MILWAUKEE 3, MINNESOTA 2 IN MINNESOTA
DateL Sunday, August 26.
Batting star: Jim Holt was 2-for-4 with a double.
Pitching stars: Bert Blyleven struck out eleven in 7.2 innings, giving up three runs on nine hits and no walks. Bill Hands retired all four men he faced, striking out two.
Opposition stars: Jim Slaton pitched 8.2 innings, giving up two runs on six hits and a walk and striking out none. Bob Coluccio was 2-for-4 with a double and a stolen base, his tenth. Pedro Garcia was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer, his eleventh.
The game: The Brewers put men on second and third with none out in the first, but Blyleven came back to strike out Johnny Briggs and George Scott before retiring Don Money on a liner to left. In the second, however, Tim Johnson hit a two-out single and Garcia followed with a two-run homer, putting Milwaukee ahead 2-0.
Holt had a leadoff double in the third but did nothing came of it. That was the only time either team got a man past first base until the sixth, when Coluccio doubled and Money delivered a two-out single to make it 3-0.
Brewers starter Slaton appeared to be in complete control. In the ninth, however, Larry Hisle led off with a triple and Tony Oliva singled him home, making the score 3-1 and bringing the tying run up to bat. Mike Adams came in to run for Oliva and got as far as second with two out. Chris Short came in to face Steve Braun, but when Bobby Darwin pinch-hit he was intentionally walked. That was the only man Short would face, as Carlos Velazquez came in to face pinch-hitter Eric Soderholm. Soderholm delivered an RBI single, cutting the margin to 3-2 and putting the tying run on third. Jerry Terrell fouled out to third, however, and the game was over.
WP: Slaton (9-11). LP: Blyleven (15-14). S: Velazquez (2).
Notes: Phil Roof caught in place of George Mitterwald, presumably because it was a day game after a night game.
Rich Reese was at first base, one of only four games he started for the Twins. He was at the end of his career, having been released by Detroit a couple of weeks earlier, and was apparently brought back to the Twins out of sentiment. Harmon Killebrew was still the primary first baseman, but he missed a couple of months due to injury. Joe Lis played the most games at first in 1973, with 96.
Terrell shared the shortstop position with Danny Thompson. Both were pretty much dead weight offensively. Terrell was a little better, at .265/.297/.315. Thompson batted .225/.259/.282. Thompson played more games at short, 95 to 81.
Darwin was the regular right fielder, but was given the day off. Holt, who played the most games in left (80), was in right, with Hisle in left. Hisle also played quite a bit of center field, but Steve Brye played the most games there and was there in this game.
All the substitutions came in the ninth inning and are mentioned above.
Carew, not surprisingly, was leading the team in batting at .347. He would finish at .350 and be the team's only .300 hitter. The Twins would actually lead the league in batting at .270. Carew was obviously a big part of that, but Holt batted .297, Oliva .291, and Braun .283. Soderholm also batting .297 in 111 at-bats.
Darwin led the team in home runs with 18. Mitterwald and Oliva each had 16, Hisle 15, and Holt 11. The Twins were seventh in home runs with 120.
Blyleven, of course, was the ace of the pitching staff, going 20-17, 2.52. Dick Woodson was 10-8, 3.95; Jim Kaat was 11-12, 4.41; Joe Decker was 10-10, 4.18. Others to make double digit starts were Hands (7-10, 3.49) and Dave Goltz (6-4, 5.25). Hands' record is deceiving. In his fifteen starts he went 5-7, 4.55. Moved to the bullpen, he was excellent, going 2-3, 1.34, 1.09 WHIP, and two saves in 47 relief innings.
The Twins didn't really have a closer. Ken Sanders started the year as the closest thing to one, but he often was used for two or three innings. He had eight saves, but also had an ERA of over six when he was waived in early August. Ray Corbin took over the closer role and actually was fairly good, getting 14 saves. The Twins preferred to have him in a longer role, so Bill Campbell was eventually made the closer near the season's end.
This was Bob Coluccio's rookie year. He was a regular for Milwaukee for two seasons but couldn't get his batting average out of the .220s. Presumably he was considered a fine fielder.
This was also Pedro Garcia's rookie year. He batted .245/.296/.395, which was good enough to place him second in Rookie of the Year voting behind Al Bumbry. That was as good as it would get for him, though. He slumped to .199 the next year and was never a regular again. His was a second baseman, and presumably was not all that good in the field, because while he spent a few seasons as a reserve he was never used at another position.
This was the end of a stretch in which the Twins lost eight out of nine. They would win seven of the next nine.
Record: The Twins were 60-68, in third place in the American League West, 16.5 games behind Oakland. They would finish 81-81, in third place, 13 games behind Oakland.
The Brewers were 62-65, in fifth place in the American League East, 12.5 games behind Baltimore. They would finish 74-88, in fifth place, 23 games behind Baltimore.
Random record: The Twins are 38-35 in Random Rewind games.