MINNESOTA 5, KANSAS CITY 2 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Thursday, July 2.
Batting stars: Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-2 with a home run (his twenty-second) and a walk. Leo Cardenas was 2-for-3 with a two-run homer (his sixth), a double, and two runs. Cesar Tovar was 1-for-4 with a home run, his eighth.
Pitching star: Tom Hall pitched seven innings, giving up one run on two hits and a walk and striking out six.
Opposition stars: Eliseo Rodriguez was 2-for-3 with a triple and two runs. Aurelio Monteagudo pitched two shutout innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.
The game: Killebrew got the first hit of the game, a home run leading off the bottom of the second. Rich Reese followed with a single, and with one out Cardenas hit a two-run homer, putting the Twins up 3-0.
Neither team had another hit until the fifth, when Cardenas doubled and went to third on a wild pitch. George Mitterwald walked and Hall hit into a double play, scoring Cardenas. Tovar followed with a home run to make it 5-0 Twins.
Rodriguez got the first Royals hit in the sixth, a leadoff triple, and scored on Jackie Hernandez' sacrifice fly to make it 5-1. Cookie Rojas got a leadoff double in the seventh and got as far as third base with two out, but he got no farther. In the eighth Rodriguez and Ed Kirkpatrick led off with singles, putting men on first and third with none out. Pat Kelly drew a one-out walk to load the bases and Rojas hit a sacrifice fly to make it 5-2, but that was all Kansas City could get. The Royals went down in order in the ninth.
WP: Hall (4-2).
LP: Al Fitzmorris (4-3).
S: Stan Williams (6).
Notes: Danny Thompson was at second in place of Rod Carew. Rick Renick was in left field in place of Brant Alyea. Herman Hill came in to play center in the eighth as part of a double switch, with Tovar moving to left and Renick coming out of the game. Frank Quilici came in to play second base in the ninth, with Thompson moving to third and Killebrew leaving the game.
Tony Oliva was 0-for-3 and was batting .323. Killebrew was batting .313. Tovar was batting .305. Hall had an ERA of 2.05. Stan Williams gave up a run in two innings and had an ERA of 1.81.
Thompson was 0-for-4 and was batting .174. Hill was 0-for-1 and was batting .125.
Hall had given up two runs in 13.2 innings in two starts. He would make one more start, then return to the bullpen. Bill Rigney apparently thought he was more valuable there, despite his success as a starter.
Hill was very fast, stealing 58 bases in the minors in 1967, and was considered an excellent defender. Unfortunately, as we've observed before, none of the other "five tools" mean much if you can't hit, and he couldn't. He did hit .300 in Denver in 1969, but a) it was Denver, and b) he still only had an OPS of .744. He admittedly didn't get much of a chance in the majors, but he batted just .083 in 24 major league at-bats.
Aurelio Monteagudo had all the vowels in his first name, and all but one of the vowels in his last name. Maybe he's who Hrbek could've bought a vowel from.
Record: The Twins were 47-25, in first place in the American League West, four games ahead of California.