1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Twenty-nine

MINNESOTA 10, BOSTON 4 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Friday, August 29.

Batting stars:  Graig Nettles was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer (his seventh) and a walk, scoring twice.  Rich Reese was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.  Ted Uhlaender was 2-for-4.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-5 with a home run (his eighteenth) and two RBIs.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-1 with a home run (his thirty-eighth) and two walks.

Pitching star:  Tom Hall pitched a complete game, giving up four runs on seven hits and three walks and striking out nine.

Opposition stars:  Mike Andrews was 2-for-4 with a home run, his tenth.  Rico Petrocelli was 1-for-1 with a two-run homer (his thirty-third) and two walks.

The game:  In the first inning, Uhlaender singled and Cesar Tovar as hit by a pitch.  Following a ground out, Killebrew walked to load the bases, but the Twins could only score one as Rich Reese hit in to the rare sacrifice fly/double play.  The Twins led 1-0, but the lead lasted for all of two batters.  Reggie Smith led off the second with a single and Petrocelli followed with a two-run homer that put the Red Sox on top 2-1.

The Twins got the lead back in the second.  Tovar and Killebrew walked, putting men on first and second with two out.  Oliva delivered an RBI single to tie the score and Nettles followed with a three-run homer to give the Twins a 5-2 lead.  They added to the lead in the fourth.  Singles by Hall and Tovar put men on first and third with one out, Oliva delivered another RBI single, and Killebrew followed with a sacrifice fly to make the score 7-2.

The Twins kept going.  In the fifth Nettles walked, went to third on an error, and scored on a Leo Cardenas single to increase the lead to 8-2.  In the sixth Oliva and Killebrew hit back-to-back home runs, making the score 10-2.

Boston got a couple more runs, but never really got back into the game. Consecutive singles by Don Lock, Russ Gibson, and Dick Schofield plated a run in the seventh.  Andrews homered leading off the eighth.  The last six Red Sox batters were retired.

WP:  Hall (7-4).  LP:  Jim Lonborg (7-8).  S:  None.

Notes:  Uhlaender remained in center, with Tovar at second base.  Nettles was in left field.  Frank Quilici came on in the seventh to replace Killebrew at third base.

Oliva was batting .318.  Reese was batting .333.

Uhlaender continued his hot streak.  He now had a hitting streak of eleven games, with two hits in six of them.  He was 17-for-46 over the streak, for an average of .370.

Hall had pitched back-to-back complete games.  In fact, he had thrown complete games in his last three starts, with two relief appearances in-between.  In one of those relief appearances, he pitched eight innings.

I wonder when the last time is someone gave up four runs and still pitched a complete game.

Jose Santiago pitched a perfect inning of relief in this game.  He was a pretty fair pitcher for a few years and has been almost completely forgotten.  He made his major league debut with Kansas City as a September call-up in 1963.  He missed the first part of 1964 with an injury and may still have been dealing with it when he came back, as he did not pitch well.  He started 1965 in Kansas City but made just four appearances before being sent to AAA Vancouver, where he had an outstanding season. One suspects the Athletics simply didn't know what they had in him, because they sold him to Boston right after the 1965 season and he blossomed.  The Red Sox started him off in the bullpen, but he was starting by May of 1966 and went 12-13, 3.66, 1.24 WHIP.  He both started and relieved in 1967 and went 12-4, 3.59, 1.27 WHIP.  He was back in the rotation in 1968 and had a tremendous first half of the season, throwing seven complete games by June 22 and making his first all-star team.  Unfortunately, it would also be his last all-star team.  He suffered an elbow injury and never did really come back from it.  In that first half of 1968, he was 9-4, 2.25, 1.11 WHIP.  He appeared in just ten major league games in 1969 and nine in 1970.  He tried to come back in the minors in 1970-1971, but he was clearly not the same pitcher.  For his major league career he was 34-29, 3.74, 1.29 WHIP in 556 innings.  He appeared in 163 games, 65 of them starts.  After his playing career ended, he moved back to his home of Puerto Rico and has been very active in promoting baseball there.

Record:  The Twins were 78-51, in first place in the American League West, 3.5 games ahead of Oakland.

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