Tag Archives: Minnesota Twins

1969 Rewind: Game Fifteen


Date:  Friday, April 25.

Batting stars:  Tony Oliva was 3-for-4.  Leo Cardenas was 3-for-5 with a triple and two RBIs.  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-5.  Graig Nettles hit a pinch-hit three-run homer, his second.

Pitching stars:  Dick Woodson pitched five shutout innings of relief, giving up two hits and no walks and striking out one.

Opposition star:  Buddy Bradford was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his fourth.

The game:  The Twins scored two batters into the game, as Tovar singled and Cardenas tripled.  But despite Harmon KillebrewOliva, and Bob Allison coming up next, the Twins could not do any more damage, so the score stayed 1-0.

It would come back to haunt them, as the White Sox scored four in the bottom of the first.  A walk, a single, and a wild pitch put men on second and third with one out.  Don Pavletich hit a two-run single, and with two out Bradford homered to put Chicago up 4-1.

The Twins got another run in the fifth when Woodson walked, Tovar singled, and Cardenas had an RBI single, but they ran themselves out of the inning when Cardenas was thrown out at second.  They came back to take the lead in the eighth, however.  Oliva led off with a single and Allison followed with a double.  Bob Locker came in to replace starter Tommy John and Nettles, pinch-hitting for George Mitterwald, hit a three-run homer to make it 5-4 Minnesota.

The Twins couldn't hold the lead.  With a man on first and one out in the ninth, Ron Perranoski came in once again, and this time the overuse finally caught up to him.  He gave up singles to Walt Williams and Ron Hansen to tie it 5-5.  A passed ball put men on second and third and led to an intentional walk to Woodie Held.  Carlos May then singled to left to bring home the deciding run.

WP:  Locker (1-0).  LP:  Perranoski (3-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Tovar made only his fifth start of the season, replacing Ted Uhlaender in center.  Tovar would get more playing time as the season went on, both in the infield and the outfield.

Allison made only his fourth start of the season, playing left field.  He would be a part-time player most of the season, although he would play more down the stretch.

Frank Quilici made his fourth start of the season, his second at second base.  He was used as a defensive replacement for much of the season, generally replacing Killebrew at third base.

Ron Clark made his second start of the season, playing third base.  This would be his last appearance as a Twin.  He was sent to AAA Denver and was sold to Seattle in mid-July.

Rod Carew was used as a pinch-hitter and went 1-for-1, raising his average to .389.  Oliva went up to .388.  Cardenas raised his average to .345.  Nettles went up to .300.

From April 11-18, Hall made three appearances and pitched sixteen shutout innings, including a complete game shutout on the 18th.  Since then, he has made two starts and pitched just 3.2 innings, allowing nine runs on seven hits and two walks.  His ERA went from 0.42 to 3.55.

Perranoski had now appeared in ten of the Twins' fifteen games.  These were the first earned runs he had allowed on the season.

White Sox starter Tommy John pitched seven innings, giving up four runs on ten hits and two walks with two strikeouts.

Record:  The Twins were 8-7, tied for third with Kansas City, one game behind the White Sox.

1969 Rewind: Game Fourteen


Date:  Thursday, April 24.

Batting stars:  Rod Carew was 3-for-5.  Leo Cardenas was 2-for-4 with a double.  Graig Nettles was 2-for-4.  Charlie Manuel was 2-for-4.  Tony Oliva was 1-for-5 with a two-run homer, his fourth.

Pitching stars:  Charley Walters pitched a perfect inning, striking out one.  Bob Miller struck out three in 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk.  Jim Perry pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Rick Monday was 3-for-4 with three doubles and two RBIs.  Reggie Jackson was 2-for-2 with two home runs (his third and fourth) and three RBIs.  Danny Cater was 2-for-4.  Sal Bando was 1-for-4 with a home run, his third.

The game:  Oakland jumped on Twins starter Dave Boswell for three runs in the first inning.  Jackson hit a two-run homer and Bando made it back-to-back with a solo shot.  The Twins put two on with two out in the bottom of the first, but Nettles grounded out to end the inning.  The Twins again threatened in the second, putting men on second and third with none out, but Johnny Roseboro fanned, Boswell popped up, and Ted Uhlaender struck out.

Oakland scored two more in the third.  Jackson hit his second home run, followed by a Cater single.  He then scored from first on Monday's double to make it 5-0.  Monday had another RBI double in the fifth to increase the lead to 6-0.

The Twins finally got on the board in the fifth, when Carew's two-out single was followed by an Oliva home run.  The Twins opened the sixth with consecutive singles by NettlesManuel, and Cardenas to cut the lead to 6-3, but Paul Lindblad came in to replace Blue Moon Odom and retired the side on a fly out and a double play.

The Twins opened the seventh with singles by Uhlaender and Carew.  With Oliva and Killebrew coming up, it looked like they would get back into the game, but Oliva lined to left and Killebrew was caught looking.  Nettles delivered a single to make the score 6-4, but that was as good as it would get.  The Twins did not get another hit the rest of the game.

WP:  Odom (3-1).  LP:  Boswell (1-2).  S:  Lew Krausse (2).

Notes:  Carew took over the team batting lead, raising his average to .377.  Oliva fell to .365.  Cardenas went up to .321.  Uhlaender went 1-for-5 and dropped to .316.  Killebrew was 1-for-4 with a walk and was batting .308.

Nettles started at third base for only the second time of the season.  Killebrew was at first.  Manuel made only his second start of the season, playing left field.  It was his rookie season.

Twins starting pitching was definitely running hot-and-cold.  In this game, Boswell lasted just 2.2 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on six hits and no walks.  He struck out one.

Ron Perranoski made another appearance, although this time it was just for one batter.  He came in with two on and two out in the eighth, with the Twins trailing 6-4, and got Jim Pagliaroni to ground out, ending the inning.  He had appeared in nine of the Twins' fourteen games and had still not allowed an earned run.

Jackson hit two home runs, but apparently was still bothered by something, as he came out of the game after four innings.  Mike Hershberger again replaced him in right.

Odom pitched five innings, giving up three runs on nine hits and one walk with six strikeouts.  The Twins stranded nine runners and went 2-for-11 with men in scoring position.

Record:  The Twins were 8-6, tied for first place with the White Sox and Kansas City.

1969 Rewind: Game Thirteen


Date:  Wednesday, April 23.

Batting stars:  Ted Uhlaender was 4-for-5 with a double.  Rod Carew was 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs.  Leo Cardenas was 2-for-4 with a double and scored twice.  Johnny Roseboro hit a two-run homer.

Pitching stars:  Jim Perry struck out four in 2.2 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and a walk.  Ron Perranoski pitched 2.1 innings, giving up an unearned run on two hits and striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Danny Cater was 3-for-5 with a double.  Mike Hershberger was 2-for-3 with a stolen base.  Bert Campaneris was 2-for-4 with a stolen base (his third), scoring twice.  Rick  Monday was 2-for-5.

The game:  Oakland again jumped out early, scoring two in the first on a run-scoring ground out and an RBI double by Cater.  The Twins got both runs back before a man was retired, with Uhlaender leading off with a single and Carew following with a two-run homer.  The Twins went up 3-2 in the second, with Carew laying down a squeeze bunt to score Jim Kaat, who'd reached base with an infield single.

Oakland took the lead back in the third, as two singles and an error, all with two out, plated two runs.  The Athletics put together another two-out rally in the fourth, getting singles from Campaneris, Hershberger, and Tommie Reynolds to go ahead 5-3.  The Twins cut the margin to 5-4 in the bottom of the fourth, when Cardenas doubled and scored on a pair of fly outs.

It remained 5-4 until the sixth, when Cardenas hit a one-out single and scored on a two-run homer by Roseboro.  The Twins put together a two-out rally of their own in the eighth, as they got consecutive singles by PerranoskiUhlaender, and Carew for an insurance run to make the score 7-5.

Oakland wasn't done, as Monday delivered a two-out single in the ninth to cut the lead to 7-6.  Perranoski then struck out Dave Duncan to end the game.

WP:  Perry (1-1).  LP:  Catfish Hunter (1-2).  S:  Perranoski (2).

Notes:  Oliva was 1-for-3 with two walks to make his average .379.  Carew raised his average to .354.  Uhlaender raised his average to .327.  Killebrew was 1-for-3 with a walk and was batting .313.  Roseboro was 1-for-4 and was batting .308.  Cardenas raised his average to .306.

As you can see above, six of the Twins' eight starters had batting averages over .300.

Twins' starter Kaat pitched just 3.2 innings, allowing five runs (three earned) on eight hits and a walk and striking out two.  He would not pitch again until May 7.  It appears that Perry took his spot in the rotation until then.

Perranoski had now pitched 17.1 innings without allowing an earned run.

I had speculated that Reggie Jackson was just given a day off yesterday, but Hershberger started in his place again in this game.  Jackson again pinch-hit.  Perhaps Jackson had a minor injury.

This would be the next-to-last major league appearance for Oakland pitcher John Wyatt.  He had a nine-year big league career, playing for the Kansas City Athletics, Boston, the Yankees, and Detroit before finishing his career in 1969 with Oakland.  He played from 1961-1969 and was almost exclusively a relief pitcher, making the only nine starts of his career in 1962.  He made the all-star team in 1964, when he led the league in appearances with eighty-one.  He also set the record for most home runs allowed by a relief pitcher that season, twenty-three.  For his career, he was 42-44, 3.47, 1.38 WHIP in 435 games (687.1 innings).

Record:  The Twins were 8-5, in first place, leading the White Sox and Kansas City by a half game.



1969 Rewind: Game Twelve


Date:  Tuesday, April 22.

Batting star:  Leo Cardenas was 2-for-3.

Pitching stars:  Charley Walters pitched two shutout innings, giving up one hit.  Jim Perry struck out three in three shutout innings, giving up one hit and three walks.

Opposition stars:  Bert Campaneris was 3-for-4 with a double, a stolen base (his second) and three runs.  Danny Cater was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.  Rollie Fingers pitched a complete game shutout, giving up five hits and one walk and striking out two.

The game:  The Athletics got in going in the first inning.  With two out and a man on second, Sal Bando tripled and Cater singled to give Oakland a 2-0 lead.  They struck again with two out in the third inning.  With men on first and second, Cater again singled home a run, making it 3-0 and chasing Twins' starter Tom Hall.  Dick Woodson came in and could not get anything accomplished, allowing RBI singles to Dick Green and Rick Monday and a run-scoring double to future Twin Phil Roof.  It was 6-0 after three and would never be a game again.

The Twins threatened in the fourth, putting men on second and third with one out.  Graig Nettles popped up and Rich Reese grounded out to end the inning.  Nettles had a one-out triple in the seventh, but Reese and Johnny Roseboro each grounded out to end the threat.

Oakland's final run came in the ninth, when Campaneris walked and scored from first on a double by Reggie Jackson.

WP:  Fingers (1-0).  LP:  Hall (1-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Tony Oliva was 1-for-4 and was batting .382.  Carew was 0-for-3 with a walk, dropping to .341.  Roseboro was 0-for-3 and was batting .318.  Killebrew was 1-for-4 with a double and was batting .311.

Hall, who had thrown a complete game shutout on April 18, could not get out of the third inning, although just looking at the play-by-play it seems like a pretty quick hook.  His line was 2.2 innings, five runs, five hits, one walk, one strikeout.  It was made worse, of course, by the fact that Woodson couldn't get anybody out.

Jackson did not start the game.  He was used as a pinch-hitter for Mike Hershberger, who started in right field.  Presumably, Jackson was just being given the day off.

The Athletics' starting left fielder and number three batter was Tommie Reynolds, of whom I have no recollection.  He played in parts of eight seasons from 1963-1972.  He was with the Kansas City Athletics, the Mets, Oakland, California, and Milwaukee.  This was his only season with the Oakland A's, but he appeared in 107 games for them, mostly in left.  It would also be his best season, but he still only batted .257/.343/.308.  He played in AAA with the Brewers from 1973-1978 and did very well, batting over .300 four times and hitting twenty or more home runs three times, but did not get another chance in the majors.

The Twins' loss put an end to their seven-game winning streak.

Record:  Minnesota was 7-5, in first place, a half game ahead of Kansas City and Oakland.

1969 Rewind: Game Eleven


Date:  Monday, April 21.

Batting stars:  Ted Uhlaender was 3-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base (his second), scoring three times.  Graig Nettles was 2-for-3 with two RBIs.  Rich Reese was 2-for-4.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.

Pitching star:  Dean Chance pitched seven innings, giving up an unearned run on two hits and a walk and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  Rick Monday was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk, driving in two.  Tommie Reynolds was 2-for-4 with a double.  Ex-Twin Jim Roland struck out three in 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up no hits and three walks.

The game:  It was scoreless until the third.  With the bases loaded and one out, Oliva had an RBI single, Killebrew had a two-run single-plus-error, and Nettles had a two-run single to make the score 5-0.

It stayed there until the sixth.  Chance had a no-hitter through five innings, but Monday led off the sixth with a double.  An error put men on first and third and Ramon Webster had a sacrifice fly to put the Athletics on the board.

That was all Oakland got, though, and the Twins came back with two in the bottom of the sixth.  With Uhlaender on second, Carew reached on a three-base error to make it 6-1.  Oliva followed with a single to increase the lead to 7-1.  The Twins added a run in the eighth on an RBI triple by Cesar Tovar.

Oakland scored three off Joe Grzenda in the ninth to make the final score look better.  Danny Cater had an RBI single and Monday drove in two with a single.  Bob Miller came on to get the last two outs of the game.

WP:  Chance (1-0).  LP:  Chuck Dobson (1-2).  S:  Miller (2).

Notes:  I seem to recall that the save rule was different for awhile than it is now.  That would be the only reason Miller would get a save.  He came into the game with the score 8-2, two runners on, and one out.

After watching George Mitterwald do the majority of the catching the first couple of weeks of the season, Johnny Roseboro took over as the regular.  This was his third consecutive game as the starter.  Perhaps Roseboro had a minor injury at the start of the season.

This would be Chance's second-best game of the season.  It would be bettered only by a complete game against Kansas City in September.  Chance was injured for much of the season but did well when he could pitch, posting an ERA of 2.95 and a WHIP of 1.26.

Oliva raised his average to .392.  Roseboro was 1-for-4 and was batting .368.  Carew was 1-for-5 and was batting .366.  Killebrew was 1-for-3 with a walk and was batting .317.  Uhlaender raised his average to .302.  The first four men in the Twins order (UhlaenderCarewOliva, and Killebrew) all had averages over .300.

Dobson was the starter for Oakland but lasted just 2.2 innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and a walk and striking out one.

The Twins went 1-for-2 in stolen bases and remained below .500 in that category, going 7-for-15.

After losing their first four games, the Twins had now won seven in a row.

Record:  The Twins were 7-4 and in sole possession of first place for the first time all season, leading the White Sox by a half game.

1969 Rewind: Game Ten


Date:  Sunday, April 20.

Batting stars:  Rod Carew was 3-for-5 with a double and two runs.  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and three RBIs.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-4 with a home run (his third) and a walk, scoring twice and driving in two.  Dave Boswell was 2-for-4 with a triple and scored twice.  Johnny Roseboro was 2-for-4 with a double.  Ted Uhlaender was 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs.

Pitching star:  Boswell pitched a complete game, giving up an unearned run on five hits and six walks, striking out four.

Opposition star:  Aurelio Rodriguez was 2-for-4 with a double.

The game:  The Twins scored five in the first and led all the way.  Their first five batters reached base:  Uhlaender walked, Carew singled, Oliva had an RBI single, Killebrew had a two-run double, and Graig Nettles walked.  The Angels then replaced starter Andy Messersmith with Clyde Wright.  He struck out Rich Reese, but Leo Cardenas walked and Roseboro had a two-run single-plus-error.  The Twins led 5-0 through one inning.

California threatened to get back into it in the second, loading the bases with one out, but a pair of foul popups ended the inning.  Oliva homered in the second and Uhlaender had a run-scoring single in the third to make the score 7-0.  They added three more in the fifth, when Boswell hit an RBI triple, Uhlaender scored him with a single, and Killebrew drove in another run with a single later in the inning.

The lone Angels run scored in the sixth.  They again loaded the bases with one out.  Boswell nearly got out of it again, getting a popup for the second out, but an error on third baseman Frank Quilici (who had replaced Killebrew at the start of the inning) brought home a run.

The Twins completed the scoring in the seventh.  With a man on second and two out, Carew circled the bases on a double-plus-error.

WP:  Boswell (1-1).  LP:  Messersmith (0-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Nettles was again in left, with Killebrew on third and Reese on first.  Cesar Tovar replaced Nettles at the start of the seventh.

Roseboro made consecutive starts behind the plate for the first time all season.  He was batting .400.

Oliva was batting .391.  Carew was right behind him at .389.  Killebrew topped .300 for the first time, at .316.

Wright had both started and relieved to this point in his career.  You might think that, coming into the game in the first inning, the Angels would have him go five or six to save the bullpen.  They didn't.  He pitched one inning and was pinch-hit for by Vic Davalillo.  The situation makes it understandable--the Angels had the bases loaded with two out and were only down 5-0.  A big hit or two could've gotten them back into the game.

California used three other pitchers, pinch-hitting for each as their turn came up.  Phil Ortega pitched three innings, Pedro Borbon one, and Eddie Fisher three.

At this stage, it appears that manager Billy Martin had little hesitancy to remove a pitcher who was struggling, but if you were getting people out he'd leave you in there forever.  Complete games are rare these days anyway, but you'd never see one in a 12-1 game.  That's not a criticism or a compliment, just a comment that the game has changed.

Record:  After opening the season with four consecutive losses, the Twins had won six in a row to make their record 6-4.  They were tied for first place with the White Sox.

1969 Rewind: Game Nine


Date:  Saturday, April 19.

Batting stars:  Leo Cardenas was 3-for-4 with a home run.  Ted Uhlaender was 3-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base.  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-5.

Pitching stars:  Dick Woodson pitched a perfect inning.  Ron Perranoski pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Aurelio Rodriguez was 3-for-4 with a home run, scoring twice.  Rick Reichardt was 2-for-4 with a double.

The game:  In the second, the Angels loaded the bases with one out on an error and two singles but only scored once, on a Bobby Knopp sacrifice fly.  The Angels again loaded the bases in the fourth, this time with two out, and pitcher Tom Murphy delivered a two-run single to put California ahead 3-0.

The Twins got on the board in the bottom of the fourth, but only with one.  Tony Oliva led off with a double and Killebrew followed with a single to put men on first and third, but Graig Nettles hit into a double play.  Oliva scored to make it 3-1.  California got the run back in the fifth, as Lou Johnson reached on a two-out error and scored on Reichardt's double.  The teams then traded leadoff home runs, as Cardenas hit one in the bottom of the fifth but Rodriguez hit one in the top of the sixth, leaving the score 5-2.  The Twins cut the lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the sixth, as Nettles and Charlie Manuel hit back-to-back two-out doubles.

In the seventh, Uhlaender and Rod Carew hit one-out singles, ending up at second and third as Uhlaender went to third on the hit and Carew took second on the throw to third.  Hoyt Wilhelm cam in to replace Murphy on the mound.  Oliva's ground out scored Uhlaender and sent Carew to third, and with Killebrew up to bat and two out, Carew stole home for the second time of the season to tie the score.

The Twins put men on first and third with two out in the eighth, but Cesar Tovar fouled out.  In the ninth, Uhlaender led off with a walk and stole second.  With one out, Oliva was intentionally walked and Killebrew followed with an RBI single to win the game.

WP:  Ron Perranoski (3-0).  LP:  Eddie Fisher (0-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Oliva was 1-for-4 with a walk and is batting .381.  Johnny Roseboro was 1-for-4 and is batting .364.  Carew was 1-for-5 and is batting .355.

Manuel made his first start of the season, playing left field, after four pinch-hitting appearances.  He went 1-for-3 with a walk.

Nettles got the start at third base, his first start there of the season.

Jim Kaat, who had pitched 11 innings in his first start April 9 and 8.2 innings in his second start April 15, pitched five innings in this game.  He gave up four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks and struck out five.  Jim Perry, who had lasted just three innings in his start April 11, pitched two innings of relief.

Perranoski had now appeared in seven of nine Twins games.

The Twins were once again 2-for-2 in stolen bases, making them 6-for-13 on the season.

Murphy's two RBIs were half his season total and the first RBIs of his career.  He was in his second year, having made fifteen big league starts in 1968.  He had a twelve-year career, pitching for the Angels, Kansas City, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Boston, and Toronto.  He was a starter through 1971, both started and relieved in 1972-1973, and was a reliever the rest of his career, which lasted through 1979.  He got twenty saves in each of 1974-1975, while with Milwaukee, and led the league in games finished in 1974.

Record:  The Twins got over .500 for the first time all season, going to 5-4.  In two games they had moved from a tie for last to a tie for first,, tied for the top spot with Kansas City and Oakland.

1969 Rewind: Game Eight


Date:  Friday, April 18.

Batting stars:  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-3 with a walk and scored twice.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-4 with a stolen base and scored twice.  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-4 with a stolen base.

Pitching stars:  Tom Hall pitched a complete game shutout, giving up two hits and four walks and striking out six.

Opposition stars:  Jim Fregosi was 1-for-3 with a triple and a walk.  Rudy May pitched five innings, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks and striking out three.

The game:  Fregosi tripled with one out in the top of the first, but a strikeout and a popup stranded him.  In the fourth, walks to Killebrew and Bob Allison put men on first and second with two out and RBI singles by Leo Cardenas and Frank Quilici put the Twins up 2-0.  The Angels opened the sixth with a pair of walks, but a force out and a double play ended the inning.  The Twins scored twice more in the sixth, starting the inning with consecutive singles by KillebrewOlivaAllison, and George Mitterwald.

Lou Johnson opened the seventh with a single and reached third with none out on a pair of wild pitches.  No problem for Hall, as he struck out Rick Reichardt and retired Aurelio Rodriguez and Tom Egan on fly outs.

The Twins got the game's final two runs in the eighth.  Killebrew led off with a single-plus-error and was replaced by Rich Reese.  Reese scored on an Oliva single, with Oliva reaching second on the throw home.  He advanced to third on a ground out and scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-0.  The Angels went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Hall (1-0).  LP:  May (1-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Tovar started in center field, replacing Ted Uhlaender.  Uhlaender pinch-hit for Allison in the eighth and stayed in to play defense, with Tovar moving to left.

Quilici started at third base, with Killebrew at first.

Carew went 0-for-4, dropping his average to .385.  That made him second on the team to Oliva, who raised his average to .395.

Uhlaender was batting just .161 on the young season.

The Twins were 2-for-2 in stolen bases, making them 4-for-11 on the season.  They did, however, get two runners thrown out on the bases, both at third base.  With two out in the fourth, Cardenas was thrown out trying to advance from first to third on Quilici's RBI single.  With none out in the sixth, Allison was thrown out trying to advance from first to third on MItterwald's RBI single.  Billy Martin apparently did not believe in the old saying that you should never make the first or third out at third base.

Hall was the opening day starter on April 8 (going 5.2 innings), pitched two innings of relief on April 11, pitched five innings of relief on April 13, and pitched a complete game on April 18.

Having pitched in four games in a row and six of the team's first seven, Ron Perranoski was given the day off.  He would pitch again in their next game, however.

This was the Twins' first game of the season to be decided by more than two runs.

Record:  The Twins' four-game winning streak got them out of the division cellar.  They were now 4-4, tied for third with Oakland, one game behind Kansas City.

1969 Rewind: Game Seven


Date:  Wednesday, April 16.

Batting stars:  Rod Carew was 4-for-5 with two doubles.  Tony Oliva was 3-for-4 with a walk.  Leo Cardenas was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.

Pitching stars:  Joe Grzenda struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up two hits and a walk.  Ron Perranoski struck out two in 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Jim Gosger was 3-for-5 with a home run and two doubles.  Jerry McNertney was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Ray Oyler was 2-for-4.  Diego Segui retired all seven men he faced, striking out three.

The game:  The Twins jumped on starter Gary Bell for three runs in the first inning.  With one out, Minnesota got consecutive singles by CarewOlivaHarmon Killebrew, and Graig Nettles.  With two out, Cardenas delivered another run-scoring single.

The Twins missed a chance to add to the lead in the second due to some overly aggressive baserunning.  Ted Uhlaender was thrown out trying to score from first on a Carew double.  Later, with men on first and third, Oliva was caught trying to steal second.

The Pilots also missed some chances stranding two runners in the second and again in the third.  They got on the board in the fourth but could have had more, as they put men on second and third with none out but only got an RBI ground ball.  An error and another RBI ground ball gave Seattle a run in the fifth, cutting the margin to 3-2.  They tied it in the sixth on an RBI single by Oyler and went ahead in the eighth on Gosger's home run.

Jack Aker, who came on in the eighth, tried to close it out in the ninth.  With one out, Carew doubled and Oliva singled to tie it 4-4.  With Oliva on first and one out, Killebrew was intentionally walked.  Nettles flied out.  but Rich Reese doubled to left to bring home both runners and put the Twins ahead 6-4.

The Pilots kept trying.  Larry Haney walked and ex-Twin Don Mincher singled to put men on first and second with none out in the bottom of the ninth.  Another ex-Twin, Rich Rollins, grounded into a double play and Gosger struck out to end the game.

WP:  Perranoski (2-0).  LP:  Aker (0-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Carew was batting .455 (10-for-22).  Oliva was batting .382.

Nettles was again in left, with Killebrew on third and Reese at first.  Frank Quilici again went in at third and Cesar Tovar went to left in the ninth.

Dean Chance started for the Twins and pitched five innings.  He gave up three runs (two earned) on three hits and five walks and struck out two.  There seem to have been a lot of walks in these early-season games.  The strike zone had been made smaller that off-season, which may have contributed.

Seattle gave the Twins four intentional walks.  Two of them went to Killebrew, including the one in the ninth with Oliva on first base.  It was a sign of respect for Harmon, but also probably had to do with the fact that the rookie Nettles was the next batter.

The Twins were now 2-for-9 in stolen base attempts.

Perranoski had now appeared in six of the Twins first seven games, throwing thirteen innings.

All of the Twins first seven games were decided by either one or two runs.

Record:  The Twins moved up from last to tied for last.  They were actually tied for fourth with California and Seattle, 1.5 games behind Kansas City in a very tight AL West.

1969 Rewind: Game Six


Date:  Tuesday, April 15.

Batting stars:  Tony Oliva was 3-for-5 with a home run (his second) and two RBIs.  Ted Uhlaender was 2-for-4 with a double.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-3 with a home run (his second) and a walk.  Rich Reese was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer.

Pitching star:  Jim Kaat struck out nine in 8.2 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Mike Hershberger was 2-for-4.  Bert Campaneris was 2-for-5 with a double.

The game:  The Twins could do nothing with a leadoff double by Uhlaender in the first.  Oakland also got a leadoff double, by Campaneris, but scored him on a Hershberger single.  The A's made it 2-0 in the second when Rick Monday reached on an error and scored on a double by Catfish Hunter.

The Twins again wasted a leadoff double in the fourth, this one by Rod Carew, as Carew was thrown out trying to advance to third on a ground ball to the pitcher.  In the seventh, however, Minnesota finally broke through against Hunter, as Graig Nettles led off with a single and Reese hit a two-run homer to tie the score 2-2.  The Twins took the lead in the eighth, as Oliva and Killebrew started the inning with back-to-back home runs to give Minnesota a 4-2 advantage.

The Twins added a run in the ninth, as George Mitterwald was hit by a pitch, Uhlaender hit a one-out single, and Oliva scored him with a two-out single.  They needed it, as the A's weren't done yet.  Hershberger and Monday led off the inning with singles.  Kaat retired the next two batters on fly outs, but pinch-hitter Jim Pagliaroni walked to load the bases.  Bob Miller came in and gave up a two-run single to pinch-hitter Ramon Webster, making the score 5-4.  Ron Perranoski came in and walked Ted Kubiak to re-load the bases, but Campaneris hit into a force out to end the game.

WP:  Kaat (1-0).  LP:  Hunter (1-1).  S:  Perranoski (1).

Notes:  Nettles was once again in left field, with Reese at first and Killebrew at third.  After the Twins took the lead in the eighth, Frank Quilici replaced Killebrew at third and Cesar Tovar replaced Nettles in left.  It seems like defensive replacements were a lot more common back then, maybe because benches were deeper.

Carew was batting .353 on the young season.  Oliva and Nettles were each at .333 and Reese was batting .316.

On the other side, Uhlaender as batting just .160 and Leo Cardenas was at .167.

Kaat had pitched 19.2 innings in his two starts.  His ERA was 2.29.

Perranoski made his fifth appearance in six games, this time going just a third of an inning.  He had pitched 11.2 innings.

Reggie Jackson was batting second in the Oakland lineup, with Hershberger third and Sal Bando fourth.  Jackson had a very good year in 1968, but 1969 was the year he would really become a star.  He led the league in runs, slugging average, OPS, and intentional walks.  He finished third in home runs, one behind Killebrew and two behind Frank Howard.

Five of the Twins first six games were decided by one run.  The other was decided by two runs.

Maybe there were rainouts, but this was a really strange schedule.  The Twins opened with two in Kansas City, then had three at California.  They then had one game in Oakland, one game in Seattle, and then went home for a seven-game homestand.

Record:  Minnesota was 2-4, still in sixth place in the AL West, 2.5 games behind Kansas City.