Random Rewind: 1972, Game Eleven

MINNESOTA 5, NEW YORK 4 IN NEW YORK (GAME 2 OF DOUBLEHEADER)

Date:  Sunday, April 30.

Batting stars:  George Mitterwald was 3-for-5 with two doubles.  Bobby Darwin was 2-for-3 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch.  Danny Thompson was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Rod Carew was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Dick Woodson pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits and two walks and striking out five.  Dave LaRoche struck out two in two innings, giving up an unearned run on two hits.

Opposition stars:  Mike Kekich pitched 5.2 innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on ten hits and two walks and striking out four.  John Ellis was 2-for-4 with a home run.  Roy White was 1-for-4 with a home run.

The game:  The Twins loaded the bases in the first inning but did not score.  In the second, Ellis hit a one-out homer to get the Yankees on the board.  Later in the inning Jerry Kenney walked and Kekich hit a two-out triple to make the score 2-0 New York.

The Twins tied it in the fourth.  Darwin and Steve Brye led off the inning with singles.  With one out Mitterwald hit a ground-rule double to put the Twins on the board.  With two out, Cesar Tovar was hit by a pitch, loading the bases, and Thompson walked to force in a run.  With the bases still loaded the Twins had a chance to take the lead, but Carew struck out to end the inning.

The Twins took the lead in the sixth, however, when Tovar singled and scored on a double-plus-error by Thompson.  The lead lasted until the bottom of the sixth, when White homered to tie it 3-3.

In the eighth, Mitterwald singled, Danny Monzon reached on an error, and Tovar was hit by a pitch to load the bases with none out.  Thompson struck out, but Carew delivered a two-run single to give the Twins a 5-3 lead.  The Twins had a chance for a bigger lead, loading the bases with two out, but a ground out ended the inning.

The lead held up, but it wasn't easy.  With one out in the ninth Felipe Alou doubled and scored on Ellis' single-plus-error, cutting the margin to 5-4.  The tying run was on second, but Thurman Munson fouled out and Ron Swoboda was caught looking to end the game.

WP:  Woodson (2-0).  LP:  Fred Beene (0-1).  S:  LaRoche (4).

Notes:  Mitterwald shared time behind the plate with Phil Roof and Glenn Borgmann, with Rick Dempsey playing a handful of games.  Borgmann did not come up until mid-season (it was his rookie year), and he took over the starting job at that point.

Rich Reese pinch-ran for Harmon Killebrew in the eighth and remained in the game at first base.

Darwin was batting .439 in the young season.  He would finish at .267.  Mitterwald was batting .375.  He would finish at .234.  Thompson was batting .311.  He would finish at .276.  Carew, who was batting just .227, would end up leading the team in batting at .318.  The Twins finished fourth in the league in batting average at just .244.

Killebrew would lead the team in home runs with 26.  Darwin would hit 22 and Eric Soderholm, who would become the starting third baseman, had 13.

1968 was The Year of the Pitcher, but 1972 was a pretty good year for pitchers, too.  Here are the Twins' starters:  Bert Blyleven:  17-17, 2.73; Woodson, 14-14, 2.72; Jim Perry, 13-16, 3.35; Ray Corbin, 8-9, 2.62; Jim Kaat, 10-2, 2.06; Dave Goltz, 3-3, 2.67.  The designated hitter would come in the next year to try to generate more offense in the American League.

LaRoche was pretty much the co-closer with Wayne Granger.  Granger had 19 saves and LaRoche 10.

Despite Kekich's RBI triple, he was not a good batter.  He was not even a good batter for a pitcher.  His career numbers are .120/.140/.134.  This was the only triple of his major league career.  He also had just one double, in 1969, and no home runs.

The Twins lost the first game of the doubleheader, snapping a six-game winning streak.  The win in the second game would start a five-game winning streak.  The Twins were 23-12 at the end of May, but would not have another month in which they were over .500.

This was a strike/lockout year, so the season did not begin until April 15.  That's why, on April 26, the Twins were only playing their eleventh game.

Record:  The Twins were 8-3, in first place in the American League West, one game ahead of Oakland.  They would finish 77-77, in third place, 15.5 games behind Oakland.

The Yankees were 4-8, in fifth place in the American League East, 3.5 games behind Detroit.  They would finish 79-76, in fourth place, 6.5 games behind Detroit.

Random record:  The Twins are 32-27 in Random Rewind games.

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