MINNESOTA 6, SEATTLE 3 IN SEATTLE
Date: Friday, July 11.
Batting stars: Rick Sofield was 3-for-4 with a home run (his seventh) and two runs. Rob Wilfong was 3-for-4 with a triple, a walk, and two runs. Ken Landreaux was 2-for-5 with a home run (his fourth) and three RBIs.
Pitching stars: Darrell Jackson struck out eight in 7.2 innings, giving up three runs on six hits and two walks. Doug Corbett pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit.
Opposition stars: Leon Roberts was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his seventh), a stolen base (his fifth), and a walk. Larry Milbourne was 1-for-3 with a walk.
The game: The Twins got a run in the first when Wilfong tripled and scored on a Landreaux single. In the second Glenn Adams singled, was bunted to second, went to third on an error, and scored on a squeeze bunt (yes, Gene Mauch was the manager) to make it 2-0.
The Mariners loaded the bases with two out in the third but did not score. It stayed 2-0 until the sixth, when Milbourne singled, Bruce Bochte hit an RBI double, and Roberts delivered a two-run homer, putting Seattle up 3-2. The lead only held until the first batter of the seventh, when Sofield hit an inside-the-park home run to tie it 3-3.
The Twins took the lead back in the eighth, when Wilfong walked and Landreaux hit a two-run homer to make it 5-3. They added one more in the ninth when Sofield singled, went to second on a ground out, and scored on a Wilfong single. The Mariners got only one hit after their three-run sixth.
WP: Jackson (7-4). LP: Glenn Abbott (7-4). S: Corbett (9).
Notes: Pete Mackanin was at shortstop, replacing Roy Smalley, who was apparently out with a minor injury. Mike Cubbage, who played third most of his career, was apparently part of a platoon at first base with Ron Jackson. Glenn Adams was the DH as part of a platoon with Jose Morales.
Morales pinch-hit for Adams in the eighth and Jackson pinch-hit for Cubbage in the eighth. Dave Edwards pinch-ran for Morales in the eighth.
Jackson was 5'10", 150 pounds. Herb Carneal's partner at the time, Joe McConnell, used to refer to him as "the little lefthander". This was by far the best season of his career--he went 9-9, 3.87, 1.34 WHIP. He had injury troubles after that and never had a good year again.
The Twins really didn't have a bad rotation in 1980. In addition to Jackson, they had Jerry Koosman (16-13, 4.03), Geoff Zahn (14-18, 4.41), and Roger Erickson (7-13, 3.25). It's not the 1990s Braves, but it's not bad. They struggled for a fifth starter, with Pete Redfern (5-5, 4.56) and Fernando Arroyo (6-6, 4.68) usually filling the role. We think of the Twins not having any pitching at that time, or at least I do, but that's not an awful rotation at all.
They sure didn't have any power, though. The team hit just ninety-nine home runs in 1980. The team leaders was John Castino, with thirteen. Smalley was the only other batter in double figures, with twelve. Their cleanup batter in this game was Wynegar, who finished the season with five home runs.
I recall Sofield being fairly highly touted as a future star. Obviously, it didn't happen. He hit .328 with 27 homers in 1977 in Class A Visalia, but that was the only year he showed any power. He was the Twins' starting right fielder in 1979 on the strength of a solid but not outstanding year in AA. He was batting just .241 with an OPS of .582 (although with an OBP of .323) when he was sent down in mid-May. He came back as a September call-up and batted .400 in 42 plate appearances. He was again in the starting outfield in 1980, his only full season in the majors. He batted .247 with an OPS of .661. He was with the Twins as a reserve for most of 1981, but didn't hit. The inside-the-park home run in this game may well have been the highlight of his career.
The Twins leading batter at this point of the season was Morales at .347. He would finish at .303. Adams was batting .315. He would finish at .286.
This was the fourth game of a six-game winning streak for the Twins.
Record: The Twins were 37-44, in fourth place in the American League West, 11.5 games behind Kansas City. They would finish 77-84, in third place, 19.5 games behind Kansas City.
The Mariners were 35-47, in sixth place, fourteen games behind Kansas City. They would finish 59-103, in seventh (last) place, thirty-eight games behind Kansas City.