DETROIT 6, MINNESOTA 5 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Friday, August 2.
Batting stars: Ron Clark was 3-for-4 with a home run. Rod Carew was 3-for-4 with a double. Ted Uhlaender was 3-for-5 with two doubles. Rich Reese was 2-for-5 with a two-run homer (his third) and two runs. Cesar Tovar was 2-for-5.
Pitching stars: Al Worthington pitched 3.1 scoreless innings of relief, giving up only a walk and striking out two. Ron Perranoski pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.
Opposition stars: Don McMahon pitched four shutout innings of relief, giving up four hits and striking out three. Bill Freehan was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. Dick McAuliffe was 2-for-4.
The game: The Tigers jumped on Twins starter Jim Merritt early. McAuliffe led off with a single and Mickey Stanley walked. With one out, Willie Horton walked to load the bases. Freehan then doubled in two runs, Jim Northrup hit a sacrifice fly, and Don Wert delivered an RBI single. It was 4-0 Detroit before the Twins even came up to bat.
The Twins tried to battle back. They threatened in the first, when uhlaender hit a two-out double, and in the second, when Carew hit a one-out double and Frank Quilici walked. Clark then singled, but apparently Carew rounded third too far and was thrown out, taking them out of the inning.
The Twins finally broke through in the third. Reese hit a one-out single, Uhlaender doubled, and Bob Allison walked, loading the bases. John Roseboro hit a sacrifice fly and Carew had an RBI single, cutting the margin to 4-2. They took the lead in the fourth. Clark led off with a home run. With one out, Tovar singled and Reese hit a two-run homer to put the Twins up 5-4.
It wouldn't last. The first two Tigers went out in the fifth. Then came consecutive singles by Stanley, Al Kaline, Horton, and Freehan, resulting in two runs and a 6-5 advantage for the Tigers.
The Twins had consecutive singles to open the fifth, but nothing came of it. They did not get a man past first base after that, and the score remained 6-5.
WP: McMahon (3-1). LP: Bob Miller (0-2). S: Daryl Patterson (5).
Notes: Tovar was in right field in place of Tony Oliva, who was out for about ten days, presumably with an injury. Reese was at first base in place of Harmon Killebrew, who you may remember was injured in the all-star game. Frank Quilici was at third base. Clark was at shortstop.
Merritt was the starter for the Twins, but he lasted just two-thirds of an inning, allowing four runs on three hits and two walks. He struck out one. The Detroit starter was Joe Sparma. He lasted just 2.2 innings, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks and striking out one. Mickey Lolich was used in relief, one of seven times he relived for the Tigers in 1968. The Tigers really didn't have a closer that year--I guess with a rotation of Denny McLain, Earl Wilson, Lolich, and Sparma, they really didn't need one. Patterson was tied with Pat Dobson for the team lead with seven.
Clark's home run was the only one he would hit in 1968. He would hit five in his career.
Reese did not have much power early in his career. He would hit four home runs in 1968, the same amount he had hit in 1967 in about a third as many at-bats. He would set his career high, 16, the following year of 1969.
Of the players in the starting lineup this day, Uhlaender led the team in batting (at this point of the season) at .299. Carew was second at .296.
Record: At this point of the season, the Twins were 49-55, in seventh place in the American League, sixteen games behind first-place Detroit. The Tigers would go on to win the American League pennant. The Twins would finish 79-83 and in seventh place.