MINNESOTA 7, CALIFORNIA 5 IN MINNESOTA (GAME 1 OF DOUBLEHEADER)
Date: Tuesday, September 15.
Batting stars: Leo Cardenas was 1-for-4 with a grand slam, his eleventh homer. Cesar Tovar was 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs. George Mitterwald was 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs.
Pitching stars: Stan Williams struck out four in three shutout innings, giving up one hit and one walk. Ron Perranoski pitched three shutout innings, giving up two hits.
Opposition stars: Jim Fregosi was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer (his twenty-first), a walk, and two runs. Ken McMullen was 2-for-4. Jay Johnstone was 2-for-4. Greg Garrett struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up one hit.
The game: Sandy Alomar led off the game with a walk and Fregosi hit a two-run homer, giving the Angels a quick 2-0 lead. The Twins came back with one in the bottom of the first when Tovar singled and scored from first on a Tony Oliva double. In the second, Mitterwald drew a one-out walk. With two down Bill Zepp and Tovar walked and Cardenas hit a grand slam to give the Twins a 5-2 lead.
California came back. In the third Tony Gonzalez was hit by a pitch, and with two out Johnstone and McMullen singled, bringing Gonzalez home and making the score 5-3. In the fourth Doug Griffin singled, Roger Repoz reached on an error, Alomar singled to load the bases, and Gonzalez delivered a two-run single to tie it 5-5. A double steal put men on second and third with still no one out, but Fregosi and Alex Johnson struck out and Johnstone lined to third to end the inning.
It stayed tied until the sixth. With one out Brant Alyea walked, Mitterwald singled, and Charlie Manuel was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Jim Holt then delivered a pinch-hit two-run single to put the Twins ahead 7-5.
The Angels managed just two singles after that, and each time the next batter grounded into a double play, giving the Twins a 7-5 win.
WP: Williams (10-1).
LP: Mel Queen (3-5).
S: Perranoski (30).
Notes: Frank Quilici was again at second base in place of Rod Carew. Herman Hill pinch-ran for Alyea in the sixth, with Holt going in to play center and Tovar moving to left. Manuel pinch-hit for Quilici in the sixth, with Danny Thompson pinch-running and then going to second base.
Oliva was 1-for-4 and was batting .319. Williams had an ERA of 2.07. Perranoski had an ERA of 2.02.
Neither starting pitcher did well. Zepp, who had pitched a complete game shutout last time out, lasted just three innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on eight hits and one walk and striking out two. California starter Tom Bradley (probably not the one who became mayor of Los Angeles) also lasted three innings and also gave up five runs, allowing three hits and four walks and striking out one.
The Mel Queen who pitched in this game was the son of the Mel Queen who pitched in the 1940s and early '50s. He is the brother-in-law of Jim Lonborg. He also managed the Toronto Blue Jays briefly in 1997, something I had completely forgotten about.
It's interesting that, in the first game of a doubleheader, Bill Rigney used his two best relievers for three innings each. He apparently really wanted to win this game and put the Angels in the rearview mirror. It put them in a more difficult spot for game two, obviously, but they did win game one, and with a solid divisional lead, Rigney clearly considered that to be most important.
Record: The Twins were 87-59, in first place in the American League West, nine games ahead of Oakland, which lost the first game of a doubleheader with Milwaukee 1-0. The Twins' magic number was seven.