1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Three


Date:  Wednesday, July 30.

Batting stars:  Jim Kaat was 2-for-3 with a double.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-4 with a double.

Pitching star:  Kaat struck out eleven in a complete game, giving up three runs on five his and four walks.

Opposition stars:  Earl Wilson pitched seven innings, giving up an unearned run on seven hits and two walks and striking out one.  Don McMahon struck out two in two perfect innings.  Al Kaline was 2-for-4.

The game:  In the second inning, Norm Cash was hit by a pitch, Jim Price doubled, and Don Wert walked, loading the bases with one out.  Dick Tracewski then reached on an error, bringing home the first run on the game.

It stayed 1-0 until the eighth.  The Twins had some chances.  Harmon Killebrew hit a leadoff double in the second but did not move past second.  George Mitterwald hit a one-out double in the fifth and also did not move past second.  The Twins got a pair of walks in the sixth, putting men on first and second with two out, and got a two-out double from Kaat in the seventh.  Again, the Twins could not get to third base.

The missed opportunities cost the Twins, because in the eighth the Tigers scored twice.  Mickey Stanley and Kaline singled, putting men on first and second with one out.  Willie Horton then hit a single-plus-error, bringing home both runners and making the score 3-0.

The Twins got on the board in the eighth.  Rod Carew reached on an error and scored on Oliva's double, cutting the margin to 3-1.  Oliva advanced to third with none out on a wild pitch.  The Twins did not get a baserunner after that, however, and the score did not get closer.

WP:  Earl Wilson (10-7).  LP:  Kaat (10-7).  S:  McMahon (10).

Notes:  Ted Uhlaender was back in the lineup in left field.  George Mitterwald was behind the plate in place of Johnny Roseboro.  Rich Reese was back at first base, with Killebrew at third.

Carew was 1-for-3 with a walk and was batting .374.  Oliva raised his average to .328.  Reese was 0-for-3 with a walk and was batting .316.  Kaat's ERA was 2.92.

The Twins stranded eight men and were 0-for-12 with men in scoring position.

When I think of 1960s baseball, I tend to think of strikeout artists like Sandy Koufax, Sam McDowell, and Bob Gibson.  It has really been surprising to me to see the number of complete games, or seven-to-eight inning starts, with low strikeout totals.  Kaat struck out eleven in this game, which is obviously not a low total, but it was one of only three times he struck out more than six all season.  His opposite number, Wilson, struck out just one in seven innings.  We've seen a number of games like that, where someone pitches seven innings or more and strikes out three or less.  I suppose that's one of the reasons even average pitchers were able to go deeper into games--they weren't running as many deep counts and weren't striking out (or walking) as many batters.  That's not an old guy rant about how the old days were better, just an observation that the game has changed.

Record:  Minnesota was 63-40, in first place in the American League West, 3.5 games behind Oakland.