BALTIMORE 6, MINNESOTA 2 IN BALTIMORE
Date: Thursday, May 22.
Batting stars: Tony Oliva was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk. Rod Carew was 2-for-4 with a walk. Ted Uhlaender was 2-for-5.
Pitching stars: Jim Perry pitched six innings, giving up two runs on five hits and one walk and striking out five. Bob Miller retired all four men he faced.
Opposition stars: Frank Robinson was 3-for-4 with a home run (his twelfth), scoring twice and driving in two. Marcelino Lopez pitched five shutout innings of relief, giving up three hits and a walk and striking out three. Dick Hall pitched two shutout innings, giving up three hits and a walk. Ed Watt pitched two shutout innings, giving up two hits and striking out one.
The game: It was another game of missed opportunities for the Twins. It started well, as their first five batters reached base. Uhlaender singled, Carew walked, Oliva and Harmon Killebrew delivered RBI singles, and Charlie Manuel walked. Five batters into the game, the Twins led 2-0 and had the bases loaded with none out. And that was all the runs they would get for the game. Baltimore starter Jim Hardin was removed after the first four batters. Lopez came in and walked Manuel, but Graig Nettles was caught looking and Leo Cardenas hit into a double play.
For a while it looked like that might be enough. The Orioles put two on with two out in the second but did not score. The Twins put men on first and third with none out in the third but did not score. Baltimore had the bases loaded with two out in the fourth but did not score. So the score was still 2-0 through five.
Robinson put the Orioles on the board in the sixth, leading off the inning with a home run. Boog Powell followed with a double but was stranded, so the Twins still led 2-1. The Twins missed another chance to add to the lead in the seventh. They started the inning with two singles and a walk but lost a runner on the base paths and a Killebrew double play ended the inning.
It all fell apart in the bottom of the seventh. After Mark Belanger led off with a double, Perry was replaced by Ron Perranoski, and for the first time all season Perranoski simply didn't have it. They didn't pound the ball, but Don Buford, Paul Blair, and Robinson all singled, giving Baltimore a 3-2 lead. A run scored on a ground out, Elrod Hendricks and Brooks Robinson each walked, and Dave Johnson hit a two-run single that made the score 6-2. Miller came in to retire Belanger on a ground out to end the inning, but the damage had been done. The Twins did not get a man past first base after that.
WP: Hall (3-1). LP: Perranoski (3-2). S: Watt (4).
Notes: Carew raised his average to .381. Manuel was 1-for-3 with a walk and was batting .333. Oliva raised his average to .301. Johnny Roseboro was 1-for-2 and was batting .300.
Perranoski's ERA jumped from 0.59 to a still good 1.74. Miller's ERA fell to 2.04.
In the fourth, Roseboro beat out a bunt single and was forced at second. He was replaced by George Mitterwald in the bottom of the inning, so one assumes he was injured, or at least shaken up a little. He would be back in the lineup the next day.
The Twins had eleven hits and three walks, but only scored two runs. Ten of the hits were singles, with the other being a double. They stranded ten and were 2-for-9 with men in scoring position. They hit into two double plays.
Nettles started at third base but was pinch-hit for in the third inning by Cesar Tovar. It gained a platoon advantage, but it seems very early in the game to use a pinch-hitter. Men were on first and third with one out--perhaps Billy Martin was getting frustrated with the missed opportunities. It didn't work, as Tovar struck out.
With one out and a man on third in the seventh, Hall intentionally walked Oliva to bring up Killebrew. It makes some sense, but I suspect there weren't too many times in Killebrew's career that the batter in front of him was intentionally walked. It worked, as Harmon hit into a 5-4-3 double play.
One wonders if Hardin had something wrong with him, only pitching to four batters, or if Earl Weaver just had that quick of a hook. Hardin had struggled in April, but pitched quite well in three appearances (two starts) in May. He would not pitch again until June 8, though, making one think there may have been a physical problem involved.
Record: The Twins were 20-15, in second place in the American League West, one game behind Oakland.