aker (0-1). S: None.
Notes: Carew was batting .455 (10-for-22). Oliva was batting .382.
Nettles was again in left, with Killebrew on third and Reese at first. Frank Quilici again went in at third and Cesar Tovar went to left in the ninth.
Dean Chance started for the Twins and pitched five innings. He gave up three runs (two earned) on three hits and five walks and struck out two. There seem to have been a lot of walks in these early-season games. The strike zone had been made smaller that off-season, which may have contributed.
Seattle gave the Twins four intentional walks. Two of them went to Killebrew, including the one in the ninth with Oliva on first base. It was a sign of respect for Harmon, but also probably had to do with the fact that the rookie Nettles was the next batter.
The Twins were now 2-for-9 in stolen base attempts.
Perranoski had now appeared in six of the Twins first seven games, throwing thirteen innings.
All of the Twins first seven games were decided by either one or two runs.
Record: The Twins moved up from last to tied for last. They were actually tied for fourth with California and Seattle, 1.5 games behind Kansas City in a very tight AL West.