Tag Archives: 1970 rewind

1970 Rewind: Game Twenty

MINNESOTA 4, BALTIMORE 2 IN BALTIMORE

Date:  Saturday, May 2.

Batting star:  George Mitterwald was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer.

Pitching stars:  Jim Perry pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on six hits and two walks and striking out six.  Ron Perranoski pitched two shutout innings, giving up two walks.

Opposition stars:  Boog Powell was 2-for-3 with a home run (his sixth) and a walk.  Frank Robinson was 2-for-3 with a walk.

The game:  The Orioles loaded the bases with one out in the first when Terry Crowley walked, Frank Robinson singled, and Powell walked.  They only got one run out of it, on a sacrifice fly, but they took a 1-0 lead.  The Twins took that lead away from them in the second when Tony Oliva singled and Mitterwald hit a two-run homer, making it 2-1 Twins.

Baltimore got a pair of two-out singles in the third, and the Twins got a man on third with one out in the sixth, but there was no more scoring until the bottom of the sixth when Powell homered, tying it 2-2.

The Twins took control in the eighth.  Pinch-hitter Minnie Mendoza hit a one-out single and Leo Cardenas hit a two-out single.  Harmon Killebrew then delivered an RBI double to put the Twins up 3-2.  Oliva was intentionally walked to load the bases and Brant Alyea was hit by a pitch to make it 4-2 Twins.  The Orioles did not get a hit after that.

WP:  Perry (4-1).

LP:  Mike Cuellar (3-2).

S:  Perranoski (5).

Notes:  Bob Allison was at first base in place of Rich Reese.  Frank Quilici remained at second base in the absence of Rod Carew.

Mendoza was pinch-hitting for Perry in the eighth.  Jim Holt pinch-hit for Allison in the eighth.  Reese replaced Mendoza and went to first base.  Holt remained in the game and went to left field.

Alyea was 0-for-3 and was batting .367.  Killebrew was 1-for-4 and was batting .328.  Oliva was 1-for-3 and was batting .325.  Tovar was 1-for-3 and was batting .321.  Perry had an ERA of 2.25.  Perranoski had an ERA of 1.72.

Mendoza was 1-for-1 and was batting .100.  Holt was 0-for-1 and was batting .188.  Mitterwald was batting .189.  Quilici was 0-for-4 and was batting .194.  Reese was 0-for-1 and was batting .194.

Cuellar pitched 7.2 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and a walk and striking out three.

This game is an example in favor of the current trend of taking pitchers out before they get into trouble, rather than waiting until they do.  Cuellar pitched seven strong innings, but the Twins finally got to him in the eighth.

Record:  The Twins were 13-7, in first place in the American League West by percentage points, but tied with California in games.

1970 Rewind: Game Nineteen

BALTIMORE 9, MINNESOTA 3 IN BALTIMORE

Date:  Friday, May 1.

Batting stars:  Cesar Tovar was 3-for-3 with a home run (his third), a double, a walk, and three runs.  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

Pitching star:   Steve Barber pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Dave Johnson was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Terry Crowley was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer and two runs.  Brooks Robinson was 2-for-4 with a hit-by-pitch and two runs.  Dick Hall pitched 3.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and striking out two.

The game:  The Twins scored first, as Tovar opened the game with a single, went to third on Killebrew's double, and scored on Oliva's single.  The Orioles loaded the bases in the bottom of the first on three walks but did not score.  Tovar homered in the third to make it 2-0.

It was pretty much all Baltimore from there.  In the bottom of the third Crowley singled, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on Robinson's single to cut the lead to 2-1.  In the fourth Clay Dalrymple walked, Dave McNally doubled, and Crowley hit a three-run homer to put the Orioles up 4-2.  Two singles and a sacrifice fly made it 5-2 in the fifth.

The Twins got one back in the sixth when Tovar and Killebrew walked and Oliva delivered an RBI single.  Baltimore then put it out of reach in the seventh.  An error an a hit batsman put men on first and second, Johnson doubled home a run, an intentional walk loaded the bases, and Dave May hit a three-run triple to make it 9-3.

WP:  McNally (4-1).

LP:  Dave Boswell (0-3).

S:  Hall (1).

Notes:  Frank Quilici remained at second base in the absence of Rod Carew.  Charlie Manuel pinch-hit for George Mitterwald in the sixth, with Tom Tischinski going behind the plate.  Jim Holt pinch-hit for the pitcher in the seventh.  Bob Allison replaced Brant Alyea in the eighth as part of a double switch.  Paul Ratliff pinch-hit for Tischinski in the ninth.  Minnie Mendoza pinch-hit for Quilici in the ninth.

Alyea was 0-for-4 and was batting .386.  Killebrew was batting .333.  Ratliff was 0-for-1 and was also batting .333.  Oliva was batting .325.  Tovar was batting .321.  Bill Zepp allowed a run in two innings and had an ERA of 2.70.  Stan Williams allowed four runs, but they were all unearned, leaving his ERA at zero.

Mitterwald was 0-for-2 and was batting .167.  Rich Reese was 0-for-3 and was batting .193.  Dave Boswell allowed four runs in four innings and had an ERA of 6.75.

McNally pitched 5.2 innings, giving up three runs on five hits and two walks and striking out seven.

Boswell hurt his arm in game two of the 1969 ALCS.  I couldn't quickly find what the injury was, and I don't have time now to look more, but he was obviously not healed from it, and it appears never really would be.  He stayed in the rotation through the end of July, but had only two games with a game score over fifty.

We've already seen a few three-inning (or more) saves.  Back then, a lot of managers believed in leaving a pitcher in the game as long as he was pitching well.  The theory was that you only take him out if he's in trouble, rather than taking him out before he gets into trouble.

Record:  The Twins were 12-7, in first place in the American League West based on winning percentage, but tied in games with California.

1970 Rewind: Game Eighteen

MINNESOTA 4, CLEVELAND 1 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Thursday, April 30.

Batting stars:  Leo Cardenas was 3-for-4 with a home run (his second) and a double.  Brant Alyea was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his fifth.  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-4 with a home run, his fourth.  Paul Ratliff was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Luis Tiant pitched 5.2 innings, giving up one run on four hits and one walk and striking out three.  Stan Williams pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and a walk.  Ron Perranoski pitched two perfect innings.

Opposition stars:  Ted Uhlaender was 2-for-4 with a double.  Graig Nettles was 1-for-3 with a home run and a walk.  Bob Miller pitched two shutout innings, giving up two hits and striking out one.

The game:  The Twins got two singles in the first but did not score.  The Indians got on the board in the fourth on Nettles' homer, taking a 1-0 lead.  The Twins countered in the bottom of the fourth.  Killebrew homered to tie it, Rich Reese singled, and Alyea hit a two-run homer to make it 3-1 Twins.  Cardenas homered in the fifth to make it 4-1.

Cleveland threatened in the sixth.  Uhlaender led off with a double.  He was still on second with two out, but then Tony Horton walked and Roy Foster singled, loading the bases.  But Ray Fosse grounded out to end the inning.  The Indians again threatened in the eighth when Uhlaender led off with a single and Nettles walked, but they never moved off of first and second.  Well, they did once the inning was over, but you know what I mean.  Cleveland went out in order in the ninth.

WP:  Tiant (4-0).

LP:  Steve Hargan (1-2).

S:  Perranoski (4).

Notes:  Paul Ratliff was again behind the plate in place of George Mitterwald.  Frank Quilici was at second in the continuing absence of Rod Carew.  Jim Holt pinch-ran for Alyea in the eighth and stayed in the game in left field.  Minnie Mendoza replaced Killebrew in the ninth.

Alyea was batting .415.  Ratliff was batting .357.  Killebrew was batting .317.  Tony Oliva was 1-for-4 and was batting .316.  Tiant had an ERA of 2.79.  Williams still had an ERA of zero.  Perranoski had an ERA of 1.98.

All three of the Indians designated as "stars" are ex-Twins.

If you were asked "Who led the Twins in homers in the first month of 1970", your default answer would probably be Killebrew.  If you were told that was wrong, you'd probably say "Oliva".  You might even say "Rich Reese".  But unless you're really familiar with the 1970 club, you probably wouldn't say "Brant Alyea".  But that's who it was, with five home runs.  Those five home runs represent thirteen percent of his career total.

Ratliff was batting nearly two hundred points higher than the Twins' "regular" catcher, Mitterwald.  He obviously wouldn't sustain that, but I would assume there were some who thought Ratliff should be the regular catcher.  If so, Bill Rigney didn't listen to them, because Ratliff would get just 149 at-bats.  This was the only good offensive season Ratliff had, as he batted .268 with an OPS of .806.  In fact, not only was it his only good offensive season, it was the only season in which he batted over .200 or had an OPS over .700.

This game closed out a ten-game homestand.  The Twins would now go on a nine-game road trip, traveling to Baltimore, Detroit, and Cleveland.

Record:  The Twins were 12-6, in first place in the American League West by winning percentage, but tied with California in games.

1970 Rewind: Game Seventeen

MINNESOTA 1, CLEVELAND 0 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Wednesday, April 29.

Batting star:  Frank Quilici was 2-for-3.

Pitching star:  Jim Kaat pitched 8.2 scoreless innings, giving up six hits and a walk and striking out five.

Opposition stars:  Ray Fosse was 2-for-3 with a double.  Rich Hand pitched seven innings, giving up an unearned run on six hits and a walk and striking out none.

The game:  The Twins put two on with two out in the second but did not score.  They broke through in the third.  Leo Cardenas singled, but Tony Oliva hit into a force out for the second out.  Harmon Killebrew singled, sending Oliva to second, and Rich Reese reached on an error which scored Oliva for a 1-0 Twins lead.

And that was it for the scoring.  The Indians had a chance in the fifth when Fosse singled and then tried to score from first on an Eddie Leon single (perhaps it was a hit-and-run or something).  The next batter Jack Heidemann, also singled, but pitcher Hand grounded out to end the inning.  They threatened in the ninth when Tony Horton hit a two-out double and Roy Foster walked, but Stan Williams came in and picked Horton off second base to end the game.

WP:  Kaat (3-1).

LP:  Hand (0-3).

S:  Williams (1).

Notes:  Quilici remained at second base in place of Rod Carew.  Cardenas continued to bat second.  Paul Ratliff was behind the plate in place of George Mitterwald.

Jim Holt replaced Brant Alyea in left field in the seventh.  Minnie Mendoza replaced Harmon Killebrew at third base in the eighth.

Alyea was 1-for-3 and was batting .408.  Oliva was 1-for-4 and was batting .319.  Cesar Tovar was 0-for-4 and was batting .311.  Killebrew was 1-for-4 and was batting .304.  Ratliff was 0-for-1 and was batting .300.

Hand pitched seven innings without striking anyone out.  That had to be unusual even back then.  Today, of course, just pitching seven innings is unusual.

Williams got a save without retiring a batter.  I know it's not unheard of, but that has to be unusual, too.  Vada Pinson was the batter--he was a .286 hitter, so he certainly would have had a chance to deliver a game-tying single.  But he never got that chance.

It's interesting that Bill Rigney brought in Williams rather than Ron Perranoski.  My guess is that Perranoski was hurting--after appearing in five of six games and pitching 9.2 innings, he then had five days off before he would appear again.

Record:  The Twins were 11-6, in second place in the American League West, one game behind California.

1970 Rewind: Game Sixteen

CLEVELAND 3, MINNESOTA 1 IN CLEVELAND

Date:  Tuesday, April 28.

Batting stars:  Brant Alyea was 2-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base.  Leo Cardenas was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Jim Perry pitched a complete game, giving up three runs (one earned) on seven hits and no walks and striking out five.

Opposition stars:  Tony Horton was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.  Vada Pinson was 2-for-4 with a double.  Roy Foster was 2-for-4.  Barry Moore pitched eight innings, giving up one run on six hits and three walks and striking out four.

The game:  The Twins got two singles in the second but did not score.  They got on the board in the third when Cesar Tovar hit a one-out triple and scored on a Cardenas single.  The Indians tied it in the fifth when singles by Horton and Foster put men on first and third with none out and a double play brought a run home.

The Twins missed chances in the seventh and eighth.  In the seventh Alyea singled and stole second and Frank Quilici was intentionally walked, putting men on first and second with two out and bringing up Perry.  He reached on an error, but Alyea was thrown out trying to score from second, ending the inning.  In the eighth, Cardenas singled and two-out walks to Tony Oliva and Alyea loaded the bases, but Rich Reese fouled out to end the inning.

It cost them, because Cleveland broke through in the ninth.  After Killebrew missed a foul popup, Ted Uhlaender singled with one out.  He was forced out, but a single by Pinson put men on first and second with two down.  Horton then hit a two-run double, making it 3-1 Indians.  The Twins got the leadoff man on in the ninth when Paul Ratliff was hit by a pitch, but the next three batters flied out.

WP:  Moore (2-1).

LPPerry (3-1).

S:  Phil Hennigan (1).

NotesQuilici remained at second base in the absence of Rod Carew.  The Twins used three pinch-hitters in the ninth.  Ratliff batted for George Mitterwald, Jim Holt batted for Quilici, and Charlie Manuel batted for Perry.

Alyea raised his average to .413.  Tovar was 1-for-5 and was batting .329.  Oliva was 0-for-3 and was batting .324.  Killebrew was 0-for-4 and was batting .308.  Perry had an ERA of 2.19.

Mitterwald was 1-for-3 and was batting .170.

It's always fun to second-guess fifty-year-old managerial decisions.  In the seventh, with a man on second and two out, Cleveland manager Alvin Dark intentionally walked Quilici, bringing up the pitcher's spot.  Quilici was not a very good batter (career .214/.281/.287).  He was better than Perry, but not by a lot (career .199/.228/.247).  And, of course, there was the chance that Bill Rigney would use a pinch-hitter.  Dark either was confident that Rigney would not do that or was thinking that at least that would get Perry (who was pitching well) out of the game.  The Twins pinch-hitting options were not particularly good, as you can see from the three they used in the ninth.  At any rate, Rigney did not use a pinch-hitter, and while Perry did reach on an error the Twins did not score.

Barry Moore was a decent pitcher for a few seasons, but that's all.  He posted ERAs in the mid-threes for Washington from 1966-1968, which isn't terrible but is not as impressive as it sounds when you remember the era.  His ERA went up to 4.30 in 1969 and the Senators traded him to Cleveland.  He moved on to the White Sox in mid-June and did not pitch well for them.  He was traded to the Yankees after the 1970 season, later moved on to Pittsburgh, but never got out of AAA for the rest of his career, which ended after the 1973 season.  This game would be the next-to-last win of his career.  "Barry" was actually his middle name.  It would've been really cool if his given first name was "Lionel" or "Drew" or something like that, but in fact it was "Robert".

Record:  The Twins were 10-6, in second place in the American League West, one game behind California.

1970 Rewind: Game Fifteen

CLEVELAND 5, MINNESOTA 1 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Monday, April 27.

Batting star:  Brant Alyea was 1-for-2 with two walks.

Pitching star:  Bill Zepp pitched four innings, giving up one run on three hits and a walk and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  Ex-Twin Ted Uhlaender was 3-for-5 with a triple and two runs.  Vada Pinson was 2-for-3 with three RBIs.  Ray Fosse was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Sam McDowell was 2-for-4 with two runs.  He also pitched a complete game, giving up one run on six hits and five walks and striking out eight.

The game:  The Indians started the scoring in the third.  McDowell and Uhlaender led off the inning with singles, a ground out advanced them, and a sacrifice fly brought home the first run.  Back-to-back RBI doubles by Tony Horton and Roy Foster made it 3-0 Cleveland.

The Twins got on the board in the fourth.  With one out, Tony Oliva tripled and scored on Alyea's single.  Rich Reese followed with another single, but the Twins could do no more and it was 3-1.  The Twins got a pair of two-out walks in the sixth, but could do nothing with those, either.

The Indians added a run in the seventh when Uhlaender tripled and scored on Pinson's two-out single.  The Twins started the eighth with a walk and an error but McDowell struck out the next three batters.  In the ninth, McDowell and Uhlaender hit one-out singles and ex-Twin Graig Nettles walked to load the bases.  A sacrifice fly brought home the game's final run.  The Twins got two on in the ninth, but again did not score.

WP:  McDowell (3-2).

LP:  Dave Boswell (0-2).

S:  None.

Notes:  Frank Quilici was again at second base in the absence of Rod Carew.  Leo Cardenas took Carew's number two spot in the lineup.

Minnie Mendoza pinch-hit for Boswell in the third.  Bob Allison pinch-hit for Zepp in the seventh.  Rick Renick pinch-hit for Tom Hall in the ninth.

Alyea was batting .395.  Oliva was 1-for-4 and was batting .338.  Cesar Tovar was 0-for-5 and was also batting .338.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-4 and was batting .333.  Zepp had an ERA of 2.25.  Hall gave up no runs in two-thirds of an inning and had an ERA of 2.57.

George Mitterwald was 0-for-4 and was batting .159.  Cardenas was 1-for-5 and was batting .193.  Boswell pitched three innings, giving up three runs on six hits and a walk and striking out two.  His ERA was 5.40.

The Twins stranded eleven runners and were 1-for-9 with men in scoring position.

We don't have pitch counts in 1970, but with five walks and eight strikeouts McDowell clearly threw a lot of pitches.  This was his fifth start and his third complete game.  He had pitched 39.1 innings to this point, and had walked 20 and struck out 40.

The Twins did not keep their "win four, lose two" streak going, as their winning streak was snapped at two games.

Record:  The Twins were 10-5, in second place in the American League West, one game behind California.

1970 Rewind: Game Fourteen

MINNESOTA 6, DETROIT 0 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Sunday, April 26.

Batting starsLuis Tiant was 3-for-4 with a double and a stolen base.  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his sixth.  Rich Reese was 2-for-4.  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-5.

Pitching stars:  Tiant pitched a complete game shutout, giving up three hits and a walk and striking out six.

Opposition star:  Dick McAuliffe was 2-for-4.

The game:  The Twins put men on second and third with two out in the third but did not score.  They broke through in the fourth, however.  Oliva singled, Brant Alyea walked, Reese had an infield single to load the bases, and George Mitterwald had another infield single to make it 1-0 Twins.

The Twins put two on in the fifth, but did not score.  They broke the game open in the sixth with a two-out rally.  The first two men were retired, but Frank Quilici singled, Tiant hit an RBI double, Tovar had an infield single, Tiant and Tovar pulled off a double steal, Leo Cardenas tripled them both home, and Killebrew had an RBI single, making the score 5-0 Twins.

The Twins added one more in the eighth.  Tiant singled, a wild pitch moved him to second, Tovar bunted him to third, and Killebrew singled him home.

The Tigers never had a man beyond first base and only once had the leadoff man on base.

WP:  Tiant (3-0).

LP:  Mickey Lolich (4-2).

S:  None.

Notes:  Quilici was again at second in the absence of Rod Carew.  Cardenas remained in Carew's number two spot in the batting order.

Jim Holt replaced Brant Alyea in left field in the eighth inning.  Minnie Mendoza pinch-ran for Killebrew in the eighth and remained in the game at third base.

Tiant was batting .556.  Brant Alyea was 0-for-3 and was batting .390.  Tovar was batting .367.  Oliva was batting .344.  Killebrew was batting .341.  Quilici was batting .308.

Mitterwald was 1-for-4 and was batting .175.  Cardenas was 1-for-5 and was batting .192.

Tiant wasn't a terrible batter over his career, but he wasn't exceptional, either:  a career line of .164/.185/.224.  In 1970, however, he was exceptional:  .406/.424/.531 in 32 at-bats.  Small sample size, obviously, and maybe that's the full explanation.  But it's still pretty amazing.  The stolen base he got in this game was the only one he had in his career, and it was a steal of third on the front end of a double steal.  I don't know how many players have a steal of third as the only stolen base of their career, but I suspect it's a pretty short list.

This was Tiant's only shutout in 1970, and one of two complete games.

Lolich pitched 5.2 innings, allowing five runs on ten hits and a walk and striking out six.  It was the Tigers' fifteenth game of the season, and it was Lolich's sixth start.  The other five had been complete games (one of them 9.2 innings) and two of them had been shutouts.  Lolich pitched over 200 innings every year from 1964-1975; over 220 from 1968-1975; over 240 from 1969-1975; over 270 from 1970-1974, and over 300 from 1971-1974, with a high of 376 in 1971.  Interestingly, he only led the league in starts and complete games once, both 1971, when he had 45 starts and 29 complete games.  He continued to be an effective starter through age 35, and had a really good half-season as a reliever for the Padres in 1978, when he was thirty-seven.  Memory and a google search reveal that he was considered overweight, but he's listed at 6' 1", 170.  If he was overweight, it certainly didn't affect his pitching.

The Twins had won four, lost two, won four, lost two, and now won two.  Could they win four?

Record:  The Twins were 10-4, in first place in the American League West by winning percentage, but a half game behind California.

1970 Rewind: Game Thirteen

MINNESOTA 4, DETROIT 3 IN MINNESOTA

Date: Saturday, April 25.

Batting stars: Tony Oliva was 2-for-4 with a home run (his third) and two runs. Rich Reese was 1-for-3 with a home run.

Pitching star: Jim Kaat pitched 8.1 innings, giving up three runs on eight hits and two walks and striking out five.

Opposition stars: Mickey Stanley was 2-for-3 with a home run. Elliott Maddox was 2-for-3. Willie Horton was 2-for-4. Earl Wilson pitched six innings, giving up two runs on three hits and no walks and striking out two.

The game: Maddox led off the third with a single and was bunted to second. Wilson then doubled, but Maddox was only able to make third--presumably it was a fly ball that he thought might be caught. Stanley walked to load the bases, but Dick McAuliffe hit into a double play to end the inning and keep the game scoreless.

The Twins took a 2-0 lead in the fourth on solo homers by Oliva and Reese. Stanley hit a solo homer in the sixth to cut the lead to 2-1. It stayed 2-1 until the eighth, when Paul Ratliff doubled, went to third on a Frank Quilici single, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Kaat. But in the ninth, Horton singled and Jim Northrup hit a one-out triple to cut the lead to 3-2. Kaat left in favor of Stan Williams, who allowed a sacrifice fly by Norm Cash to tie it at three.

In the bottom of the ninth, Oliva hit a one-out single and went to second on an error. Harmon Killebrew then delivered a single to right to score Oliva and give the victory to the Twins.

WP: Williams (2-0).

LP: Tom Timmerman (0-1).

S: None.

Notes: Quilici was at second base in place of Rod Carew. Ratliff was behind the plate in place of George Mitterwald. Jim Holt replaced Brant Alyea for defense in the eighth.

Carew would not play again until May 6. I don't know if he was injured or if he was fulfilling a National Guard commitment.

Alyea was 1-for-3 and was batting .421.  Cesar Tovar was 0-for-4 and was batting .357.  Oliva was batting .339.  KillebrewRatliff, and Quilici were all batting .333.  Kaat had an ERA of 2.86.  Williams continued to have an ERA of zero.

Leo Cardenas was moved up to the second spot in the order with Carew out, but went 0-for-4 and was batting .191.

The Tigers' third was interesting.  Maddox, batting in the seventh spot, led off with a single.  Eighth-place batter Cedar Guttierez then bunted, with pitcher Earl Wilson coming up next.  It worked, as Wilson delivered a double, but how often do you have the eighth-place hitter bunt with the pitcher coming up next?  But Wilson was a pretty good batter.  His career batting line is .195/.265/.369 with 35 home runs in 740 at-bats.  A .195 average may not sound like much, but he played almost his entire career in the 1960s.  There are middle infielders who had substantial careers in the 1960s with lower batting averages than that.

The Twins had won four, lost two, won four, lost two, and now have won one.  We'll see if they can win four again.

Record:  The Twins were 9-4, in first place in the American League West by winning percentage, but a half game behind California.

1970 Rewind: Game Twelve

DETROIT 8, MINNESOTA 6 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Friday, April 24.

Batting stars:  Brant Alyea was 2-for-4 with two doubles and four RBIs.  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-5 with a triple and a double.  Rich Reese was 2-for-5.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-1 with a home run (his third), four walks, and three runs.

Pitching stars:  Stan Williams struck out two in 1.2 innings, giving up one hit.  Ron Perranoski struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Al Kaline was 5-for-5 with two doubles.  Bill Freehan was 2-for-3 with a home run (his second), two walks, and three RBIs.  Cesar Gutierrez was 2-for-5 with two runs.  Dick McAuliffe was 1-for-5 with a home run, his third.  John Hiller pitched 5.2 innings of relief, giving up one run on three hits and three walks and striking out three.

The game:  McAuliffe led off the game with a home run.  Gutierrez singled and scored on Kaline's double, making the score 2-0 Tigers before an out was recorded.  The Twins tied it in the bottom of the first.  Tovar doubled, and walks to Jim Holt and Killebrew loaded the bases.  With two out, Alyea delivered a two-run double, making the score 2-2.

Detroit went back ahead in the third.  Singles by Gutierrez, Kaline, and Norm Cash loaded the bases with none out.  Willie Horton struck out, but Jim Northrup's ground ball was booted by second baseman Tovar, resulting in all three runs scoring and Northrup ending up at second base.  Freehan's RBI single made it 6-2 Tigers.

The Twins again came back.  Tony Oliva doubled, Killebrew walked, and with two out Alyea again hit a two-run double, making it 6-4 after three.  In the fourth Tom Hall singled and Tovar tripled, cutting the lead to 6-5.  Killebrew homered leading off the sixth, tying the score 6-6.

But in the seventh, the Tigers went into the lead to stay.  Northrup drew a one-out walk and Freehan hit a two-run homer, making it 8-6.  The Twins put two on with two out in the seventh, but never got a man past first base after that.

WP:  Hiller (1-0).

LP:  Tom Hall (0-1).

S:  None.

Notes:  Tovar was at second base, rather than in center field, with Rod Carew out of the lineup.  Holt went to center field.  Minnie Mendoza pinch-hit for Holt in the seventh and stayed in the game at second, with Tovar moving to center.  Bob Allison pinch-hit for Williams in the eighth.  Frank Quilici pinch-ran for Killebrew in the ninth.

Alyea was batting .429.  Tovar was batting .385.  Killebrew was batting .343.  Oliva was 1-for-5 and was batting .327.  Williams had an ERA of zero.  Perranoski had an ERA of 2.31.  Jim Perry started and gave up six runs (four earned) on eight hits and no walks in three innings and had an ERA of 2.57.  Hall gave up two runs on three hits and three walks in 3.1 innings and had an ERA of 2.84.

Reese raised his average to .194.  George Mitterwald was 0-for-4 and was batting .167.

Joe Niekro started for Detroit and pitched 3.1 innings, allowing five runs on six hits and three walks.  He struck out none.  No other players with Twins connections played for the Tigers in this game.

Despite the fact that Twins were trailing late, Perranoski appeared for the fifth time in six games.  He had pitched 9.2 innings in those games.  It would be six days before he pitched again.

Alyea was really tearing it up early, batting .429/.474/.857 in the season's first twelve games.  He had three doubles, four home runs, and twenty RBIs.

Detroit manager Mayo Smith apparently decided Killebrew was not going to beat them in this game, as he walked four times.  It's not that there was always a base open--he walked in the first with men on first and second, walked in the third with a man on second, walked in the seventh with the bases empty, and walked in the ninth with the bases empty.  The one time they pitched to him he led off the fifth with a home run.  The walks were not intentional, but it seems clear the Tigers were trying hard not to give Harmon much to hit.

Hall pitched better than his line looks.  He pitched three scoreless innings before giving up a two-run homer to Freehan.  One could argue that he was left in the game too long, but on the other hand, Freehan was a fine batter (200 career home runs), so it's possible that he simply hit a good pitch.

The Twins had won four, lost two, won four, and lost two.  We'll see if they could start another four-game winning streak.

Record:  The Twins were 8-4, tied for first in the American League West based on winning percentage, but a half game back of California.

1970 Rewind: Game Eleven

CHICAGO 7, MINNESOTA 5 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Thursday, April 23.

Batting stars:  Paul Ratliff was 2-for-3 with two runs.  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his fifth.

Pitching stars:  Steve Barber pitched 2.2 innings, giving up one run on four hits and a walk and striking out two.  Stan Williams struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up on hit.

Opposition stars:  Luis Aparicio was 3-for-4 with a walk and two RBIs.  Bobby Knoop was 3-for-5 with a home run, his second.  Gail Hopkins was 2-for-3 with a double.

The game:  Each team got a man to second in the first, but there was no score until the second, when Hopkins doubled and scored on Buddy Bradford's single.  The White Sox put two on again in the third and scored again in the fourth on singles by Bradford, Knoop, and Aparicio.

The Twins got on the board in the fifth:  Ratliff singled, Leo Cardenas walked, a bunt advanced the runners, and a sacrifice fly scored Ratliff.  Chicago got the run back in the sixth when Knoop singled, was bunted to second, and scored on an Aparicio single.

The Twins took the lead in the bottom of the sixth.  With one out Harmon Killebrew walked and Rich Reese singled.  With two out Ratliff delivered an RBI single and Cardenas followed with a two-run double, putting the Twins up 4-3.  They put two in the seventh with one out, but did not add to their lead.

It cost them, as Chicago went into the lead to stay in the eighth.  Knoop led off the inning with a home run to tie the score.  Syd O'Brien pinch-hit a single and was bunted to second, with bunter Walt Williams also reaching base on a fielder's choice.  Aparicio then reached on a three-base error on pitcher Ron Perranoski, putting the White Sox up 6-4.  A sacrifice fly then made it 7-4.

The Twins got one in the ninth.  Tovar singled and went to second on a wild pitch.  Killebrew reached on an error, scoring Tovar and bringing the winning run up to bat.  But pinch-hitter Rick Renick flied out to center to end the game.

WP:  Tommie Sisk (1-0).

LP:  Perranoski (0-1).

S:  Wilbur Wood (3).

Notes:  Ratliff was again behind the plate in place of George Mitterwald.  Mitterwald would pinch-hit for him in the eighth and go behind the plate.

Rod Carew started the game, but was pinch-hit for in the first inning by Minnie Mendoza.  One assumes he was dealing with an injury or illness.  Charlie Manuel and Bob Allison pinch-hit for pitchers.  It was the first action Allison had seen in what would be his last season.  Jim Holt replaced Brant Alyea in left field in the seventh.  Renick pinch-hit for Reese in the ninth.

Bill Zepp started and pitched three innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on seven hits and one walk and striking out one.

Alyea was 0-for-2 and was batting .419.  Tovar was batting .383.  Tony Oliva was 1-for-5 and was batting .340.  Ratliff was batting .333.  Manuel was 0-for-1 and was batting .333.  Killebrew was 1-for-4 and was batting .324.  Holt and Renick were each 0-for-1 and each was batting .300.  Zepp had an ERA of 2.25.  Perranoski gave up four runs (one earned) in two innings and had an ERA of 2.53.  Tom Hall struck out the only man he faced and had an ERA of zero.  Williams also had an ERA of zero.

Reese was 1-for-4 and was batting .161.

This was the last good season Perranoski would have, and part of the reason may be that Bill Rigney seemed determined to drive him into the ground in April.  In the space of five games, Perranoski had come in four times, pitching a total of 8.2 innings.  I know men were men back then, but even so, this seems like overdoing it, especially in the first month of the season.

The White Sox' starter was Gerry Janeski.  He pitched 5.2 innings, allowing four runs on five hits and three walks and striking out four.  He was a rookie, and this was just his third major league start.  He started the season strong, with a 2.91 ERA in his first eight starts, but would end going 10-17, 4.77, 1.51 WHIP.  1970 was his only full major league season.  He would be traded to Washington after the season and would make 27 more appearances (11 starts) over two seasons for the Senators/Rangers.  His career numbers were 11-23, 4.73, 1.55 WHIP.  After baseball, Janeski had a successful career in real estate in California.

This would be the last win of Tommie Sisk's career.  He'd had some solid seasons with PIttsburgh, but had a poor year in 1969 with the expansion San Diego Padres and would struggle in 1970, his last major league season.  The White Sox traded him to Cleveland in June and he was traded to Montreal after the season, but he never pitched in the majors for either of those clubs.

The loss snapped a four game winning streak for the Twins.  They had won four, lost two, then won four again.  We'll see if they go on to lose two again.

Record:  The Twins were 8-3, in first place in the American League West by winning percentage, but a half game behind California.