MINNESOTA 6, CHICAGO 4 IN MINNESOTA
Batting stars: Tony Oliva was 3-for-5 with a home run and a double. George Mitterwald was 3-for-4. Frank Quilici was 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-5 with a two-run homer.
Pitching stars: Luis Tiant pitched 4.1 innings, giving up two runs on five hits and four walks and striking out four. Steve Barber pitched two shutout innings, giving up two hits and a walk.
Opposition stars: Bill Melton was 4-for-5 with a double and three RBIs. Luis Aparicio was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and two RBIs. Gene Rounsaville pitched two shutout innings, giving up two hits.
The game: The Twins again jumped out to a first-inning lead. Carew hit a one-out double and Killebrew hit a two-run homer to give Minnesota a 2-0 lead. It went to 3-0 in the second, as Brant Alyea reached on an error and scored on Mitterwald's single-plus-error.
The White Sox had two on in the first, second, and third, but did not score. The Twins had two in the fourth and fifth but did not score. In the bottom of the fifth, Walt Williams walked, Aparicio doubled, Carlos May hit an RBI ground out, and Melton drove in a run with a double, cutting the lead to 3-2. The Twins got the runs back in the sixth, though. Mitterwald singled, Leo Cardenas doubled, and pinch-hitter Charlie Manuel was intentionally walked, loading the bases with none out. A 1-2-3 double play looked like it might take the Twins out of the inning, but Quilici delivered a two-run single to put the lead back to three runs at 5-2.
The Twins had two on with one out in the seventh, but a double play ended the inning. In the bottom of the seventh, singles by Aparicio, Carlos May, and Melton cut the lead to 5-3. Chicago had men on first and second with none out, but could do no more. In the eighth, however, two walks and a bunt put men on second and third with one out. Aparicio flied out, May was intentionally walked, and Melton again delivered, getting an infield single. Duane Josephson scored on the hit, but Bobby Knoop was thrown out trying to score from second, ending the inning and preserving the 5-4 lead.
Oliva homered in the ninth to make it 6-4. Syd O'Brien drew a two-out walk to bring the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, but Josephson flied out to end the inning.
W: Stan Williams (1-0).
L: Joel Horlen (0-1).
S: Barber (1).
Notes: Quilici went to second in the fourth, replacing Rod Carew. Presumably Carew was ill or injured. There's nothing in the printed play-by-play that reveals how he would've gotten hurt.
Manuel pinch-hit for Williams in the sixth. Jim Holt pinch-ran for Alyea in the seventh and stayed in the game in left field. Minnie Mendoza replaced Killebrew at third base in the ninth.
Alyea was 1-for-4 and was batting .625. Mitterwald was batting .556. Oliva and Quilici were each batting .500. Carew and Killebrew were each batting .429. Williams and Barber each had an ERA of zero.
Cesar Tovar was 0-for-5 and was batting .100. Ron Perranoski allowed two runs in two innings and had an ERA of 9.00.
It was an interesting decision in the eighth to intentionally walk Carlos May to pitch to Melton. They gained a platoon advantage, but they also put the go-ahead run on base. It didn't work, as Melton singled. I gather the infield single must have deflected off shortstop Leo Cardenas to second baseman Quilici, as the out went 6-4-2. Another possibility is that it was a slow roller, Cardenas tried and failed to get a forceout at second base, and Knoop tried to catch the Twins by surprise by trying to score from second.
This was the major league debut for "not the" Steve Barber. It was one of two career saves he had, the other coming in an extra-inning game in June. I don't know how many pitchers have gotten a save in their major league debut. While I don't suppose it's all that rare, I do suspect it's a relatively short list.
This was also the major league debut for Minnie Mendoza. He appeared in sixteen major league games, never starting one (although he came close, as we'll see in a couple of weeks). I don't know what the non-pitcher record is for most games played without starting one, but sixteen seems like kind of a lot. Usually they'll give a guy a token start someplace along the line. On the other hand, he had played for sixteen years in the minors before coming up to the majors with the Twins at age thirty-six. He spent eight seasons in AA, all for Charlotte. I'm sure he'd love to have played more, but I suspect he was also very happy just to be in the majors at all.
I had never heard of Gene Rounsaville, and as I look at his record I see why. This was one of eight games in which he appeared, and he pitched a total of 6.1 innings, so this game represents nearly a third of his major league career. He was actually unscored upon in six of his eight appearances, but he gave up a total of eight runs (seven earned) in the other two, giving him a career ERA of 9.95. He was twenty-five years old in 1970, and had a fine season in AAA, but this was his last professional season. In three AAA seasons, he was 13-13, 3.41, 1.23 WHIP in 235 innings. Apparently he had an arm injury of some sort that made him decide to retire. If not for that, Gene Rounsaville might have had a decent major league career. His nickname was "Butch".
Record: The Twins were 2-0, tied for first place with California in the American League West.