MINNESOTA 5, CHICAGO 3 IN CHICAGO
Date: Saturday, September 19.
Batting star: Brant Alyea was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.
Pitching stars: Tom Hall struck out nine in seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits and three walks. Stan Williams pitched two shutout innings, striking out one.
Opposition stars: Luis Aparicio was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer (his fifth). Tommy John pitched seven innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on five hits and four walks and striking out one.
The game: The White Sox had men on first and second with one out in the first but did not score. In the second Alyea doubled and scored on a Rick Renick single to put the Twins up 1-0.
Chicago took the lead in the third when Syd O'Brien walked and Aparicio hit a two-run homer, making it 2-1 White Sox. The Twins had two on with two out in the fifth and did not score. In the sixth Duane Josephson doubled and scored on Ken Berry's single to make it 3-1 Chicago.
The Twins came back in the eighth. Walks to George Mitterwald and Danny Thompson were followed by a Bob Allison RBI single. An error tied the score and a walk to Leo Cardenas loaded the bases. Harmon Killebrew hit a sacrifice fly to put the Twins ahead and Alyea hit a run-scoring single to make it 5-3 Minnesota.
Josephson drew a leadoff walk in the ninth, bringing the tying run to the plate. The next three batters went out, however, and the Twins had the win.
WP: Hall (9-6).
LP: Tommy John (11-16).
S: Williams (15).
Notes: Renick was at third base, with Killebrew moving to first and Rich Reese on the bench. Thompson was at second base in place of Rod Carew.
Rick Dempsey pinch-ran for Mitterwald in the eighth. Tom Tischinski came in to catch. Allison pinch-hit for Hall in the eighth, with Herman Hill pinch-running for Allison. Jim Holt pinch-ran for Alyea in the eighth and stayed in the game in center field, with Cesar Tovar moving to left. Rich Reese went to first base in the eighth, replacing Killebrew. Frank Quilici went to third base in the eighth, with Renick coming out as part of a double switch.
Tony Oliva was 1-for-4 and was batting .318. Tovar was 0-for-5 and was batting .300. Alyea was batting .300, his first time at .300 since May 17. Hall had an ERA of 2.58. Williams had an ERA of 1.99.
I couldn't figure out a quick way to find this out, but I suspect this is one of a very few times in his career that Rick Dempsey was used as a pinch-runner. I had assumed, when I first saw that, that he was chosen to pinch-run so he could go in to catch, but then Tischinski went in to catch instead. Surely, with expanded rosters, the Twins had a better pinch-runner than Dempsey available.
You look at Tommy John's 11-16 record, and you think he must had had a bad year. But he had an ERA of 3.27 with a 1.31 WHIP. He had ten complete games and three shutouts. The White Sox had a poor offense that year, and one assumes that they simply didn't score very many runs for him.
The Athletics defeated California 2-1, so the Twins were only able to take one game off their magic number.
Record: The Twins were 91-60, in first place in the American League West, 7.5 games ahead of Oakland. Their magic number was four.