OAKLAND 6, MINNESOTA 0 IN OAKLAND
Date: Monday, September 21.
Batting star: Harmon Killebrew was 0-for-2 with a walk.
Pitching star: Jim Perry pitched an eight-inning complete game, giving up six runs (two earned) on nine hits and five walks and striking out three.
Opposition stars: Vida Blue pitched a no-hitter, striking out nine and giving up a walk. Don Mincher was 2-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch. Bert Campaneris was 2-for-5 with a three-run homer (his twenty-first), a triple, and two runs.
The game: Once you've said "Vida Blue pitched a no-hitter", there's not a lot more to say. The Athletics got on the board in the second when Campaneris tripled and scored on a double play grounder. The Twins lone baserunner, Killebrew, reached on a two-out walk in the fourth inning.
It was still 1-0 through seven, but Oakland broke it open in the eighth. Mincher led off with a single and Sal Bando followed with a single-plus-error, scoring Mincher and leaving Bando on third. With one out, Gene Tenace was intentionally walked. Dick Green had an RBI single, a bunt moved the runners up, and Campaneris hit a three-run homer, giving the Athletics a 6-0 lead.
WP: Blue (2-0).
LP: Perry (23-12).
Notes: Rick Renick was at third base, with Killebrew moving to first and Rich Reese on the bench. Danny Thompson was at second base in place of Rod Carew. Jim Holt went to center field in the eighth, with Cesar Tovar moving to left and Brant Alyea coming out. Bob Allison pinch-hit for Perry in the ninth.
Tony Oliva was 0-for-3 and was batting .319. Tovar was 0-for-4 and was batting .300.
I wondered about Perry throwing a complete game, but it was still 1-0 going to the eighth. I still don't think it was very smart to have him pitch that much this late in the season, with the playoffs just around the corner, but it was a different time then, and the closeness of the game makes it less egregious.
Blue had come up as a September call-up. This was his fourth start, and his second complete game shutout. He had appeared in twelve games in 1969, four of them starts. He made a total of six starts in 1970, and went 2-0, 2.09, 0.83 WHIP. He struck out 35 in 38.2 innings and had a FIP of 1.89. He was only twenty, but I think it's safe to say he was ready for the majors. This would be the only complete game no-hitter he would have. He was part of a combined no-hitter in 1975, throwing five innings.
Allison had a batting average of .211. Perry, whom he pitch-hit for, had an average of .250. That is not in any way intended to indicate that I think it was wrong to send Allison up there. I just thought it was interesting.
The loss kept the Twins from clinching the division.
Record: The Twins were 92-61, in first place in the American League West, 7.5 games ahead of Oakland. Their magic number remained two.