OAKLAND 5, MINNESOTA 2 IN OAKLAND
Date: Friday, April 17.
Batting stars: Tony Oliva was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his second. Cesar Tovar was 1-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base, his second.
Pitching stars: Bill Zepp struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up two hits. Stan Williams pitched two perfect innings.
Opposition stars: Roberto Pena was 3-for-4. Felipe Alou was 2-for-3 with a walk. Bob Johnson was 2-for-4 with a home run. Dave Duncan was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer. Catfish Hunter struck out nine in a complete game, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks.
The game: The Twins again jumped out to an early lead. Tovar led off with a single and Oliva hit a one-out two-run homer to put the Twins up 2-0.
But that was as good as it got for the Twins. The Athletics threatened in the bottom of the first when Bert Campaneris singled and stole second, but he was thrown out trying to score on a Rick Monday single. Oakland got two hits in the second but did not score. The Twins had two on in the fourth but did not score.
In the bottom of the fourth, Johnson led off with a homer, Pena hit a one-out single, and Duncan followed with a two-run homer to put the Athletics up 3-2. In the fifth, Alou and Johnson singled and a wild pitch put men on second and third with one out. A sacrifice fly scored one and Pena singled home another, making it 5-2.
The Twins had men on first and third with one out in the seventh, but a short fly ball and a strikeout ended the threat. They did not threaten again.
WP: Hunter (2-1).
LP; Jim Kaat (1-1).
Notes: Paul Ratliff pinch-hit for George Mitterwald in the seventh and stayed in the game at catcher. Charlie Manuel pinch-hit for the pitcher in the seventh.
Brant Alyea was 0-for-4 and was batting .412. Oliva raised his average to .370. Harmon Killebrew was 0-for-3 and was batting .333.
Zepp and Williams each had an ERA of zero, as did Tom Hall, who struck out the only man he faced.
Kaat started but pitched just 3.1 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk. He struck out four.
Rich Reese was 0-for-3 and was batting .095.
Steve Barber allowed two runs in 1.1 innings and had an ERA of 5.40.
Zepp, as we'll see, was actually an important pitcher for the Twins in 1970. He appeared in 42 games, starting 20 of them, and went 9-4, 3.22. It was the only good year he had in the majors. After the season, he would be traded to Detroit for Mike Adams and a player to be named later (Arthur Clifford, who never made the majors). He would appear in 16 games for the Tigers in 1971, and never pitch again after that. It appears that he needed Tommy John surgery, but since the procedure was still new he decided not to risk and retired instead.
Record: The Twins were 4-2, tied for first place with California based on winning percentage, but a half game behind the 6-3 Angels.