MINNESOTA 5, DETROIT 3 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Thursday, July 31.
Batting stars: Rick Renick was 2-for-2 with a home run (his second) and a walk. Cesar Tovar was 2-for-3 with a home run (his fifth) and a walk, scoring twice.
Pitching star: Dave Boswell pitched a complete game, giving up three runs on five hits and a walk and striking out eight.
Opposition stars: Norm Cash was 2-for-4 with a home run, his fifteenth. Ex-Twin Fred Lasher struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up two hits.
The game: Tovar homered leading off the bottom of the first to give the Twins a 1-0 lead. Cash tied it when he led off the second with a home run. Renick homered leading off the bottom of the third to give the Twins a 2-1 lead.
The Twins took control in the sixth. They opened the inning with consecutive singles by Tovar, Rod Carew, Harmon Killebrew, and Tony Oliva, making the score 4-1 with men on first and second. Lasher relieved Tigers starter Mike Kilkenny and gave up another single, this one to Bob Allison, loading the bases. The Twins could only score one more, on a Leo Cardenas sacrifice fly, but it put them up 5-1.
Detroit threatened to get back into it in the eighth. Jim Price and Don Wert singled, and with one out Ike Brown walked to load the bases. Tommy Matchick struck out, but Mickey Stanley delivered a two-run single, making the score 5-3 and bringing the go-ahead run to the plate in the form of Al Kaline. Kaline grounded out to end the inning. The Tigers went down in order in the ninth.
WP: Boswell (12-9). LP: Mike Kilkenny (1-1). S: None.
Notes: Carew was 1-for-4 and was batting .373. Oliva was 1-for-4 and was batting .327.
Renick was playing third, with Killebrew at first and Rich Reese, who was batting .316, on the bench. Frank Quilici came in to play third in the eighth inning and Reese came in to play first in the ninth. The interesting thing about that is that earlier in the season, Billy Martin would routinely move Killebrew from third to first for defense and pull Reese out of the game.
Allison was in left field. Ted Uhlaender came in to play defense in the eighth.
George Mitterwald was again behind the plate instead of Johnny Roseboro.
Kilkenny had done well for five innings, but his final line is five innings pitched, five runs, seven hits, two walks, and one strikeout.
Lasher was a favorite of Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell. He came up with a rhyme to introduce him: "Sound the siren, flash the flasher, here's our fireman, big Fred Lasher."
This was the first big league start for Mike Kilkenny, and his first major league loss. 1969 was his rookie year, and he stayed with Detroit through May of 1972. He was pretty good in 1969--8-6, 2 saves, 3.37, 1.26 WHIP in 128.1 innings (39 games, 15 starts). He was not good in 1970-1971, posting ERAs around five and WHIPs around 1.50. He had an interesting 1972--he started with Detroit, was traded to Oakland in May, traded to San Diego eight days later, and traded to Cleveland in June. He made five appearances for Cleveland in 1973. They wanted to send him to the minors at that point, but he refused and eventually retired from baseball. He apparently pitched in the Intercounty Baseball League, which is in Canada, in 1975 and 1983 (he's a native of Bradford, Canada). He apparently had a fairly successful business career.
Record: The Twins were 64-40, in first place in the American League West, 3.5 games ahead of Oakland. I didn't go back and check, but it seems like the Twins have had about that same lead for at least two weeks now. That had to be kind of frustrating for them, but even more so for the Athletics.