MINNESOTA 5, BALTIMORE 2 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Monday, July 27.
Batting stars: Frank Quilici was 3-for-4. Jim Holt was 2-for-3 with a home run, his second. George Mitterwald was 2-for-4 with a home run, his ninth. Rich Reese was 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs.
Pitching stars: Bert Blyleven pitched six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and no walks and striking out four. Ron Perranoski pitched three shutout innings, giving up one hit and striking out two.
Opposition stars: Dave Johnson was 2-for-4 with a double. Don Buford was 1-for-4 with a home run, his thirteenth. Moe Drabowsky struck out four in two shutout innings, giving up one hit.
The game: Holt started the scoring with a home run in the second inning. In the third Quilici singled and Blyleven reached on an error. With one out Reese hit a two-run triple and Tony Oliva followed with an RBI double, giving the Twins a 4-0 lead.
The Orioles got on the board in the sixth when Buford homered. The Twins got the run back in the bottom of the sixth when Mitterwald homered. The Twins left the bases full in that inning, and Baltimore got a run closer in the seventh when Brooks Robinson singled, was balked to second, and scored on Johnson's double.
But that was it. The Orioles got only one hit after that, a single by Andy Etchebarren in the ninth.
WP: Blyleven (5-3).
LP: Jim Palmer (14-7).
S: Perranoski (25).
Notes: Holt was in left in place of Brant Alyea. Quilici was again at second base in place of Rod Carew. Danny Thompson replaced Harmon Killebrew at third base in the eighth.
Oliva was 1-for-4 and was batting .322. Killebrew was 0-for-3 and was batting .312. Cesar Tovar was 0-for-5 and was batting .305. Blyleven had an ERA of 2.49. Perranoski had an ERA of 1.35.
Blyleven was given what, for that era, were quick hooks, usually pulled after about six innings. While one would like to think that the Twins were interested in protecting a young arm, what I suspect is that Bill Rigney was simply reluctant to trust the young rookie and so would pull him at the first sign of trouble.
Palmer lasted just five innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits and three walks and striking out one. It was a rare bad game for Palmer, who would win twenty games and finish fifth in Cy Young voting. His game score of thirty-three was tied for his worst of the season. He had trouble with the Twins in 1970, going 0-2, 4.66 in three starts. For his career, he was much better: 21-12, 2.78 in 45 games (39 starts).
Quilici was 7-for-14 in his last four games, raising his average from .195 to .242. That was the highest his average had been since the end of April, and would be the highest it would be the rest of the season.
The Twins ended their homestand 5-4. They would not go on a six-game road trip to Cleveland and Detroit.
Record: The Twins were 61-33, in first place in the American League West, six games ahead of California.