MINNESOTA 4, CLEVELAND 1 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Thursday, April 30.
Batting stars: Leo Cardenas was 3-for-4 with a home run (his second) and a double. Brant Alyea was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his fifth. Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-4 with a home run, his fourth. Paul Ratliff was 2-for-4.
Pitching stars: Luis Tiant pitched 5.2 innings, giving up one run on four hits and one walk and striking out three. Stan Williams pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and a walk. Ron Perranoski pitched two perfect innings.
Opposition stars: Ted Uhlaender was 2-for-4 with a double. Graig Nettles was 1-for-3 with a home run and a walk. Bob Miller pitched two shutout innings, giving up two hits and striking out one.
The game: The Twins got two singles in the first but did not score. The Indians got on the board in the fourth on Nettles' homer, taking a 1-0 lead. The Twins countered in the bottom of the fourth. Killebrew homered to tie it, Rich Reese singled, and Alyea hit a two-run homer to make it 3-1 Twins. Cardenas homered in the fifth to make it 4-1.
Cleveland threatened in the sixth. Uhlaender led off with a double. He was still on second with two out, but then Tony Horton walked and Roy Foster singled, loading the bases. But Ray Fosse grounded out to end the inning. The Indians again threatened in the eighth when Uhlaender led off with a single and Nettles walked, but they never moved off of first and second. Well, they did once the inning was over, but you know what I mean. Cleveland went out in order in the ninth.
WP: Tiant (4-0).
LP: Steve Hargan (1-2).
S: Perranoski (4).
Notes: Paul Ratliff was again behind the plate in place of George Mitterwald. Frank Quilici was at second in the continuing absence of Rod Carew. Jim Holt pinch-ran for Alyea in the eighth and stayed in the game in left field. Minnie Mendoza replaced Killebrew in the ninth.
Alyea was batting .415. Ratliff was batting .357. Killebrew was batting .317. Tony Oliva was 1-for-4 and was batting .316. Tiant had an ERA of 2.79. Williams still had an ERA of zero. Perranoski had an ERA of 1.98.
All three of the Indians designated as "stars" are ex-Twins.
If you were asked "Who led the Twins in homers in the first month of 1970", your default answer would probably be Killebrew. If you were told that was wrong, you'd probably say "Oliva". You might even say "Rich Reese". But unless you're really familiar with the 1970 club, you probably wouldn't say "Brant Alyea". But that's who it was, with five home runs. Those five home runs represent thirteen percent of his career total.
Ratliff was batting nearly two hundred points higher than the Twins' "regular" catcher, Mitterwald. He obviously wouldn't sustain that, but I would assume there were some who thought Ratliff should be the regular catcher. If so, Bill Rigney didn't listen to them, because Ratliff would get just 149 at-bats. This was the only good offensive season Ratliff had, as he batted .268 with an OPS of .806. In fact, not only was it his only good offensive season, it was the only season in which he batted over .200 or had an OPS over .700.
This game closed out a ten-game homestand. The Twins would now go on a nine-game road trip, traveling to Baltimore, Detroit, and Cleveland.
Record: The Twins were 12-6, in first place in the American League West by winning percentage, but tied with California in games.