1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Twenty-one


Date:  Tuesday, August 19.

Batting stars:  Rich Reese was 2-for-5.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his thirty-fourth) and two walks.

Pitching star:  Dean Chance pitched 2.2 perfect innings of relief, striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Carl Yastrzemski was 2-for-5 with a grand slam (his thirty-second homer), scoring twice.  Dalton Jones was 2-for-5.

The game:  Reese led off the second with a double.  He was still on second with two out, but Johnny Roseboro walked and Jim Perry delivered a two-out single to get the Twins on the board.  The Twins stretched the lead in the third.  Ted Uhlaender singled and scored from first on a Cesar Tovar double.  Tony Oliva doubled to score Tovar and later came around to score on an error, putting the Twins up 4-0.

The lead didn't survive the third inning.  Don Lock and Mike Andrews drew one-out walks.  Jones then singled and Yastrzemski hit a grand slam to tie it 4-4.  The Twins took the lead back in the fourth.  They loaded the bases with one out on walks to Roseboro and Perry and a hit-by-pitch by Uhlaender,  Tovar hit into a forceout at the plate, but a throwing error by catcher Russ Gibson, in an attempt to turn a double play, allowed two runs to score and gave the Twins a 6-4 lead.

The Red Sox cut into the lead in the fifth.  With two out and none on, Yastrzemski and Reggie Smith singled and Rico Petrocelli hit a ground-rule double to make it 6-5.  In the seventh, Jones singled and scored on a Smith triple, tying it 6-6.

In the ninth, however, it was Killebrew to the rescue.  Tovar walked with one out and Killebrew followed with a two-run homer to put the Twins in the lead 8-6.  Chance, who had come on in the seventh after the Smith triple, retired the side in order in the ninth, and in fact retired all eight men he faced.

WP:  Chance (4-2).  LP:  Sparky Lyle (6-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Tovar was again at second base and Uhlaender in center.  Charlie Manuel started in left, but was replaced by Rick Renick, who pinch-hit for him in the seventh.  This time, Billy Martin made the defensive move we suggest a few days ago, putting Frank Quilici at second base and moving Tovar to left field, leaving Killebrew to man third base.

Reese raised his average to .339.  Oliva was 1-for-5 and was batting .321.

Perry pitched six innings, allowing six runs on seven hits and three walks and striking out seven.  His ERA went up to 2.96.  Chance's ERA went down to 2.84.

Dalton Jones, who played more games at second and third than anywhere else, was at first base for the Red Sox.  George Scott, who played way more games at first base than anywhere else, was at third.

Bill Lee pitched two-thirds of an inning in this game, giving up a walk.  He was not "the Spaceman" yet, as 1969 was his first season. He had come up in late June and was used almost exclusively out of the bullpen, making one start at the end of the season.  He was only twenty-two, and probably not ready yet--he went 1-3, 4.50, 1.62 WHIP.  He was with the Red Sox for two months in 1970, then missed the rest of the season, presumably due to injury.  He was a pretty good reliever in 1971-1972, then became a starter.  He made his only all-star team in 1973, when he went 17-11, 2.75, 1.23 WHIP.  He was a good starter through 1975, leading the league in innings in 1974 with 320.  He averaged 17 complete games and 290 innings a year over three seasons, and it eventually took its toll.  He struggled through three more seasons with Boston, then was traded to Montreal.  He bounced back with one more good season in 1979, going 16-10, 3.04, 1.24 WHIP for the Expos.  He went back to the bullpen in 1981 and had another pretty good year, going 5-6, 2.94, 1.17 WHIP with 6 saves.  He made seven more appearances in 1982, but then was done as a big-leaguer.  His career numbers are 119-90, 19 saves, 3.62, 1.36 WHIP.  He pitched 1944.1 innings in 416 games, 225 of them starts.

Record:  The Twins were 72-49, in first place in the American League West, 2.5 games ahead of Oakland.