NEW YORK 4, MINNESOTA 3 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Thursday, August 20.
Batting stars: Rich Reese was 3-for-4 with a triple. Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-4. Leo Cardenas was 1-for-3 with a home run (his ninth) and two RBIs. George Mitterwald was 1-for-4 with a home run, his twelfth.
Pitching star: Ron Perranoski struck out three in two shutout innings, giving up three hits and a walk.
Opposition stars: Jim Lyttle was 2-for-4 with a double. Mel Stottlemyre pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and a walk and striking out three.
The game: Reese tripled leading off the second and scored on a sacrifice fly, giving the Twins a 1-0 lead. The Yankees tied it in the fourth when Frank Baker walked and Bobby Murcer delivered an RBI double. The Twins took the lead back in the bottom of the fourth when Cardenas homered.
It stayed 2-1 Twins until the seventh. John Ellis led off the seventh with a double and Lyttle followed with a double, but Ellis could only reach third. A ground out scored a run to tie it. A fielder's choice with no one retired somehow put men on second and third. Stottlemyre then hit a triple, scoring both runs and putting the Yankees up 4-2.
Mitterwald homered in the bottom of the seventh to cut the lead to 4-3. The Twins got a pair of two-out singles in the eighth, but Jim Holt struck out and the Twins went down in order in the ninth.
WP: Stottlemyre (12-10).
LP: Bill Zepp (6-3).
S: Lindy McDaniel (17).
Notes: Danny Thompson remained at second base in place of Rod Carew. Holt was in center, with Cesar Tovar in left and Brant Alyea on the bench. Charlie Manuel pinch-hit for Tom Hall in the seventh and stayed in the game in left field. Rick Renick pinch-hit for Tovar in the seventh. Frank Quilici pinch-ran for Killebrew in the eighth and stayed in the game at second base, with Thompson moving to third.
Tony Oliva was 1-for-4 and was batting .321. Hall retired both men he faced and had an ERA of 2.87. Perranoski had an ERA of 2.41.
Stottlemyre hit six triples in his career. This was his second of the season, which was a career high for him. While he wasn't an awful batter for a pitcher, he wasn't particularly good, either: .160/.213/.223 in 749 at-bats.
Reese hit seventeen triples in his career. He hit five in 1970, which was also his career high.
It was Stottlemyre's bad luck to come to the Yankees just as their dynasty was ending, and to suffer a torn rotator cuff shortly before their next dynasty began. Had he played for the Yankees when they were good, and had he not gotten injured, he would almost certainly have had a much higher win total, made some post-season appearances, and possibly (who knows?) have made the Hall of Fame. As it was, he went 164-139, with a career 2.97 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. He was an all-star five times, led the league in complete games twice, and in innings pitched once. However, because the team was bad, he twice led the league in losses, once with an ERA of 3.80 and once with an ERA of 3.22. I guess the point, if there is one, is that circumstances that you can 't control can play a significant role in the success of ballplayers, and of human beings generally.
The loss snapped the Twins' three-game winning streak. Their homestand would continue with three against Washington and three against Boston.
Record: The Twins were 72-48, in first place in the American League West, five games ahead of California.