KANSAS CITY 14, MINNESOTA 13 IN MINNESOTA (12 INNINGS)
Date: Tuesday, September 29.
Batting stars: Leo Cardenas was 5-for-6 with a walk and four RBIs. Tony Oliva was 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Jim Holt was 3-for-7. George Mitterwald was 2-for-2 with a double, a walk, a hit-by-pitch, a stolen base (his third), and two RBIs. Cesar Tovar was 2-for-5 with a double, two walks, and three RBIs.
Pitching star: Stan Williams pitched three shutout innings, giving up two hits and striking out one.
Opposition stars: Billy Sorrell was 3-for-5 with two runs and three RBIs. Cookie Rojas was 3-for-6 with two runs. Pat Kelly was 2-for-2. Bobby Floyd was 2-for-5 with a walk and two runs. Ed Kirkpatrick was 2-for-6 with a double, a stolen base (his fourth), and three RBIs. Bob Oliver was 2-for-6. Jim York pitched two shutout innings, giving up a hit and striking out one.
The game: The Twins led early. Tovar led off the first with a walk and Cardenas and Oliva singled, loading the bases. Harmon Killebrew hit a two-run single, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead. The Twins again loaded the bases in the third inning, this time with two out, on singles by Mitterwald and Tovar and a walk to Cardenas. And this time it was Oliva delivering a two-run single, making it 4-0. The Twins added one more in the third when Mitterwald drew a two-out walk, stole second, and scored on a Danny Thompson single, bringing the score to 5-0.
But the Royals came roaring back in the fifth. Consecutive one-out singles by Oliver, Rojas, Floyd, Tommy Matchick, Sorrell, and Kelly resulted in five runs, tying the score at 5-5.
The Twins took the lead back in the fifth. Killebrew walked, Holt singled, and a two-out double by Mitterwald made it 7-5. In the fifth Bob Allison reached on an error and scored on a Cardenas single. Oliva followed with a single, and another error brought home another run, making it 9-5 Twins.
It stayed 9-5 until the ninth, when Kansas City had another big inning. Singles by Rojas, Floyd, Sorrell, and Jackie Hernandez made it 9-7 with one out and two on. A ground out followed for the second out, but an error made it 9-8, Kirkpatrick's two-run double made it 10-9 Royals, and another error increased the Kansas City lead to 11-9.
This time it was the Twins' turn to come back. In the bottom of the ninth Rich Reese walked and singles by Paul Ratliff, Cardenas, and Charlie Manuel tied the score and sent the game to extra innings.
Neither team scored in the tenth, but each team scored two in the eleventh. In the top of the inning Eliseo Rodriguez walked, was bunted to second, and scored on a Lou Piniella single. Piniella then stole second and scored on Kirkpatrick's single to give the Royals a 13-11 lead. But in the bottom of the inning Cotton Nash walked, Tovar doubled, and Cardenas delivered another two-run single to tie it 13-13.
In the twelfth Floyd led off with a walk, Sorrell singled with one out, and pitcher Ted Abernathy hit a two-out single to put Kansas City back up 14-13. This time the Twins could not come back. Holt had a leadoff single but could advance no farther and the game was over.
WP: Abernathy (10-3).
LP: Pete Hamm (0-2).
Notes: Holt was again in center field, with Tovar at third base, Killebrew on first, and Reese out of the lineup. Thompson was at second in place of Rod Carew.
There were a lot of substitutions. Allison pinch-hit for starter Jim Perry in the fifth and stayed in the game in right field, with Oliva coming out. Steve Brye went to left and Jim Nettles to right in the eighth, replacing Brant Alyea and Allison. Carew pinch-hit for Mitterwald in the ninth, with Rick Dempsey coming in to catch. Reese pinch-hit for Thompson in the ninth, with Frank Quilici pinch-running for Reese and going to second base. Paul Ratliff pinch-hit for Brye in the ninth, with Herman Hill pinch-running for Ratliff. Manuel pinch-hit for Bill Zepp in the ninth and stayed in the game in left field. Nash replaced Herman Hill in the lineup and went to first base, with Killebrew coming out of the game. Rick Renick went to shortstop in place of Cardenas in the twelfth.
Carew was 0-for-1 and was batting .370. Oliva was batting .324. Williams had an ERA of 2.01. Ron Perranoski gave up four runs (two earned) in a third of an inning and had an ERA of 2.44.
Manuel was 1-for-2 and was batting .197. Hamm gave up one run in one inning and had an ERA of 5.51.
Perry pitched five innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits and no walks and striking out two.
Al Fitzmorris was the starting pitcher, but he came out of the game without throwing a pitch. Paul Splittorff replaced him. I have to assume Fitzmorris either was ill or injured himself warming up--I see no reason this would be some sort of ploy in a meaningless game.
Floyd had another big game against the Twins. He was now 8-for-13 with three doubles and a walk in his last three games. He played in 17 major league games in 1970, nine of them against the Twins. In those nine games he batted .320/.400/.440. For his career against the Twins, he batted .239/.313/.310 in 27 games. I guess it just goes to show that anyone can get hot for a few games.
The Twins used eighteen position players and six pitchers in this game. With the only slightly expanded September rosters now, we will never be able to see this again.
Record: The Twins were 96-64, in first place in the American League West, eight games ahead of Oakland.