MINNESOTA 12, CALIFORNIA 1 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Sunday, April 20.
Batting stars: Rod Carew was 3-for-5 with a double and two runs. Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and three RBIs. Tony Oliva was 2-for-4 with a home run (his third) and a walk, scoring twice and driving in two. Dave Boswell was 2-for-4 with a triple and scored twice. Johnny Roseboro was 2-for-4 with a double. Ted Uhlaender was 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs.
Pitching star: Boswell pitched a complete game, giving up an unearned run on five hits and six walks, striking out four.
Opposition star: Aurelio Rodriguez was 2-for-4 with a double.
The game: The Twins scored five in the first and led all the way. Their first five batters reached base: Uhlaender walked, Carew singled, Oliva had an RBI single, Killebrew had a two-run double, and Graig Nettles walked. The Angels then replaced starter Andy Messersmith with Clyde Wright. He struck out Rich Reese, but Leo Cardenas walked and Roseboro had a two-run single-plus-error. The Twins led 5-0 through one inning.
California threatened to get back into it in the second, loading the bases with one out, but a pair of foul popups ended the inning. Oliva homered in the second and Uhlaender had a run-scoring single in the third to make the score 7-0. They added three more in the fifth, when Boswell hit an RBI triple, Uhlaender scored him with a single, and Killebrew drove in another run with a single later in the inning.
The lone Angels run scored in the sixth. They again loaded the bases with one out. Boswell nearly got out of it again, getting a popup for the second out, but an error on third baseman Frank Quilici (who had replaced Killebrew at the start of the inning) brought home a run.
The Twins completed the scoring in the seventh. With a man on second and two out, Carew circled the bases on a double-plus-error.
WP: Boswell (1-1). LP: Messersmith (0-1). S: None.
Notes: Nettles was again in left, with Killebrew on third and Reese on first. Cesar Tovar replaced Nettles at the start of the seventh.
Roseboro made consecutive starts behind the plate for the first time all season. He was batting .400.
Oliva was batting .391. Carew was right behind him at .389. Killebrew topped .300 for the first time, at .316.
Wright had both started and relieved to this point in his career. You might think that, coming into the game in the first inning, the Angels would have him go five or six to save the bullpen. They didn't. He pitched one inning and was pinch-hit for by Vic Davalillo. The situation makes it understandable--the Angels had the bases loaded with two out and were only down 5-0. A big hit or two could've gotten them back into the game.
California used three other pitchers, pinch-hitting for each as their turn came up. Phil Ortega pitched three innings, Pedro Borbon one, and Eddie Fisher three.
At this stage, it appears that manager Billy Martin had little hesitancy to remove a pitcher who was struggling, but if you were getting people out he'd leave you in there forever. Complete games are rare these days anyway, but you'd never see one in a 12-1 game. That's not a criticism or a compliment, just a comment that the game has changed.
Record: After opening the season with four consecutive losses, the Twins had won six in a row to make their record 6-4. They were tied for first place with the White Sox.