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1970 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-six


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.

1970 Rewind: Game One Hundred Eighteen


Date:  Tuesday, August 18.

Batting stars:  Tony Oliva was 3-for-5 with a double and three RBIs.  Danny Thompson was 3-for-5 with two RBIs.  Cesar Tovar was 1-for-3 with two walks, a stolen base (his twenty-third), and two runs.

Pitching stars:  Pete Hamm retired all four men he faced.  Stan Williams struck out two in 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit.  Tom Hall struck out three in three perfect innings.

Opposition stars:  John Ellis was 3-for-4 with a home run (his sixth), a double, two runs, and two RBIs.  Horace Clarke was 2-for-4 with a walk and two stolen bases, his fourteenth and fifteenth.  Danny Cater was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his sixth.  Ron Klimkowski pitched 3.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and striking out one.

The game:  In the first Tovar singled, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on an Oliva single to put the Twins up 1-0.  The Yankees took the lead in the second:  with one out Ellis singled, Ron Woods doubled, and Jake Gibbs hit a two-run single.  The Twins got the lead back in the bottom of the second when, with two out, Tom Tischinski singled, Jim Kaat walked, and Tovar and Thompson hit RBI singles.  New York got the lead back in the third when Gene Michael reached on an error and Cater and Ellis homered.  You could say it was a see-saw game, with the Yankees leading 5-3 after three.

The Twins got the lead back in the fourth:  Tischinski walked with one out, Tovar walked with two out, Thompson had an RBI single, Harmon Killebrew walked to load the bases, and Oliva delivered a two-run single.  But New York took the lead right back in the fifth.  Roy White singled, stole second, and scored on a two-out triple by Bobby Murcer.  Ellis followed with a double, and it was 7-6 Yankees.

Then, suddenly, the scoring stopped.  The Twins managed just two singles in innings five through eight.  In the ninth, Thompson led off with a bunt single.  Killebrew hit into a force out, but Oliva doubled to put men on second and third and Jim Holt delivered a pinch-hit two-run single to win it for the Twins.

WP:  Hall (6-4).

LP:  Lindy McDaniel (8-5).

S:  None.

Notes:  Rick Renick was at third base, with Killebrew on first and Rich Reese on the bench.  Tischinski was behind the plate in place of George Mitterwald.

Frank Quilici pinch-hit for Hamm in the fourth.  Reese pinch-hit for Williams in the sixth and stayed in the game at first base, with Killebrew moving to third, Renick to left, and Brant Alyea to the bench.  Manuel pinch-hit for Tischinski in the eighth, with Paul Ratliff going in at catcher.  Bob Allison pinch-ran for Killebrew in the ninth.  Holt pinch-hit for Hall in the ninth.

Oliva was batting .323.  Williams had an ERA of 2.13.  Hall had an ERA of 2.89.

Tischinski was 1-for-2 and was batting .184.  Hamm had an ERA of 5.23.

Neither starting pitcher did well.  Mike Kekich of the Yankees pitched 3.2 innings, allowing five runs on four hits and four walks.  He struck out five.  Kaat pitched just 2.2 innings, allowing five runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk and struck out two.

There were seven lead-changes in the game.

It was the Twins' second consecutive win after nine straight losses.

Klimkowski had an excellent year for the Yankees, going 6-7, 2.65, 1.15 WHIP in 98.1 innings (45 games).  He was traded to Oakland at the start of the 1971 season and was quite as good, but was still an effective pitcher.  The Athletics released him after the season, though.  He signed back with the Yankees for 1972 but had a poor season, spent 1973 in the minors, and then was done.

Record:  The Twins were 71-47, in first place in the American League West, 4.5 games ahead of California.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-Four


Date:  Tuesday, September 9.

Batting stars:  Corey Koskie was 3-for-3 with a double, two walks, and two runs.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-4.

Pitching star:  Jesse Orosco pitched a scoreless inning despite giving up a hit and two walks.  He struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Carlos Lee was 3-for-4 with a home run (his twenty-eighth), a double, a stolen base (his seventeenth), two runs, and two RBIs.  Joe Crede was 2-for-4 with a double.  Magglio Ordonez was 2-for-5 with a home run (his twenty-seventh), two runs, and two RBIs.  Roberto Alomar was 1-for-4 with a home run (his fifth) and a walk.  Mark Buehrle pitched six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and three walks and striking out two.

The game:  The White Sox opened the scoring in the second inning.  Lee singled and Paul Konerko walked, putting two men on with one out.  Crede doubled home a run, a sacrifice fly brought in another, and Tony Graffanino singled in a third to make it 3-0 Chicago.

The Twins got back into it in the fourth.  Mientkiewicz and Koskie singled, Torii Hunter had an RBI double, and a ground out cut the lead to 3-2.  It went to 4-2 in the fifth when Ordonez homered.  The Twins had three baserunners in the sixth, but did not score because they lost two runners on the bases.

The White Sox took control in the seventh.  The first two batters went out, but then Alomar homered, Frank Thomas doubled, Ordonez had an RBI single, and Lee hit a two-run homer to give Chicago an 8-2 lead.

The Twins loaded the bases in the eighth but didn't score.  It cost them, because they did get back into the game in the ninth.  Lew Ford led off with a double, Denny Hocking had an RBI triple, and Justin Morneau drove in a run with a single.  With one out, walks to Koskie and Hunter loaded the bases.  A sacrifice fly made it 8-5 and Jacque Jones singled.  It was 8-6 with the tying run on base and the winning run at bat in Michael Cuddyer.  He struck out, however, and the game was over.

WP:  Buehrle (12-13).  LP:  Carlos Pulido (0-1).  S:  Tom Gordon (11).

Notes:  Chris Gomez was at second base in the continuing absence of Luis Rivas.  Shannon Stewart was in left with Dustan Mohr in right.

The Twins used five pinch-hitters.  Michael Ryan pinch-hit for Gomez in the seventh, with Hocking going in to play second base.  Cuddyer pinch-hit for Cristian Guzman in the eighth and stayed in the game at second base, with Hocking moving to short.  Ford pinch-hit for Stewart in the ninth.  Morneau pinch-hit for Mientkiewicz in the ninth.  Jones pinch-hit for Mohr in the ninth.

Ryan was 0-for-1 and was batting .375.  Ford was 1-for-1 and was batting .333.  Stewart was 0-for-3 and was batting .311.  Mientkiewicz was batting .305.  Jones was 1-for-1 and was batting .305.  A. J. Pierzynski was 1-for-3 and was batting .302.

With various Twins starters either injured or ineffective, the Twins turned to Pulido for the start in this game.  He pitched three innings, allowing three runs on four hits and two walks and striking out one.  His ERA was 2.38.  Rick Reed came in and pitched three solid innings but fell apart in his fourth inning, so his line is 3.2 innings, three runs, four hits, and a walk.  His ERA was 5.08.  Orosco's scoreless inning lowered his ERA to 7.47.

The Twins scored their runs in the ninth off Jose Paniagua.  This was his only major league appearance in 2003 and the last of his career.  A sad way to end:  one-third of an inning, four runs, three hits, one walk.  He continued to pitch for several more years--in the minors, in winter ball, in independent ball, in foreign countries--not ending his playing career until 2008.  In his major league career, he went 18-21, 4.49, 1.52 WHIP.  He pitched 357 innings in 270 games (14 starts).

It came as a surprise to me that Carlos Lee had 125 stolen bases in his career.  He had 18 in 2003, one shy of his career mark of 19 in 2006.  He had double-digit stolen bases in seven seasons.

The Twins had dropped two in a row to the division leaders.  Kansas City lost again, so the Twins had no worries about dropping to third.

Record:  The Twins were 76-68, in second place in the American League Central, two games behind Chicago.  They were 2.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Twelve


Date:  Tuesday, August 5.

Batting star:  Shannon Stewart was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Kenny Rogers pitched seven innings, giving up three runs (one earned) on nine hits and a walk and striking out three.  Juan Rincon pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Brook Fordyce was 2-for-3 with two runs.  Jose Leon was 2-for-3.  Brian Roberts was 2-for-4.  Jason Johnson pitched six innings, giving up two runs on five hits and three walks and striking out one.

The game:  The Twins put men on second and third in the first inning but did not score.  In the third Fordyce singled, Larry Bigbie walked, an error scored one run, Brian Roberts singled, and a ground out made it 2-0 Orioles.

The Twins got on the board in the fifth.  Jacque Jones singled, stole second, went to third on a ground out, and scored on Stewart's single to cut the lead to 2-1.  But Baltimore got the run right back in the bottom of the fifth when Fordyce singled, was balked to second, and scored on a Luis Matos single.

The Orioles loaded the bases in the sixth but did not score.  In the seventh, A. J. Pierzynski singled, Michael Restovich walked, and a bunt put men on second and third.  But all the Twins could do is score one on a ground out, cutting the margin to 3-2.  And that's where it stayed.  The Twins put a man on second with two out in the ninth, but a fly out ended the game.

WP:  Johnson (9-5).  LP:  Rogers (8-6).  S:  Jorge Julio (26).

Notes:  Stewart was again in left, Restovich in right, and Jones at DH.  Matthew LeCroy pinch-hit for Jones in the eighth.  Todd Sears pinch-hit for Cristian Guzman in the ninth.

Restovich was 1-for-2 and was batting .333.  Stewart was batting .317.  Jones was batting .309.  Pierzynski was 1-for-4 and was battinb .304.  Corey Koskie was 1-for-4 and was batting .301.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 0-for-2 and was batting .300.

Rogers lowered his ERA to 5.03.  The Twins really had a poor starting rotation in 2003.  And yet it took them until past mid-season to find room there for Johan Santana.

The Twins had gotten over .500, but couldn't stay there.  Would they get back over .500 tomorrow?  We'll see.

Record:  The Twins were 56-56, in third place in the American League Central, 4.5 games behind Kansas City.  They were 2.5 games behind second-place Chicago.

2003 Rewind: Game One


Date:  Monday, March 31.

Batting stars:  Dustan Mohr was 2-for-3 with a two-run homer.  A. J. Pierzynski was 1-for-3 with a home run.

Pitching stars:  Brad Radke pitched 6.2 innings, giving up one run on three hits and one walk and striking out three.  J. C. Romero pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit.  Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition star:  Mike Maroth pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits and no walks and striking out three.

The game:  Michael Cuddyer hit a one-out single in the second and Mohr hit a two-out two-run homer to give the Twins a 2-0 lead.  After that, neither team got a baserunner until the fifth and neither team got a man to second until the sixth.

The Twins missed a chance to add to their lead in that sixth inning.  Jacque Jones led off with a double and Cristian Guzman singled to put men on first and third.  With the contact play on (my assumption), Torii Hunter grounded to third and Jones was thrown out at the plate.  Matthew LeCroy then grounded into a double play and the chance was gone.

It looked like it might cost them.  In the seventh, Omar Infante singled with one out.  With two down, Bobby Higginson walked and Dean Palmer delivered an RBI single, cutting the lead to 2-1.  The go-ahead run was on and the tying run was in scoring position, but Craig Paquette grounded out to end the threat.

In the eighth Pierzynski homered to give the Twins an insurance run.  The Tigers did not get a man past first base after that.

WP:  Radke (1-0).  LP:  Maroth (0-1).  S:  Guardado (1).

Notes:  Michael Cuddyer was at third base in place of Corey Koskie.  Cuddyer would mostly play right field when he played, but he would spend much of the season in Rochester, as we will see as this series progresses.  Sorry if I should've spoilered that.

Other than that, the Twins used what would be their regular lineup for 2003.  Denny Hocking went to third base in the seventh, replacing Cuddyer for defense.  Chris Gomez pinch-ran for LeCroy in the ninth.

This was the year Detroit lost 119 games and Maroth lost 21 games.  This one was a tough luck loss, but overall he did not pitch well in 2003--5.73 ERA, 1.45 WHIP.  Still, he made 33 starts and pitched nearly 200 innings, due mostly to the fact that the Tigers had no one better to replace him with.  Of the six Detroit pitchers who started ten or more times, only one had an ERA under five (Nate Cornejo) and two had ERAs over six.  Remarkably, they were not last in the league in ERA--they were next to last at 5.30, but Texas was dead last at 5.67.

Maroth was actually in the Twins farm system for a time in 2010.  Most of that time was spent on the disabled list.  Another Tiger in this game with a Twins connection is Eric Munson, who went to spring training with the Twins in 2005.

Record:  The Twins were 1-0, tied for first place in the American League Central with Kansas City.

Random Rewind: 1996, Game One Hundred Forty-four


Date:  Tuesday, September 10.

Batting star:  Chuck Knoblauch was 1-for-2 with two walks and a stolen base, his thirty-ninth.

Pitching star:  Scott Klingenbeck struck out two in two shutout innings.

Opposition stars:  Dave Telgheder pitched a complete game shutout, giving up three hits and three walks and striking out seven.  Mike Bordick was 3-for-5 with a double and a stolen base, his fifth.  Brian Lesher was 2-for-4 with two runs.  Tony Batista was 2-for-5 with a walk and a stolen base, his sixth.  Jason Giambi was 2-for-5.  Ernie Young was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his seventeenth.

The game:  The Twins put two on in the first, but a double play took them out of the inning.  The Athletics started the scoring in the second when Lesher singled, went to second on a passed ball, and scored on a Bordick double.  Oakland increased its lead in the fourth.  Singles by Giambi, Bordick, and Tony Batista plated one run, Scott Brosius walked to load the bases, and a sacrifice fly made it 3-0.

Todd Walker doubled leading off the fourth but did not advance. The Athletics put the game away in the fifth.  They opened the inning with walks to Terry Steinbach and Lesher, and with one out Young hit a three-run homer to give Oakland a 6-0 lead.  They added one more in the sixth when Steinbach walked and Lesher and Giambi singled.

The Twins had only three hits.  Their last came in the sixth, when Rich Becker singled.  He got as far as third base, but that was it.

WP:  Telgheder (3-6).  LP:  Rich Robertson (7-14).  S:  None.

Notes:  Matt Walbeck was the catcher.  He shared catching duties with Greg Myers in 1996, with Myers playing in the majority of games.

Walker was the third baseman.  Dave Hollins was the regular third baseman most of the season, but he was traded at the August deadline.  Walker came up and was immediately given the third base job for the rest of the season.  He would, of course, play second base for most of his major league career.

Brent Brede went to right field in the eighth in place of Matt Lawton.  Mike Durant went behind the plate in the eighth in place of Walbeck.  Chip Hale pinch-hit for Pat Meares in the eighth.  Denny Hocking then went in to play short in the ninth.

Walker, in limited at-bats, was batting .343.  He would finish at .256.  Paul Molitor, at age thirty-nine, was batting .340.  He would finish at .341.  Knoblauch was batting .339.  He would also finish at .341.  Marty Cordova was batting .306.  He would finish at .309.  Part-time outfielder Roberto Kelly would bat .323 in 322 at-bats.

So with all those .300 hitters, did the Twins have an exceptional offense in 1996?  Not really.  They were tied for second in team batting average at .288, but only eighth in runs scored with 877.  The biggest reason, as you may have guessed, was a lack of power.  They finished dead last in the league in home runs with 118.  The team leader was Cordova with 16.  They had five others in double figures:  Scott Stahoviak (13), Knoblauch (13), Hollins (13), Becker (12), and Ron Coomer (12).

Robertson lasted 4.1 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and six walks and striking out two.  He would finish 7-17, 5.12.  Of their five most used starters, only one, Brad Radke, had an ERA under five.  The others were Frankie Rodriguez (5.05), Scott Aldred (5.09), and Rick Aguilera (5.42).  Aguilera had re-signed with the Twins on the condition that they give him the chance to start.  Dave Stevens was the closer at the start of the year.  When he couldn't do the job, they went closer by committee for a while and finally gave the job to Mike Trombley at the end of the season.

This was the only shutout of Dave Telgheder's career.  It was also the only complete game of his career.  As a starter for his career, he was 14-18, 5.39, 1.58 WHIP.  That's the pitcher who shut down the Twins in this game.  Yes, it's baseball, and it happens, but it happens to you a lot more when you're not very good.

Record:  The Twins were 72-72, in third place in the American League Central, 13.5 games behind Cleveland.  They would finish 78-84, in fourth place, 21.5 games behind Cleveland.

The Athletics were 71-75, in third place in the American League West, 13 games behind Texas.  They would finish 78-84, in third place, 12 games behind Texas.

Random Rewind: 1995, Game Seventy


Date:  Friday, July 14.

Batting stars:  Pedro Munoz was 3-for-4 with a double and four RBIs.  Marty Cordova was 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs.  Jeff Reboulet was 2-for-4 with a hit-by-pitch and four runs.  Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-4 with a triple, a stolen base (his twenty-first), a walk, and two runs.  Dan Masteller was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-5 with a double and a stolen base, his third.

Pitching stars:  Mark Guthrie pitched three shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out two.  Dave Stevens pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Jim Leyritz was 2-for-5 with a home run, his fifth.  Luis Polonia was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Don Mattingly was 2-for-4.

The game:  In the first inning Reboulet reached on an error, went to second on Puckett's single, took third on a wild pitch, and scored on a sacrifice fly to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  It lasted until the bottom of the first.  Polonia singled and scored on a double by Dion James.  James went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead.  The Twins tied it in the top of the second on singles by Scott Leius and Matt Walbeck and another sacrifice fly, but New York again took the lead in the bottom of the second when Leyritz led off the inning with a home run.

The Twins wasted a leadoff triple by Knoblauch in the third.  In the fourth, however, Cordova led off with a double, went to third on a ground out, and scored on Masteller's single to tie it 3-3.  The Twins took the lead in the fifth when Knoblauch singled, Reboulet was hit by a pitch, and Munoz delivered a two-run double.  The Yankees cut the lead to 5-4 in the bottom of the fifth when Wade Boggs doubled and scored on a Paul O'Neill single.

The Twins took control of the game in the sixth.  Walbeck led off with a single, but was still on first with two out.  Knoblauch walked.  Reboulet had an RBI single, Puckett hit a run-scoring double, Munoz drove in a run with a single, and Cordova hit a two-run double.  It was 10-4 Twins.

The Twins got their last run in the eighth on singles by RebouletMunoz, and Cordova.  The Yankees did not threaten to get back into the game.

WP:  Brad Radke (6-7).  LP:  Sterling Hitchcock (3-6).  S:  None.

Notes:  Masteller was at first base.  Twins first basemen in 1995 included Scott Stahoviak (69 games), Masteller (48), Ron Coomer (22), David McCarty (18), Reboulet (17), and Jerald Clark (11), along with four others who played less than ten games there.  It was Coomer's rookie season, and he did not come up until August 1.  it's saying something that he would be the best player out of that group.

Reboulet was at shortstop in place of Pat Meares.  Reboulet played all over the infield in 1995--39 games at shortstop, 22 at third base, 17 at first base, and 15 at second base.  This was his best season in the majors:  .292/.373/.398 in 246 plate appearances.

Knoblauch was leading the team in batting at .319.  He would finish at .333.  Munoz was batting .303.  He would finish at .301.

Radke pitched five innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and one walk and striking out none.  It was his rookie season, and at age 22 he was not ready, going 11-14, 5.32 in 28 starts.  That was actually above average for Twins starters in 1995, though--others who had a significant number of starts were Kevin Tapani (6-11, 4.92), Mike Trombley (4-8, 5.62), Frankie Rodriguez (5-6, 5.38), Scott Erickson (4-6, 5.95), and Jose Parra (1-5, 7.95).  The Twins had thirteen pitchers start games in 1995--other than Tapani, the only one to have an ERA below five was Rich Robertson, who only made four starts.

Hitchcock pitched just four innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits, with no walks and no strikeouts.  Other Yankee pitchers were Scott Bankhead, Dave Pavlas, and Bob MacDonald.  Ah, the good old days.

The 1995 season did not start until late April due to a strike or a lockout, I forget which.  Thus, the Twins were only on their seventieth game on July 14.

Record:  The Twins were 23-47, in fifth (last) place in the American League Central, 25.5 games behind Cleveland.  They would finish 56-88, in fifth place, 44 games behind Cleveland.

The Yankees were 32-37, in fourth place in the American League East, 7.5 games behind Boston.  They would finish 79-65, in second place, seven games behind Boston, but winning the wild card.