MINNESOTA 5, CLEVELAND 2 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Tuesday, September 2.
Batting stars: Cesar Tovar was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his thirty-sixth. Johnny Roseboro was 2-for-4 with two runs. Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-2 with two walks.
Pitching stars: Tom Hall pitched 6.2 innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and three walks and striking out four. Dick Woodson pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up only a walk and striking out two.
Opposition stars: Eddie Leon was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk. Mike Paul struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up a walk.
The game: In the first, Larry Brown hit a one-out single and Ken Harrelson walked, but nothing came of it. The Twins got the scoring started in the fourth when Tony Oliva doubled with one out and scored on a Killebrew single. The Indians came back with a run in the fifth on singles by Ken Suarez and Luis Tiant and a double by Leon, making the score 1-1.
The Twins went ahead to stay in the bottom of the fifth. Roseboro and Leo Cardenas started the inning with singles and Hall walked, loading the bases with none out. Ted Uhlaender hit a sacrifice fly to put the Twins up 2-1 and Rod Carew singled to re-load the bases. Oliva hit into a force out to give Minnesota a 3-1 lead. The Twins scored two more in the sixth when Tovar and Roseboro singled, Cardenas hit a sacrifice fly, and Uhlaender followed Hall's sacrifice bunt with an RBI single.
Cleveland threatened in the seventh. Suarez walked and Leon and Larry Brown delivered two-out singles, cutting the Twins' lead to 5-2. Harrelson walked to load the bases and put the go-ahead run at bat, but Tony Horton hit into a force out to end the inning. The Indians did not get a man on base after that.
WP: Hall (8-4). LP: Tiant (8-18). S: Woodson (1).
Notes: With the return of Carew, Tovar went back to center field and Uhlaender moved to left.
Carew went 1-for-4 and was batting .351. Rich Reese was 0-for-4 and was batting .328. Oliva was 1-for-4 with a double and was batting .314. Uhlaender was 1-for-3, stretching his hitting streak to fifteen games.
This game saw the major league debut of Herman Hill. He was a September call-up after batting .300/.346/.398 at AAA Denver. He pinch-ran for Killebrew in the seventh inning. He then was replaced by Frank Quilici, who took over at third base. Hill appeared in sixteen games in 1969, but was a pinch-runner in thirteen of them, so that he got only two plate apperances. In 1970 he was with the Twins for about three weeks in mid-summer and then again got a September call-up. He appeared in twenty-seven games but started only two of them, again used mostly as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement. He got only twenty-three plate appearances, going 2-for-22 with a sacrifice. And sadly, that's where his career ends. He was playing winter ball in Venezuela after the 1970 season and drowned in a swimming accident. He was only twenty-five.
Hall was on quite a roll. Since July 27 he had pitched 52.2 innings and given up just nine runs, for an ERA of 1,54. He reduced his season ERA from 4.55 to 3.18 over this span. He had three complete games and also made five relief appearances, in one of which he pitched eight innings.
Tiant was having the worst year of his career up to this point. He would end up 9-20, although with an ERA of 3.71. His ERA+ was 101, which obviously isn't terrible, but he led the league in home runs allowed and walks allowed. He still pitched 249.2 innings, leading one to think he must have been keeping his team in the game even if he wasn't winning. He wasn't getting much run support--in nineteen of his twenty losses, the Indians scored three or fewer runs. He would, of course, be traded to Minnesota after the season.
Record: The Twins were 81-52, in first place in the American League West, six games ahead of Oakland.