BALTIMORE 11, MINNESOTA 3 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Sunday, October 4.
Batting stars: Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his second) and a walk. Tony Oliva was 1-for-4 with a home run.
Pitching star: Stan Williams pitched three perfect innings and struck out one.
Opposition stars: Mark Belanger was 3-for-4 with a walk and three runs. Boog Powell was 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs. Dave McNally was 2-for-5 with a double. Frank Robinson was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer, two walks, and two runs. Dave Johnson was 1-for-5 with a three-run homer. McNally also pitched a complete game, giving up three runs on six hits and five walks and striking out five.
The game: Belanger and Paul Blair opened the game by drawing walks. With one out Powell hit an RBI double, giving the Orioles a 1-0 lead. It went to 3-0 in the third when Belanger singled and Robinson hit a two-run homer. In the fourth Andy Etchebarren reached second on a single-plus-error and scored on McNally's single, making it 4-0 Baltimore.
The Twins got back into the game in the bottom of the fourth. Leo Cardenas walked and Killebrew hit a two-run homer followed by a solo homer by Oliva, cutting the margin to 4-3. But there it stayed until the ninth. The Twins missed a chance in the fifth. Williams drew a one-out walk and went to second on a Cesar Tovar single. Cardenas followed with another single, but Williams was thrown out at the plate. They had another chance in the sixth when George Mitterwald hit a two-out double, but an infield out ended the inning.
The Orioles broke it open in the ninth, scoring seven runs. McNally led off with a double and Belanger singled him to third. A one-out walk to Robinson loaded the bases. Powell then hit a two-run double, Merv Rettenmund followed with an RBI single, an error brought home a fourth run, and Johnson capped the inning with a three-run homer. It was 11-3, and that would be the final score.
WP: McNally (1-0).
LP: Tom Hall (0-1).
Notes: Rick Renick was at third base, with Killebrew moving to first and Rich Reese out of the lineup. Danny Thompson was at second base in place of Rod Carew. Bob Allison pinch-hit for Williams in the seventh. Jim Holt pinch-ran for Brant Alyea in the eighth inning and stayed in the game in center field, with Tovar moving to left. Frank Quilici pinch-hit for Luis Tiant in the ninth.
Hall pitched 3.1 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and three walks and striking out four.
Hall had pitched very well down the stretch, but the fact that he was the number two starter showed how injuries hurt the Twins starting rotation. Dave Boswell was unavailable and Tiant might as well have been, being used in mop-up relief. Bert Blyleven would not have been a bad choice, but he was even younger than Hall (age 20 versus age 22) and Hall had really pitched better. Jim Kaat would've been another choice, but perhaps Bill Rigney wanted to start Hall at home, where he might be less nervous, then to make him deal with a road crowd. I haven't looked ahead, and don't remember, who started game three. We'll see tomorrow.
I guess I didn't need to worry about Williams being overused in game one, as he threw three more perfect innings in game two. The ninth-inning runs came mostly off of Ron Perranoski, who was in his second inning of work after pitching a perfect inning the day before.
The Twins had now played five ALCS games against Baltimore and lost all five. They were now facing an elimination game in Baltimore.
Record: The Twins trailed the best-of-five series, 0-2.