MINNESOTA 13, BALTIMORE 9 IN BALTIMORE
Date: Monday, August 15.
Batting stars: Dan Ford was 3-for-5 with a double, a stolen base (his sixth), two runs, and two RBIs. Larry Hisle was 2-for-3 with a double, two walks, a stolen base (his eighteenth), two runs, and two RBIs. Craig Kusick was 2-for-4 with two home runs (his ninth and tenth) and five RBIs. Bob Gorinski was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer (his second). Bobby Randall was 2-for-5 with two runs.
Pitching star: Ron Schueler pitched three innings, giving up one run on two hits and no walks and striking out one.
Opposition stars: Ken Singleton was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer (his eighteenth), a walk, and two runs. Eddie Murray was 2-for-4 with a walk and two RBIs. Lee May was 2-for-4 with a home run, his ninteenth. Al Bumbry was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk. Andres Mora was 2-for-5 with two home runs (his eighth and ninth) and three RBIs.
The game: Roy Smalley led off the game with a walk, was bunted to second, went to third on a ground out, and scored on Hisle's single to put the Twins up 1-0. The Orioles took the lead in the bottom of the second when Bumbry and Singleton singled, May walked to load the bases, and Murray delivered a two-run single. The Twins went back in front in the second when Butch Wynegar walked and Gorinski followed with a two-run homer. It was 3-2 Twins after an inning and a half.
Baltimore took the lead back in the third when Singleton walked and Mora hit a two-run homer. They added to their lead in the fourth when Dave Skaggs singled and scored on Bumbry's double-plus-error. But in the fifth, Randall singled, Hisle walked, and Kusick hit a three-run homer to put the Twins ahead 6-5.
The Orioles loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth, but did not score. It cost them, as the Twins scored five times in the sixth. The first two batters went out, but then Smalley walked, Randall doubled, Ford had a two-run single, Hisle had an RBI double, and Kusick hit a two-run homer, making the score 11-5.
Baltimore tried to get back into it. Singleton hit a two-run homer in the sixth and Mora a solo shot in the seventh to cut the lead to 11-8. But the Twins got a run in the eighth when Ford doubled and scored on a Rod Carew single and one more in the ninth Lyman Bostock doubled and scored on a Bud Bulling single. May homered in the ninth to complete the scoring, but the Orioles did not get the tying run even to the on-deck circle.
WP: Schueler (5-4). LP: Rudy May (13-11). S: None.
Notes: Kusick, normally the DH, was at first base in place of Carew. Bulling was in the lineup at DH. Jerry Terrell was at third in place of Mike Cubbage. Bostock, normally in center, was out of the lineup, with Hisle moving from left to center and Gorinski in left.
Carew pinch-hit for Kusick in the eighth and stayed in the game at first base. Cubbage pinch-hit for Terrell in the eighth and stayed in the game at third base. Bostock pinch-hit for Gorinski in the ninth and stayed in the game in left.
Oddly, Bostock played 90 games in center and 60 in left, while Hisle played 71 games in left and 63 in center. I don't remember, but it appears Gene Mauch couldn't make up his mind which way his defense would be stronger. On the other hand, knowing Mauch, he may have based it on the field they were playing in, which way the wind was blowing, whether his pitcher was a groundball or a flyball pitcher, or any of a hundred other factors.
Carew was leading the team in batting at .380. He would finish at .388. Bostock was batting .334. He would finish at .336. Hisle would also finish over .300, at .302. Unsurprisingly, the Twins led the league in batting average at .282.
Hisle led the team in homers with 28. Carew and Bostock each hit 14. Kusick has 12, Ford 11, and Wynegar 10. The Twins were eleventh in the league in home runs.
Dave Goltz started for the Twins. He had a good year in 1977, but you couldn't tell it from this game. He lasted just four innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and two walks and striking out three. By game scores, it was tied for his second-worst game of the season. For the season, he was their best starting pitcher, and in fact their only reliable starting pitcher, going 20-11, 3.36. The others were Paul Thormodsgard (11-15, 4.62), Geoff Zahn (12-14, 4.68), and Pete Redfern (6-9, 5.18). It was pretty much a four-man rotation all year, as no one else made more than seven starts. Reliever Tom Johnson was second on the team in wins, going 16-7, 3.13. He also had 15 saves.
This was one of three games Bulling had at DH, and one of fifteen games he played as a Twin. He was normally a catcher.
This was the only season of Gorinski's major league career. The home run he hit was one of three in his career. He had hit 28 home runs at AAA Toledo in 1976, and was one of a long line of "next Killebrews" before the Twins finally realized that you can't just create a "next Killebrew".
The Twins had three regulars out of the lineup, two of who were batting well over .300, and yet scored thirteen runs. That's baseball.
Record: The Twins were 68-50, in first place in the American League West, a half game ahead of Chicago. They would finish 84-77, in fourth place, 17.5 games behind Kansas City. The Royals went 38-10 after this date.
The Orioles were 67-49, in second place in the American League East, 3.5 games behind Boston. They would finish 97-64, tied for second with Boston, 2.5 games behind New York. The Yankees went 34-12 after this date.
Random Record: The Twins are 35-27 in Random Rewind games.