1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred One

MINNESOTA 5, DETROIT 2 IN MINNESOTA (GAME 1 OF DOUBLEHEADER)

Date:  Tuesday, July 29.

Batting stars:  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-4 with two runs.  Rod Carew was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his seventh.

Pitching stars:  Jim Perry pitched eight innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and no walks and striking out two.  Al Worthington pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Jim Price was 3-for-4.  Dick Tracewski was 2-for-3.

The game:  Each team put men on first and second with two out in the second and did not score.  The Twins got on the board in the third.  Perry and Tovar opened the inning with singles.  A ground out advanced them to second and third and Harmon Killebrew was intentionally walked.  Tony Oliva made them pay with a two-run double and Bob Allison followed with an RBI ground out to put the Twins up 3-0.

It went to 5-0 in the fifth.  Tovar led off the inning with a single and Carew followed with a two-run homer.  The Tigers had gotten a two-out double in the third, but then did not get a man past first until the eighth, when Mickey Stanley and Tracewski each got a one-out single.

Detroit finally got on the board in the ninth.  Perry had thrown eight shutout innings, but apparently tired in the ninth.  Willie Horton, Tommy Matchick, and Price all singled, making the score 5-1.  Worthington then came in.  A fly out and a ground out made the score 5-2.  Stanley walked and Tracewski singled, bringing the potential winning run to the plate in the person of Al Kaline.  He grounded to third, however, ending the game.

WP:  Perry (12-4).  LP:  Mickey Lolich (14-3).  S:  Worthington (1).

Notes:  Bob Allison has been playing more in left field lately.  Rick Renick has been playing more third, with Killebrew at first.  It's a sacrifice of offense, not so much with the benching of Ted Uhlaender but with Rich Reese out of the lineup.  Reese was batting .314 with an OPS of .866.  Renick was batting .190 with an OPS of .511, lower than that of Perry.

Mitterwald was again behind the plate, with Johnny Roseboro on the bench.  Presumably this was simply because it was a doubleheader.

Carew was now batting .371.  Oliva was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk, driving in two, and was batting .327.

This was Tovar's fifth consecutive multi-hit game.  He was 11-for-21 with a home run in that span.  His average went up from .255 to .270.

The Twins seem to be going to Worthington more in late-game situations, rather than just using Ron Perranoski in that role.  I don't know why.  Not that Worthington was terrible, but Perranoski had not done anything to warrant losing the closer role.  Perhaps Perranoski was getting tired and it was felt that they needed to give him a break to get ready for the stretch.

MIckey Lolich was a fine pitcher, but the Twins got to him in this game.  He still went seven innings, giving up five runs on five hits and four walks and striking out three.

Tracewski did not start the game, but came in to pinch-run for Jim Northrup after Northrup doubled in the third.  Tracewski had an eight-year major league career, but was never more than a part-time player.  He had two at-bats with the Dodgers in 1962 and then was a reserve infielder for them from 1963-1965.  He got the most playing time of his career in 1964, when he had 304 at-bats.  He batted .247/.315/.326.  That wasn't bad for 1964, but it was as good as it would get for him as a Dodger.  He was traded to the Tigers after the 1965 season for Phil Regan.  He was with Detroit through 1969, only once getting more than 125 at-bats.  His best year as a Tiger was 1967, when he batted .280/.325/.383 in 107 at-bats.  If he could have kept that up he'd have had a solid career, but it appears that was simply a small-sample size fluke.  He was with the Tigers for all of 1969 but was generally used as a defensive replacement at shortstop, as he got only 96 plate appearances.  Amazingly, he drew fifteen walks.  He had more walks than hits, as he went 11-for-79 for an odd slash line of .139/.277/.165.  He had eighteen percent of his hits for the season in this game.  If you believe in "count the rings", he has three World Championships, with the Dodgers in 1963 and 1965 and with Detroit in 1968.  He also got another ring as a Tigers coach in 1984.  He was a minor league manager for Detroit from 1971-1972 and then was a coach from them through 1995, when he retired.

Record:  The Twins were 62-39, in first place in the American League West, three games ahead of Oakland.

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