1970 Rewind: Game Ninety-eight


Date:  Friday, July 31.

Batting stars:  Tony Oliva was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his seventeenth.  Brant Alyea was 2-for-4.  Rich Reese was 2-for-5 with two runs.  Leo Cardenas was 2-for-5.  Danny Thompson was 2-for-5.  Charlie Manuel was 1-for-1 with a pinch-hit homer.  Bob Allison was 1-for-1 with a pinch-hit two-run homer.

Pitching star:  Tom Hall struck out three in a scoreless inning, giving up a walk.

Opposition stars:  Jim Northrup was 2-for-5 with a home run (his twentieth), two runs, and four RBIs.  Dick McAuliffe was 1-for-3 with two walks and two RBIs.

The game:  Cesar Gutierrez led off the third with a single, Mickey Stanley drew a two-out walk, and Northrup hit a three-run homer to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.  It stayed 3-0 until the sixth, when the Twins got six runs.  Thompson singled and Oliva homered to cut the lead to 3-2.  Harmon Killebrew then walked, Reese singled, Alyea hit a two-run single-plus-error, and Cardenas singled to give the Twins a 5-3 lead.  The next two batters went out, but singles by Cesar Tovar and Thompson produced another run, making it 6-3 Twins.

That lead lasted until the seventh, when Detroit got a touchdown of its own.  Don Wert singled and Russ Nagelson walked.  Elliot Maddox had an RBI double and McAuliffe delivered a two-run single to tie it 6-6.  Stanley and Northrup each singled to give the Tigers a 7-6 lead.  Al Kaline drew a walk to load the bases.  Bill Freehan was hit by a pitch to force in a run and Nagelson walked again to force home another run.  Detroit led 9-6 through seven.

The Twins came back again.  Manuel hit a pinch-hit homer in the eighth to cut the margin to 9-7.  In the ninth Oliva led off with a walk, but Killebrew lined into a double play.  Reese then singled, however, and Allison hit a two-run pinch-hit homer to tie it 9-9.

But it was all for naught.  Kaline led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk.  The next two batters grounded out, making two out with a man on second.  Wert was intentionally walked.  Pinch-hitter Ike Brown walked to load the bases, and Maddox walked to force in the deciding run.

WP:  Tom Timmerman (4-3).

LP:  Pete Hamm (0-1).

S:  None.

Notes:  Thompson was at second base in place of Rod Carew.  Tom Tischinski was behind the plate in place of George Mitterwald.  Jim Holt went to left field in the seventh in place of Alyea.  Rick Renick pinch-hit for Tischinski in the eighth, with Paul Ratliff going behind the plate.  Manuel pinch-hit for Hall in the eighth.  Allison pinch-hit for Holt in the in the ninth and stayed in the game in left field.

Oliva was batting .326.  Killebrew was 1-for-3 and was batting .307.  Tovar slipped under .300 at .299.  Bert Blyleven allowed five runs in six innings and had an ERA of 2.87.  Ron Perranoski allowed four runs without retiring anyone and had an ERA of 1.84.  Hall had an ERA of 2.75.

Allison raised his average to .173.  Hamm allowed one run in 1.2 innings and had an ERA of 10.80.

Denny McLain started for Detroit.  He allowed four runs in five innings.

Russ Nagelson presumably tied a record by drawing two walks in an inning.  He drew those walks as a pinch-hitter, which puts into more select company.  I don't know how many guys walked twice in the same inning as a pinch-hitter--I'm sure there are some, but I doubt that it's all that common.

What a frustrating way to lose a game.  Not only do you force in two runs in the seventh with a bases-loaded hit batsman and a bases-loaded walk, but you force in the deciding run with a bases-loaded walk.  And not only that, but the Tigers did not get a hit in the bottom of the ninth--they scored on four walks.

Not that it excuses anything else, but I don't understand the intentional walk to Don Wert.  For his career, he batted .242/.314/.343.  At this point in 1970 he was batting .234/.315/.339.  Yes, it brought up the pitcher's spot, but Bill Rigney had to figure the Tigers would pinch-hit.  The pinch-hitter, Ike Brown, was batting .279/.392/.512.  They did not gain a platoon advantage with this--both Wert and Twins pitcher Hamm were right-handed, as was Brown.  It does not make much sense to me.

The Twins had lost three in a row and five out of seven.

Record:  The Twins were 62-36, in first place in the American League West, 6.5 games ahead of California.