MINNESOTA 5, BALTIMORE 2 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Sunday, August 3.
Batting stars: Tony Oliva was 2-for-4. Leo Cardenas was 2-for-4. Rich Reese was 1-for-1 with a grand slam (his eleventh home run).
Pitching star: Jim Kaat pitched seven innings, giving up one run on five hits and three walks and striking out five.
Opposition stars: Andy Etchebarren was 2-for-3. Paul Blair was 1-for-4 with a home run, his twenty-first.
The game: Harmon Killebrew hit a two-out double in the first, but he was thrown out trying to score on Oliva's single. He was the only man to get past first base until the fourth, when Merv Rettenmund and Boog Powell opened with singles to put men on first and third. Brooks Robinson then hit into a double play to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead. Baltimore then loaded the bases, as two walks sandwiched a single, but Dave McNally grounded out to end the inning.
It looked like the one run might be enough. Through six innings, the Twins had just four hits and, again, had just one man get past first base. Their first two men went out in the seventh as well. Then, however, Cardenas and Frank Quilici singled and Rick Renick pinch-hit and walked, loading the bases. Reese then pinch-hit for Kaat and hit a grand slam, giving the Twins a 4-1 lead.
Paul Blair led off the eighth with a home run to cut the lead to 4-2, but that was as close as the Orioles would come. The Twins added a run in the eighth when Rod Carew singled, went to second on a ground out, and scored on an Oliva single.
WP: Kaat (11-7). LP: McNally (15-1). S: Al Worthington (2).
Notes: This was a rather historic game at the time. As you can see, it was the first loss of the season for McNally. Had he won, he would've set an American League record with sixteen consecutive wins to start the season and eighteen consecutive wins including the previous season. Your author remembers being sick this Sunday afternoon, listening to the game on the radio, and feeling much better after the Reese grand slam.
Bob Allison was again in left. Frank Quilici was at third base, with Killebrew at first and Reese again on the bench. Tom Tischinski was behind the plate--apparently George Mitterwald was gone for two weeks to fulfill a military reserve obligation, leaving Tischinski as the backup to Johnny Roseboro. Renick pinch-hit for Tischinski in the seventh, with Roseboro coming in to catch in the eighth.
Carew was 1-for-4 and was batting .368. Oliva raised his average to .328. Reese was batting .320. Kaat had his ERA drop to 2.86.
While McNally was obviously a fine pitcher, he had not always blown the opposition away during his streak. He had five starts of four innings or fewer. He also gave up four runs or more in five of the starts. His teammates scored more than five runs in nine of his starts. Again, McNally was a fine pitcher, but a streak like this always involves some luck, too.
Record: The Twins were 66-41, in first place in the American League West, three games ahead of Oakland.