Random Rewind: 1979, Game Twenty-four

MINNESOTA 7, DETROIT 6 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Friday, May 4.

Batting stars:  Rob Wilfong was 2-for-2 with a walk and two runs.  Roy Smalley was 2-for-3 with two walks.  Mike Cubbage was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs.  Willie Norwood was 2-for-4 with a stolen base (his third) and two runs.  Ron Jackson was 1-for-3 with a home run (his third) and a walk.  Glenn Adams was 1-for-4 with a home run, his second.

Pitching star:  Mike Marshall pitched 2.2 scoreless innings, giving up three hits and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Rusty Staub was 3-for-4 with two doubles, a walk, and two RBIs.  Ron LeFlore was 3-for-5 with three runs.  Steve Kemp was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.  Jerry Morales was 3-for-5 with a double.

The game:  The Twins gifted the Tigers a run in the top of the third:  LeFlore singled with one out, followed by a walk to Lou Whitaker.  With two out, walks to Jason Thompson and Staub made it 1-0 Detroit.  The Tigers gifted the run right back in the bottom of the third, as Norwood got an infield single, was bunted to second, went to third on a ground out, and scored on an error, making it 1-1 after three.

Detroit got an unearned run of their own in the fourth, as Morales singled, Alan Trammell reached on an error, LeFlore singled to load the bases, and Kemp had a two-run single, making it 3-1 Tigers.  But again the Twins came back in the bottom of the inning.  Butch Wynegar led off with a single.  With one out, Norwood singled and Wilfong walked, loading the bases.  Cubbage delivered a two-run single and Smalley had an RBI single, putting the Twins up 4-3.  Ron Jackson homered in the fifth, making it 5-3.

The Tigers came back to tie it in the sixth.  Singles by LeFlore and Kemp put men on first and third with one out.  A sacrifice fly scored a run and Staub doubled home another, making it 5-5.  Once again, the Twins countered in the bottom of the inning.  Wilfong singled and scored from first on a Cubbage double, giving the Twins a 6-5 lead.

Detroit tied it once more in the seventh when Morales doubled and scored on a pair of fly balls.  The Twins again took the lead back in the bottom of the inning, when Adams led off the inning with a home run and put the Twins up 7-6.

And that was it.  The Tigers threatened in the eighth, when Kemp doubled and Jason Thompson singled to put men on first and third with one out, but Staub hit into a double play.  Lance Parrish led off the ninth with a single, but he never advanced past first base.

WP:  Marshall (4-1).  LP:  Aurelio Lopez (0-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Norwood was in center.  He began the year as the regular center fielder, but lost the job in late May, with Ken Landreaux moving over from left to take over in center.  The Twins pretty much just mixed and matched their corner outfielders the rest of the season.  In left it was Bombo Rivera (61 games), Adams (45), and Dave Edwards (36).  In right it was Hosken Powell (85 games), Rivera (50), Norwood (28), Edwards (24), and Rick Sofield (22).

The DHs had a similar situation.  The most used was Jose Morales, with 77 games.  Others used were Adams (54), Danny Goodwin (51), Cubbage (22), Norwood (17), and Craig Kusick (12).

Cubbage was at third base in place of John Castino.  He was in somewhat of a platoon with Castino, but the right-handed Castino got the majority of the playing time.  Presumably Gene Mauch tried to spot Cubbage against right-handers he thought he could hit.

Rivera replaced Adams in right field in the eighth.  Castino pinch-hit for Cubbage in the eighth and stayed in at third base.

The Twins were hitting, at least for average, early in the season.  They had five players with averages of .300 or better.  They were led by Smalley, who was batting .396.  He would be over .400 as late as May 20 and was still batting .373 at the end of June.  He did a belly-flop in the second half, though, and finished at .271.  Wilfong was batting .338--he would finish at .313.  John Castino was batting .333--he would finish at .285.  Landreaux was batting .312--he would finish at .305.  Adams was batting .300--he would finish at .301.

Pete Redfern started for the Twins.  He struck out four in four innings, but allowed three runs (one earned) on five hits and four walks.  This would be one of just six starts for Redfern--he spent most of the year in the bullpen and had a fine season, going 7-3, 3.49, 1.30 WHIP.

As you probably know, it was not unusual for Marshall to pitch multiple innings.  He set a league record by appearing in ninety games and pitched 142 relief innings.  That was only his third-highest total of his career--he had pitched 179 relief innings for Montreal in 1973 and 208.1 for the Dodgers in 1974.  He had a fine season for the Twins in 1979 as well, going 10-15, 32 saves, 2.65 ERA, 1.26 WHIP.

This was the last of a six-game winning streak for the Twins.  They would lose one, then win five more, making them eleven of twelve.

Record:  The Twins were 17-7, in first place in the American League West, 1.5 games ahead of California.  They would finish 82-80, in fourth place, six games behind California.

The Tigers were 8-11, in fifth place in the American League East, 5 games behind Boston.  They would finish 85-76, in fifth place, 18 games behind Baltimore.

 

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