MINNESOTA 4, OAKLAND 2 IN OAKLAND
Date: Tuesday, July 7.
Batting star: Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and three RBIs.
Pitching stars: Tom Hall struck out six in four innings, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks and striking out six. Stan Williams pitched five shutout innings, giving up two hits and two walks and striking out two.
Opposition stars: Joe Rudi was 3-for-3 with a walk. Sal Bando was 1-for-2 with a two-run homer (his seventeenth) and two walks. Mudcat Grant pitched 2.2 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.
The game: Neither team threatened until the fourth, when the Twins had two on with one out but did not score. In the bottom of the fourth Rudi walked and Bando hit a two-run homer to give the Athletics a 2-0 lead. Tommy Davis followed with a double and Don Mincher singled, putting men on first and third with one out, but they did not score.
The Twins came back in the fifth. Leo Cardenas and Danny Thompson started the inning with singles. Hall hit into a force out at third base. Cesar Tovar was hit by a pitch, loading the bases, and Jim Holt hit a sacrifice fly to bring home the first Twins run. Tony Oliva walked, loading the bases again, and Killebrew delivered a three-run double, putting the Twins up 4-2.
That was it for scoring. Oakland loaded the bases with two out in the sixth but did not score. They did not put a man past first after that.
WP: Williams (6-0).
LP: Chuck Dobson (7-10).
Notes: Holt was in left in place of Brant Alyea. Paul Ratliff was behind the plate in place of George Mitterwald. Thompson was at second base in place of Rod Carew. Alyea pinch-hit for Ratliff in the fifth, with Mitterwald going behind the plate in the next inning.
Oliva was 0-for-2 and was batting .322. Killebrew was batting .317. Tovar was 1-for-4 and was batting .315. Hall had an ERA of 2.24. Williams had an ERA of 1.53.
I suspect Hall must have had a slight injury or illness. Not only was four innings a quick hook when he had given up just two runs, but Hall batted in the top of the fifth and then was replaced by Williams. If he was injured or ill, it must have been minor, because he pitched in relief just two days later.
This was Rudi's first full season in the majors, and he took advantage of it, batting .309 with an OPS of .821. He didn't really become a star until 1972, but he was already a good player.
In addition to Grant, another ex-Twin who played in this game was Jim Roland. He faced one man in the fifth, Rich Reese, and walked him. Roland was still a fine reliever in 1970, going 3-3, 2.70, 2 saves, 1.18 WHIP. He continued to pitch well the following season, but had a poor 1972 and then was done at age twenty-nine.
The Twins had now won three in a row and eight out of nine.
Record: The Twins were 51-26, in first place in the American League West, five games ahead of California. They still had the best record in the American League, but were well behind the Big Red Machine, which was 59-23 in the National League.