MINNESOTA 8, DETROIT 5 IN DETROIT
Date: Tuesday, May 5.
Batting stars: Tony Oliva was 3-for-4 with a home run (his fourth), a triple, two runs, and six RBIs. Leo Cardenas was 2-for-5 with a double and two runs. Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-4 with a home run (his sixth), a walk, and two runs.
Pitching stars: Luis Tiant pitched 5.2 innings, giving up two runs on two hits and nine (!) walks and striking out four. Ron Perranoski pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one. Twins pitchers issued thirteen walks.
Opposition stars: Ken Szotkiewicz was 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs. Dick McAuliffe was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his fourth) and three walks. Al Kaline was 1-for-5 with a home run (his fourth).
The game: The Twins took the early lead, as Cesar Tovar led off with a walk and Oliva hit a two-run homer. The Tigers loaded the bases on three walks in the first and did it again in the second, but did not score either time. In the third, Cardenas hit a one-out double and Oliva hit a two-out single to put the Twins ahead 3-0.
Detroit got on the board in the fourth. Szotkiewicz got the first Tiger hit of the game, a single, and McAuliffe hit a two-run homer, cutting the lead to 3-2. The Twins got the run back with interest in the fifth. With one out, singles by Tovar and Cardenas and a walk to Killebrew loaded the bases. Oliva followed with a bases-clearing triple, making the score 6-2. Rich Reese delivered a two-out-single to make it 7-2.
Detroit threatened in the seventh with two walks, but did not score. Killebrew homered in the bottom of the seventh, moving the lead to 8-2. In the bottom of the seventh, the Tigers loaded the bases again, this time getting two walks and a single. Szotkiewicz hit a two-run single to cut the margin to 8-4, but Elliott Maddox struck out to end the inning. Kaline homered in the eighth to close out the scoring. Detroit got two on in the eighth after the Kaline homer, and got two more on in the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate with two out, but Don Wert flied out to end the game.
WP: Tiant (5-0).
LP: Mickey Lolich (4-3).
S: Perranoski (7).
Notes: Bob Allison was at first base in place of Reese. Frank Quilici remained at second in the continuing absence of Rod Carew. Reese pinch-hit for Allison in the fifth and stayed in the game at first base. Jim Holt replaced Brant Alyea in left in the seventh. Minnie Mendoza replaced Killebrew at third base in the ninth.
Oliva took over the team batting lead at .352. Alyea was 0-for-4 and was batting .328. Killebrew was batting .320. Tovar was 1-for-4 and was batting .315. Tiant had an ERA of 2.86. Stan Williams gave up his first earned run of the season in 1.1 innings and had an ERA of 0.71. Perranoski had an ERA of 1.50.
Allison was 0-for-1 and was batting .167. Quilici was 0-for-4 and was batting .184. Reese was 1-for-2 and was batting .191. Mitterwald was 1-for-4 and was batting .193.
Lolich pitched 4.1 innings, giving up seven runs on six hits and three walks and striking out four. In his two games against the Twins, he had given up twelve earned runs in ten innings. In his six other starts, he had given up nine earned runs in fifty-two innings.
Twins pitchers walked thirteen Tigers, but amazingly, only two of them scored. Detroit was 2-for-11 with men in scoring position and stranded fifteen runners. They had twenty baserunners in nine innings, and managed to score only five of them.
This was the only year of Ken Szotkiewicz' career, and 22.2 percent of his career RBIs (two of nine) came in the seventh inning of this game. An infielder, he batted .107/.216/.226 in 84 at-bats. The Twins had actually drafted him in the first round of the secondary phase of the June draft in 1967, but he did not sign. He had not played above AA, and only had 116 at-bats there, before making the Tigers at the start of the 1970 season. Surprisingly, he stayed all year as a backup shortstop. The regular was Cesar Gutierrez, who only batted .243/.275/.299. Szotkiewicz had not hit much in his limited time in the minors, and would not hit much after he was sent back down in 1971. The only good offensive season he had came in 1974, when he was a twenty-seven year old in AA. Presumably he was considered a good defender.
The usage of Perranoski continues to be interesting. You remember that, in April he had appeared in five of six games, pitching 9.2 innings. He then got five days off. Now, he has appeared in four of five games, pitching 6.1 innings.
Record: The Twins were 15-7, in first place in the American League West, 1.5 games ahead of California.