KANSAS CITY 9, MINNESOTA 8 IN KANSAS CITY
Date: Friday, June 27.
Batting stars: Rich Reese was 2-for-5 with a three-run homer, his fourth. Cesar Tovar was 2-for-5 with two runs. Tony Oliva was 1-for-3 with a three-run homer and two walks, scoring twice.
Pitching stars: None.
Opposition stars: Joe Foy was 3-for-5 with a walk, scoring twice and driving in two. Mike Fiore was 2-for-3. Ex-Twin Jackie Hernandez was 2-for-4 with two doubles. Bob Oliver was 2-for-5 with a double. Jerry Adair was 2-for-5. Future Twin Tom Burgmeier pitched three shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.
The game: It looked good early. In the first, Ted Uhlaender reached on an error, Tovar singled, and Oliva hit a three-run homer, giving the Twins a 3-0 lead three batters into the game. Kansas City got on the board in the second on back-to-back two-out doubles by Eliseo Rodriguez and Hernandez. With one out in the third, Tovar singled and Oliva walked. Harmon Killebrew flied out, but Reese hit a three-run homer to give the Twins a 6-1 lead through three innings.
The Royals opened the fifth with a walk to Foy and a single by Pat Kelly, but a fly out and a ground out held them to second and third with two down. Then, however, Twins starter Dick Woodson uncorked a wild pitch (wild pitches are always "uncorked") which somehow allowed both runners to score, cutting the Twins lead to 6-3. In the sixth, Hernandez doubled and was still on second with two out. Foy singled him home, there was a walk to Kelly, Ed Kirkpatrick had an RBI single, and Oliver drove in a run with a double, tying the score 6-6.
The Twins had the bases loaded with one out in the seventh, but Killebrew popped up and Reese bounced back to the pitcher. Minnesota did take the lead in the eighth, however. With men on second and third and one out, Ron Perranoski laid down a squeeze bunt to put the Twins up 7-6. Uhlaender followed with a double to make it 8-6. In the bottom of the eighth, Oliver singled home Kelly to cut the lead to 8-7.
There it stood going to the bottom of the ninth. Perranoski, in his third inning of work, gave up a single to Adair and walked Rodriguez. Hernandez flied out and Dennis Paepke struck out, and it looked like he might work out of the jam. Joe Foy singled to tie the score, however, and Kelly was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Al Worthington came in, but Hawk Taylor singled to left to win the game for the Royals.
WP: Moe Drawbowsky (5-5). LP: Perranoski (4-3) S: None.
Notes: Tovar was again at second base in place of Rod Carew. Graig Nettles was in left. Frank Quilici came in for defense in the ninth, but this time Billy Martin did not use him to send Tovar to the outfield. Instead, Quilici came in to play third, Killebrew moved from third to first, Reese came out of the game, and Nettles remained in left field.
Perranoski had not pitched in the previous game, but had pitched 2.1 innings the day before. This was his sixth consecutive appearance of two innings or more.
Twins starter Woodson pitched 5.2 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and five walks and striking out five. Kansas City starter Dick Drago pitched three innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on four hits and a walk and striking out one.
Jackie Hernandez was a major league player from 1965-1973 (1967-1968 with the Twins), but this was the only season he was a regular. In fact, it was the only season he had more than 250 at-bats. He didn't do much with the chance, batting .222/.278/.282.
Catcher Eliseo Rodriguez was the Royals' lone all-star representative in 1969. He batted just .236/.333/.296 that season, although in fairness it should be noted that he batted much better in the first half--.260/.342/.339. Interestingly, Lou Piniella, who won the Rookie of the Year award, did not make the all-star team. Rodriguez was also an all-star in 1972, when he was with Milwaukee and batted .285/.382/.352. Oddly for a two-time all-star, he never had as many as four hundred at-bats in a season, and the season in which he came the closest--1974, with 395--he did not make the all-star team. In addition to the Royals and Brewers, he played for the Yankees (9 games in 1968), California, and the Dodgers. His lifetime numbers are .245/.356/.308. He may have had the least distinguished career of any two-time all-star in the history of baseball, but at least he got there, which is more than a lot of players can say.
Record: The Twins were 39-31, in second place in the American League West, a half game behind Oakland.