1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Twenty-six


Date:  Monday, August 25.

Batting star:  Ted Uhlaender was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Dean Chance pitched four shutout innings of relief, giving up one hit and two walks and striking out three.  Ron Perranoski pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Frank Howard was 4-for-4 with a home run (his fortieth) and a walk, scoring three times.  Future Twin Brant Alyea was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Ken McMullen was 2-for-5 with two RBis.  Darold Knowles pitched two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.

The game:  Howard homered with two out in the first to give the Senators a 1-0 lead.  In the bottom of the first, Uhlaender singled, was bunted to second, and scored on a Tony Oliva single to tie it 1-1.

Washington went back into the lead in the third.  Ex-Twin Zoilo Versalles was hit by a pitch, Howard singled, and a wild pitch put men on second and third.  McMullen then delivered a two-run single to make the score 3-1.  A walk and a wild pitch again put men on second and third, and a Rich Reese error allowed a run to score, giving the Senators a 4-1 advantage.

The Twins got back into the game in the sixth.  Consecutive singles by Leo CardenasRick Renick, and Uhlaender made the score 4-2 and put men on first and third with none out.  Cesar Tovar grounded out to cut the margin to 4-3 and put the tying run on second with one out and the Twins big sticks coming up.  But Oliva flied out and Harmon Killebrew grounded to third, leaving the Twins down a run at 4-3.

It stayed 4-3 until the ninth, when Washington put the game out of reach.  Singles by Versalles and Howard opened the inning.  With one out, Ed Stroud delivered an RBI single.  A ground out moved the runners to second and third and Del Unser hit a two-run single to make the score 7-3.  The Twins put two on with two out in the ninth but could do no more.

WP:  Dick Bosman (10-5).  LP:  Jim Kaat (11-11).  S:  Knowles (10).

Notes:  It was again Uhlaender in center and Tovar at second base.  Graig Nettles started the game in left.

Oddly, George Mitterwald went into the game in left field in the ninth inning.  It was the first time he had played left field in the majors, although he had played twenty-one games of outfield in AAA Denver in 1968.  Only one ball was hit to left in the inning, a fly ball by McMullen, and Mitterwald caught it.  I don't know why Nettles came out of the game--one assumes he was injured, but he had not batted in the eighth and no balls were hit to left in the eighth, so if he was it must have happened before that and just got worse or something.  He would pinch-hit the next day and not play in the field again until August 29, which would reinforce the injury theory.  One wonders why Billy Martin didn't put Frank Quilici, who had pinch-hit in the eighth, at second base and move Tovar into the outfield.  Another option would have been to put Bob Allison in left.  Allison would pinch-hit in the bottom of the ninth, so maybe Martin deliberately wanted to hold him back for the pinch-hitting opportunity.  It didn't hurt the Twins any--in fact, Mitterwald got a two-out single in the ninth inning.  It just seems like an odd decision.

Rich Reese was 0-for-3 with a walk and was batting .332.  Oliva was 1-for-4 and was batting .319.  Chance dropped his ERA to 2.62.  Perranoski got his ERA down to 2.11.

Kaat started for the Twins but pitched just two innings, giving up four runs on six hits and striking out one.  Dick Bosman was the Washington starter.  He pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits and a walk and striking out four.

The Twins used six pitchers, which is not that unusual now but was rare in 1969.  They used four of them in the last three innings:  Dick Woodson (0.2 innings), Perranoski (1.1), Al Worthington (0.1) and Joe Grzenda (0.2).

Record:  The Twins were 75-51, in first place in the American League West, 1.5 games ahead of Oakland.