MINNESOTA 3, TEXAS 1 IN TEXAS (7 INNINGS)
Date: Wednesday, September 8.
Batting stars: Lyman Bostock was 4-for-4 with a triple, a double, and two runs. Larry Hisle was 2-for-2 with a walk and a stolen base, his twenty-ninth.
Pitching star: Steve Luebber pitched a seven inning complete game, giving up one run on seven hits and no walks and striking out none.
Opposition stars: Tommy Boggs pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on eight hits and three walks and striking out none.
The game: The Twins put men on first and third in the second inning but did not score. The Rangers did score in the second, on a home run by Tom Grieve, but they also had the bases loaded with one out and were turned aside by a 1-2-3 double play, leaving the score 1-0.
The Twins tied it in the fourth. Bostock singled, Hisle walked, and Butch Wynegar had an RBI single. They still had men on first and second with none out, but could do more damage, leaving the score 1-1. In the fifth, however, Steve Braun led off with a single, moved to third on a pair of outs, and scored on Bostock's triple. Hisle delivered a run-scoring single to make it 3-1 Twins.
That was pretty much it. Texas got a single in the fifth and another in the seventh, but did nothing with them. The eighth started well for the Twins: Bostock doubled and Hisle singled, putting men on first and third with none out. But the game was called at that point.
WP: Luebber (4-4). LP: Boggs (1-5). S: None.
Notes: Braun was the designated hitter and batted leadoff. He and Craig Kusick mostly shared the DH job, with Kusick playing a few more games there (79 to 71). Tony Oliva, in his last season, played 32 games at DH.
The Twins made no substitutions. You could say that neither team did, really. Reliever Craig Skok was apparently announced into the game two batters into the eighth inning, but the game was called before he could pitch to a batter. Apparently he got credit for a game played, as he shows up in the box score and it's in his game log.
Bostock led the team in batting at this point at .331. Carew was right behind him at .328. Carew would overtake Bostock by season's end, winning the team batting championship .331 to .323. This snapped a string of four consecutive league batting crowns by Carew, as George Brett took the crown at .333 and Hal McRae was right behind him at .332. You may recall that there was kerfuffle at the end of the season, with McRae alleging that Twins outfielder Steve Brye had purposely allowed a Brett fly ball to fall for a hit so that Brett would win the batting title rather than McRae, and alleging that Gene Mauch had purposely made that happen for racial reasons. Nothing ever came of the allegations.
The Twins home run leader was Disco Dan Ford with 20. Hisle had 14, Kusick 11, and Wynegar 10. A Bomba Squad they were not. Surprisingly, they hit more homers than four other American League teams.
This was one of two complete games Luebber had in his career, and both were in 1976. The other came on August 2, when he shut out Oakland. Bert Blyleven was the ace of the staff until he was traded; then it was probably Dave Goltz (14-14, 3.36). Pete Redfern had his one good year as a starter, going 8-8, 3.51. Bill Singer pitched well after the trade, going 9-9, 3.77. Other starters included Luebber (4-5, 4.00), Jim Hughes (9-14, 4.98), and Eddie Bane (4-7, 5.11). The leader in wins, however, was reliever Bill Campbell, who went 17-5, 3.01 with 20 saves. He pitched 167.2 innings of relief over 78 games.
There were no strikeouts in the game for either team. Even granting that it was a seven-inning game, that's pretty unusual.
I assume the game was rained out in the top of the eighth, but the game log does not actually say that.
Record: The Twins were 71-70, in third place in the American League West, 9.5 games behind Kansas City. They would finish 85-77, in third place, 5 games behind Kansas City.
The Rangers were 63-75, in fourth place in the American League West, 16 games behind Kansas City. They would finish 76-86, tied for fourth with California, 14 games behind Kansas City.
Random Record: The Twins are 33-27 in Random Rewind games.