Tag Archives: run them into the ground

1970 Rewind: Game Fifty

NEW YORK 5, MINNESOTA 2 IN NEW YORK

Date:  Tuesday, June 9.

Batting star:  Jim Holt was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk.

Pitching stars:  Bill Zepp pitched two shutout innings, giving up a walk.

Opposition stars:  Bobby Murcer was 3-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base (his fifth), and two RBIs.  Danny Cater was 2-for-4.  Stan Bahnsen was 2-for-4.  He also pitched a complete game, giving up two runs on four hits and four walks and striking out seven.  Roy White was 2-for-5.

The game:  The Yankees put men on first and third in the first inning but did not score.  It looked like it would cost them, as the Twins scored two in the second.  Harmon Killebrew led off with a walk, Holt hit a one-out double, and Leo Cardenas singled them both home, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead.

New York matched the two runs in the bottom of the second, though.  Ron Woods walked, Gene Michael singled, and Bahnsen had a bunt single, loading the bases with one out.  Horace Clarke struck out, but Murcer delivered a two-run single, tying the score 2-2.

Cesar Tovar led off the third with a single-plus-error but was stranded at second.  Paul Ratliff hit a two-out triple in the fourth but was also stranded.  In the sixth, singles by Thurman Munson and John Ellis and a walk to Woods loaded the bases with none out.  All the Yankees got out of it was a sacrifice fly by MIchael, but it was enough to put New York ahead 3-2.  They added two more in the seventh when Murcer and White singled, moved up on a ground out, and scored on a fielder's choice-plus-error, giving the Yankees a 5-2 lead.  The Twins did not get a hit after the fourth inning.

WP:  Bahnsen (4-4).

LP:  Jim Kaat (5-3).

S:  None.

Notes:  Holt was in left field in place of Brant Alyea.  Ratliff was behind the plate in place of George Mitterwald.  The Twins made no position player substitutions.

Rod Carew returned to the lineup and was 0-for-3.  He was batting .385.  Tony Oliva was 0-for-4 and was batting .332.  Killebrew was 0-for-2 and was batting .320.

Kaat was pitching in consecutive games, although with an off-day in-between.  He didn't do terribly, but he wasn't great, either.  He pitched six innings, giving up five runs (three earned) on twelve hits and two walks and striking out two.  Bringing him in to pitch relief might not have been the best idea, although I'm sure he was more than willing to do it.

It's interesting how many times pitchers have shown up in the best batter lists lately.  I'm all for the DH, but there were at least some pitchers who could hit back in the day.

We think of the Yankees of this era as being bad teams, but they were not bad in 1970.  They were 93-69-1, and no, I did not check to see what happened that they had a tie.  Presumably a rain-shortened game.  But anyway, they had a very good team.  They just weren't as good as Baltimore.

Record:  The Twins were 34-16, in first place in the American League West, two games ahead of California.  Again, the difference was all in the loss column, as the Angels were 34-20.

1970 Rewind: Game Forty-seven

MINNESOTA 2, WASHINGTON 1 IN WASHINGTON

Date:  Friday, June 5.

Batting stars:  Frank Quilici was 2-for-3.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Bert Blyleven struck out seven in seven innings, giving up one run on five hits and a walk.  Ron Perranoski pitched two perfect innings.

Opposition stars:  Lee Maye was 2-for-3 with a home run, his fourth.  Casey Cox pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and three walks and striking out three.  Darold Knowles pitched two shutout innings, giving up one hit.

The game:  Cesar Tovar led off the game with a walk, stole second, and scored on an Oliva single to put the Twins up 1-0.  Maye led off the bottom of the first with a home run, tying it 1-1.

The Twins put men on second and third with two out in the fourth, but it stayed 1-1 until the fifth.  Quilici led off with a single, was bunted to second, and scored on a Tovar single to put the Twins up 2-1.

And that was it.  The Senators only twice got a man to second and never got a man to third, as the Twins held the 2-1 victory.

WP:  Blyleven (1-0).

LP:  Cox (3-4).

S:  Perranoski (13).

Notes:  Jim Holt was in left field in place of Brant Alyea.  Quilici was at second base in place of Rod Carew.  Carew would not return until June 9, so he apparently was dealing with some minor injury or illness.

Oliva was batting .325.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-4 and was batting .317.  Blyleven had an ERA of 1.29.  Perranoski had an ERA of 1.80.

Quilici was batting .191.

As you have probably figured out by now, this was Blyleven's major league debut.  He had been 4-2, 2.50 at AAA Evansville.  The story he told so often was true--the first man he faced, Lee Maye, hit a home run off him.  And in fact, he did strike out Frank Howard in the sixth.

We're in early June, and neither TovarKillebrew, nor Oliva has been given a game off yet.  I know this is the old days when men were men, but I suspect Bill Rigney was somewhat of an old-school manager even for his time.

The Senators played two ex-Twins:  second baseman Bernie Allen, who was 1-for-3, and John Roseboro, who pinch-hit and was 0-for-1.

Casey Cox was a pretty fair pitcher for several years:  39-42, 3.70, 1.32.  I suspect his won-lost record is affected by the fact that he spent his entire career with bad teams:  the Senators/Rangers and the early-seventies Yankees.  He appeared in 308 games, starting 59 of them.  Slightly more than half of his starts--30--came in 1970.

Record:  The Twins were 32-15, in first place in the American League West, two games ahead of California.

 

1970 Rewind: Game Thirty-three

MINNESOTA 7, KANSAS CITY 5 IN KANSAS CITY

Date:  Monday, May 18.

Batting stars:  Rod Carew was 3-for-5 with a two-run homer, his second.  Cesar Tovar was 1-for-2 with three walks, a stolen base (his twelfth), and two runs.  Leo Cardenas was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his fourth) and a walk.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-4 with a home run (his twelfth) and a walk.

Pitching star:  Ron Perranoski struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Joe Keough was 3-for-4 with two runs.  Ex-Twin Jackie Hernandez was 2-for-3 with two RBIs.  Amos Otis was 2-for-5 with a two-run homer, his fourth.

The game:  The Twins took the lead in the second when Rick Renick singled and Cardenas followed with a two-run homer.  The Royals came right back to tie it in the bottom of the second.  Keough singled and scored from first on a Rich Severson double.  Severson advanced to third on a pickoff error and scored on Hernandez' single, making it 2-2.

The Twins took the lead in the fifth when Tovar walked and Carew followed with a two-run homer.  Kansas City cut the lead to 4-3 in the sixth when Keough singled, went to second on a ground out, took third on a wild pitch, and scored on a Hernandez single.  The Twins went back up by two in the seventh when Tovar walked, Carew singled, and Tony Oliva had an RBI single.

The Royals again came back in the seventh.  Paul Schaal reached on an error and Otis hit a two-out two-run homer to tie it 5-5.  In the eighth, two walks and two wild pitches put men on second and third and Charlie Manuel had a pinch-hit sacrifice fly to put the Twins ahead.  Killebrew homered for an insurance run in the ninth.

WP:  Bill Zepp (1-0).

LP:  Mike Hedlund (2-3).

S:  Perranoski (10).

Notes:  Renick was at third base, with Killebrew at first and Rich Reese on the bench.  Reese pinch-hit for Renick in the eighth and went to first base, with Killebrew moving to third.  Frank Quilici took over for Killebrew at third in the ninth.

Jim Holt replaced Brant Alyea in left field in the seventh.  Manuel pinch-hit for George MItterwald, who was making a return to the lineup, in the eight inning.  Paul Ratliff pinch-hit for pitcher Zepp in the eighth.  Ratliff stayed in the game to catch, with Perranoski coming in to pitch.

Carew raised his average to .419.  Oliva was 1-for-5 and was batting .326.  Killebrew was 1-for-4 and was batting .319.  Renick was 1-for-2 and was batting .313.  Zepp struck out the only man he faced and had an ERA of 2.03.  Perranoski had an ERA of 1.57.

Mitterwald was 0-for-3 and was batting .184.

Jim Kaat started and pitched 6.2 innings, giving up five runs (three earned) on nine hits and a walk and striking out three.  Bill Butler started for Kansas City and pitched six innings, giving up five runs on six hits and six walks and striking out one.

The two pitchers who got the decisions combined to pitch one-third of an inning and face three batters.  Zeppas noted above, struck out the only man he faced.  Hedlund faced two batters in the eighth and walked both of them, with the first coming around to score the go-ahead run.

Perranoski had appeared in fifteen of the Twins' thirty-three games, pitching 28.2 innings.

Hernandez had ten RBIs in 1970.  Twenty percent of them came in this game.

Infielder Rich Severson was in his rookie year.  He appeared in nearly half of the team's games, getting 240 at-bats and batting .250/.300/.317.  He was back in AAA for most of 1971, getting just 33 at-bats with the big club.  He was in AAA in 1972 and 1973, then he was done.  He did not hit a lot in AAA either, batting .254 with an OPS of .637 over four seasons.  He passed away in 2016 at the relatively young age of seventy-one.

Carew had six consecutive multi-hit games.  He was 17-for-28 over that span, raising his average from .328 to .419.  The .419 would be his high point for the season.

The Twins had won five in a row and eight of ten.

Record:  The Twins were 23-10, in first place in the American League West, a half game ahead of California.

1970 Rewind: Game Twenty-nine

MINNESOTA 5, BALTIMORE 4 IN MINNESOTA (10 INNINGS)

Date:  Wednesday, May 13.

Batting stars:  Rod Carew was 4-for-5 with two runs.  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and a walk.  Rich Reese was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.

Pitching stars:  Bill Zepp pitched three perfect innings.  Ron Perranoski pitched three shutout innings, giving up three hits and walking four.

Opposition stars:  Dou Buford was 2-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base.  Boog Powell was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Paul Blair was 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.  Brooks Robinson was 2-for-5 with two doubles.  Frank Robinson was 2-for-5.

The game:  Each team scored two in the first.  For the Orioles, Mark Belanger walked, Frank Robinson singled, and Paul Blair hit a two-out two-run double.  For the Twins, Carew singled and Killebrew hit a two-out two-run homer.

Baltimore had a man on second in the third and again in the fourth but did not score.  They broke through in the fifth, though.  Buford and Belanger opened the inning with singles.  Frank Robinson followed with a single-plus-error, bringing home one run, and Powell had an RBI single to make it 4-2 Orioles.  The Twins came back in the sixth.  Singles by Carew and Killebrew and a walk to Rich Reese loaded the bases with one out.  A force out scored one run and Leo Cardenas had an RBI single to tie it.  The Twins missed a chance to take the lead when Jim Holt was thrown out trying to go from first to third on the hit.

Baltimore opened the eighth with two singles, but a line drive double play ended the threat.  They had a pair of two-out walks in the ninth and did not score.  In the tenth Powell walked, Brooks Robinson hit a one-out double, and Dave Johnson was intentionally walked, loading the bases.  Andy Etchebarren hit into a double play to end the inning.

The Twins had not gotten a man past first base since the sixth.  In the tenth, however, Cesar Tovar walked, Tony Oliva hit a one-out double, and Killebrew was intentionally walked, loading the bases.  Up to then, the Twins' tenth went exactly like the Orioles tenth.  The difference was that instead of hitting into a double play, Reese hit a double, bringing in the deciding run.

WP:  Perranoski (2-1).

LP:  Ed Watt (1-1).

S:  None.

Notes:  Holt was in left field in place of Brant Alyea.  Paul Ratliff caught in place of George Mitterwald.

Charlie Manuel pinch-hit for Zepp in the seventh, with Dave Boswell pinch-running for Manuel.

Carew was batting .368.  Killebrew was batting .333.  Oliva was batting .331.  Zepp had an ERA of 2.08.  Perranoski had an ERA of 1.75.

Holt was 0-for-4 and was batting .138.

Jim Kaat started and pitched four innings, giving up four runs on nine hits and a walk and striking out two.  Baltimore starter Jim Palmer pitched 5.1 innings, giving up four runs on six hits and two walks and striking out four.

Each team turned three double plays.  For each team, one of them was a line drive double play.

Carew was 6-for-10.  Spoiler alert:  he would go on a tear for the next week or so.  We'll keep track of it.

Reese was 7-for-18, raising his average from .182 to .226.

I mentioned this once before, but Zepp was a key pitcher for the 1970 Twins.  He's pretty much forgotten now, because the Twins traded him after the season and because this was the only good year he had, but this was one of several games in which he was instrumental in the victory.

This was Perranoski's thirteenth appearance.  He pitched more than one inning in ten of them; exactly two innings in six of them; and more than two innings in three of them.

Record:  The Twins were 19-10, in second place in the American League West, one game behind California.

 

1970 Rewind: Game Twenty-four

MINNESOTA 9, DETROIT 6 IN DETROIT

Date:  Thursday, May 7.

Batting stars:  Harmon Killebrew was 3-for-4 with a three-run homer, his eighth.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer (his fifth), a walk, a stolen base, and three runs.  Rod Carew was 2-for-4 with two doubles, a walk, a stolen base (his second), and two runs.  Rich Reese was 2-for-4 with a walk.

Pitching stars:  None.

Opposition stars:  Willie Horton was 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs.  Dick McAuliffe was 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs.  Bill Freehan was 1-for-4 with a home run, his third.

The game:  Cesar Tovar led off the game with a single and Oliva hit a two-run homer to give the Twins the early lead.  In the second, singles by Jim Holt and Paul Ratliff were followed by an RBI ground out to make it 3-0.  In the fourth Oliva reached on a fielder's choice, went to second on a Killebrew single, and scored on Reese's single to make it 4-0.  In the seventh, walks to Carew and Oliva were followed by Killebrew's three-run homer to increase the lead to 7-0.

Meanwhile, Twins starter Jim Perry had allowed just one hit over six innings.  Why then, you ask, is he not listed as a "pitching star"?  Well, in the seventh, McAuliffe led of with a walk and Dalton Jones singled.  With one out, Norm Cash got the Tigers on the board with an RBI double.  Horton then followed with a two-run triple, cutting the lead to 7-3.  Ron Perranoski then came into the game, but Horton scored on an error, dropping the lead to 7-4.

The Twins bounced back with a two-out rally in the eighth.  Tovar walked and scored on a Carew double.  Oliva singled, moving Carew to third, and the two of them then pulled off a double steal of second and home to make the score 9-4.

Detroit did not quit.  In the bottom of the eighth McAuliffe singled and Al Kaline reached on an error, putting men on first and second with two out.  Mickey Stanley delivered an RBI single to make it 9-5.  Horton singled to load the bases and bring the tying run to the plate, but Jim Northrup grounded out to end the threat.  Freehan hit a home run in the ninth to round out the scoring, but the Tigers did not get the tying run to bat again.

WP:  Perry (5-1).

LP:  Joe Niekro (3-2).

S:  Perranoski (8).

Notes:  Holt was in left in place of Brant Alyea.  Ratliff was behind the plate in place of George Mitterwald Mitterwald pinch-hit for Ratliff in the fifth and went behind the plate.  Frank Quilici replaced Killebrew at third base in the seventh.

Carew was batting .362.  Oliva was batting .354.  Killebrew was batting .337.  Tovar was 1-for-3 and was batting .303.  Perry allowed four runs (three earned) in 6.1 innings and had an ERA of 2.50.  Perranoski allowed two runs (one earned) in 2.2 innings and had an ERA of 1.74.

Holt was 1-for-5 and was batting .190.  Mitterwald was 0-for-3 and was batting .194.

Future Twin Niekro lasted just 2.1 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits and no walks and striking out four.  He was not the knuckleballing Joe Niekro at this stage of his career, but was more a conventional pitcher.

Perranoski had now pitched nine innings in the last seven games, appearing in five of them.

Carew was back, having missed two weeks and thirteen games.  His batting picked up right where it left off.

I don't know if McAuliffe quite qualifies as a "Twins killer", but in 1970 he batted .295/.415/.455 against them.  That's pretty good, especially when for the season he batted .234/.358/.345.  The only team against who he did better in 1970 was Milwaukee--.297/.422/.486.  For his career he batted ,267/.348/.453 against the Twins with 23 home runs.  I remember McAuliffe as primarily a singles hitter, but my memory is faulty.  He hit double figure home runs in ten consecutive seasons and hit over twenty three times, with a high of twenty-four in 1964.  He finished with 197 home runs.

The Twins had now taken two of three from Baltimore and two of three from Detroit on their eastern trip.  They next travel to Cleveland for the last leg of their journey.

Record:  The Twins were 16-8, in first place in the American League West, a half game ahead of California.

1970 Rewind: Game Twenty-two

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.

1970 Rewind: Game Twenty-one

MINNESOTA 4, BALTIMORE 3 IN BALTIMORE

Date:  Sunday, May 3.

Batting stars:  Tony Oliva was 2-for-4.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer.

Pitching stars:  Jim Kaat pitched eight innings, giving up three runs on five hits and three walks and striking out one.  Ron Perranoski pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Merv Rettenmund was 2-for-4 with a home run, a double, two runs, and two RBIs.  Paul Blair was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his eighth.  Jim Palmer struck out eleven in a complete game, giving up four runs (two earned) on five hits and a walk.

The game:  There wasn't even a baserunner until the bottom of the third, when Dave Johnson walked.  The next two men went out, but Rettenmund hit an RBI double and Mark Belanger followed with a run-scoring single, making it 2-0 Orioles.

It stayed 2-0 until the sixth.  Frank Quilici led off the inning with a single and Cesar Tovar doubled with one out, putting men on second and third.  They were still there with two out.  Oliva then hit a ground ball to second.  Johnson booted it, then threw it away, making two errors on the same play and allowing both runners to score, tying it at 2-2.

The Orioles put men on second and third in the seventh, but did not score.  Rettenmund homered leading off the eighth, putting Baltimore up 3-2.  Oliva singled with one out in the ninth, and Killebrew followed with a two-run homer, giving the Twins their first lead of the game at 4-3.  Baltimore went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Kaat (4-1).

LP:  Palmer (3-2).

S:  Perranoski (6).

NotesQuilici remained at second base in the continuing absence of Rod Carew.  Paul Ratliff was behind the plate in place of George Mitterwald.  Pitcher Steve Barber pinch-ran for Brant Alyea in the ninth.  Mitterwald then went behind the plate as part of a triple switch, with Jim Holt going to left and Perranoski replacing Ratliff in the batting order.

Alyea was 0-for-3 and was batting .349.  Oliva was batting .333.  Killebrew was batting .324.  Tovar was 1-for-4 and was batting .318.  Kaat had an ERA of 2.40.  Perranoski had an ERA of 1.62.

Rich Reese was 0-for-4 and was batting .182.

Alyea was now 0-for-10 in May, with his average going from .415 to .349.

After getting five days off, Perranoski had now appeared in three out of four games, pitching five innings.

Rettenmund was batting leadoff for the Orioles.  I don't think of him as a leadoff-type batter, but he stole 13 bases in 1970.  More important to Earl Weaver, I'm sure, is that he batted .322 with an OBP of .394.  He was basically a utility outfielder in 1970, playing 44 games in center, 36 in right, and 30 in left.

Having taken two out of three from Baltimore, the Twins would now continue their eastern trip with three in Detroit.

Record:  The Twins were 14-7, in first place in the American League West, a half game ahead of California.

1970 Rewind: Game Fourteen

MINNESOTA 6, DETROIT 0 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Sunday, April 26.

Batting starsLuis Tiant was 3-for-4 with a double and a stolen base.  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his sixth.  Rich Reese was 2-for-4.  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-5.

Pitching stars:  Tiant pitched a complete game shutout, giving up three hits and a walk and striking out six.

Opposition star:  Dick McAuliffe was 2-for-4.

The game:  The Twins put men on second and third with two out in the third but did not score.  They broke through in the fourth, however.  Oliva singled, Brant Alyea walked, Reese had an infield single to load the bases, and George Mitterwald had another infield single to make it 1-0 Twins.

The Twins put two on in the fifth, but did not score.  They broke the game open in the sixth with a two-out rally.  The first two men were retired, but Frank Quilici singled, Tiant hit an RBI double, Tovar had an infield single, Tiant and Tovar pulled off a double steal, Leo Cardenas tripled them both home, and Killebrew had an RBI single, making the score 5-0 Twins.

The Twins added one more in the eighth.  Tiant singled, a wild pitch moved him to second, Tovar bunted him to third, and Killebrew singled him home.

The Tigers never had a man beyond first base and only once had the leadoff man on base.

WP:  Tiant (3-0).

LP:  Mickey Lolich (4-2).

S:  None.

Notes:  Quilici was again at second in the absence of Rod Carew.  Cardenas remained in Carew's number two spot in the batting order.

Jim Holt replaced Brant Alyea in left field in the eighth inning.  Minnie Mendoza pinch-ran for Killebrew in the eighth and remained in the game at third base.

Tiant was batting .556.  Brant Alyea was 0-for-3 and was batting .390.  Tovar was batting .367.  Oliva was batting .344.  Killebrew was batting .341.  Quilici was batting .308.

Mitterwald was 1-for-4 and was batting .175.  Cardenas was 1-for-5 and was batting .192.

Tiant wasn't a terrible batter over his career, but he wasn't exceptional, either:  a career line of .164/.185/.224.  In 1970, however, he was exceptional:  .406/.424/.531 in 32 at-bats.  Small sample size, obviously, and maybe that's the full explanation.  But it's still pretty amazing.  The stolen base he got in this game was the only one he had in his career, and it was a steal of third on the front end of a double steal.  I don't know how many players have a steal of third as the only stolen base of their career, but I suspect it's a pretty short list.

This was Tiant's only shutout in 1970, and one of two complete games.

Lolich pitched 5.2 innings, allowing five runs on ten hits and a walk and striking out six.  It was the Tigers' fifteenth game of the season, and it was Lolich's sixth start.  The other five had been complete games (one of them 9.2 innings) and two of them had been shutouts.  Lolich pitched over 200 innings every year from 1964-1975; over 220 from 1968-1975; over 240 from 1969-1975; over 270 from 1970-1974, and over 300 from 1971-1974, with a high of 376 in 1971.  Interestingly, he only led the league in starts and complete games once, both 1971, when he had 45 starts and 29 complete games.  He continued to be an effective starter through age 35, and had a really good half-season as a reliever for the Padres in 1978, when he was thirty-seven.  Memory and a google search reveal that he was considered overweight, but he's listed at 6' 1", 170.  If he was overweight, it certainly didn't affect his pitching.

The Twins had won four, lost two, won four, lost two, and now won two.  Could they win four?

Record:  The Twins were 10-4, in first place in the American League West by winning percentage, but a half game behind California.

1970 Rewind: Game Twelve

DETROIT 8, MINNESOTA 6 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Friday, April 24.

Batting stars:  Brant Alyea was 2-for-4 with two doubles and four RBIs.  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-5 with a triple and a double.  Rich Reese was 2-for-5.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-1 with a home run (his third), four walks, and three runs.

Pitching stars:  Stan Williams struck out two in 1.2 innings, giving up one hit.  Ron Perranoski struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Al Kaline was 5-for-5 with two doubles.  Bill Freehan was 2-for-3 with a home run (his second), two walks, and three RBIs.  Cesar Gutierrez was 2-for-5 with two runs.  Dick McAuliffe was 1-for-5 with a home run, his third.  John Hiller pitched 5.2 innings of relief, giving up one run on three hits and three walks and striking out three.

The game:  McAuliffe led off the game with a home run.  Gutierrez singled and scored on Kaline's double, making the score 2-0 Tigers before an out was recorded.  The Twins tied it in the bottom of the first.  Tovar doubled, and walks to Jim Holt and Killebrew loaded the bases.  With two out, Alyea delivered a two-run double, making the score 2-2.

Detroit went back ahead in the third.  Singles by Gutierrez, Kaline, and Norm Cash loaded the bases with none out.  Willie Horton struck out, but Jim Northrup's ground ball was booted by second baseman Tovar, resulting in all three runs scoring and Northrup ending up at second base.  Freehan's RBI single made it 6-2 Tigers.

The Twins again came back.  Tony Oliva doubled, Killebrew walked, and with two out Alyea again hit a two-run double, making it 6-4 after three.  In the fourth Tom Hall singled and Tovar tripled, cutting the lead to 6-5.  Killebrew homered leading off the sixth, tying the score 6-6.

But in the seventh, the Tigers went into the lead to stay.  Northrup drew a one-out walk and Freehan hit a two-run homer, making it 8-6.  The Twins put two on with two out in the seventh, but never got a man past first base after that.

WP:  Hiller (1-0).

LP:  Tom Hall (0-1).

S:  None.

Notes:  Tovar was at second base, rather than in center field, with Rod Carew out of the lineup.  Holt went to center field.  Minnie Mendoza pinch-hit for Holt in the seventh and stayed in the game at second, with Tovar moving to center.  Bob Allison pinch-hit for Williams in the eighth.  Frank Quilici pinch-ran for Killebrew in the ninth.

Alyea was batting .429.  Tovar was batting .385.  Killebrew was batting .343.  Oliva was 1-for-5 and was batting .327.  Williams had an ERA of zero.  Perranoski had an ERA of 2.31.  Jim Perry started and gave up six runs (four earned) on eight hits and no walks in three innings and had an ERA of 2.57.  Hall gave up two runs on three hits and three walks in 3.1 innings and had an ERA of 2.84.

Reese raised his average to .194.  George Mitterwald was 0-for-4 and was batting .167.

Joe Niekro started for Detroit and pitched 3.1 innings, allowing five runs on six hits and three walks.  He struck out none.  No other players with Twins connections played for the Tigers in this game.

Despite the fact that Twins were trailing late, Perranoski appeared for the fifth time in six games.  He had pitched 9.2 innings in those games.  It would be six days before he pitched again.

Alyea was really tearing it up early, batting .429/.474/.857 in the season's first twelve games.  He had three doubles, four home runs, and twenty RBIs.

Detroit manager Mayo Smith apparently decided Killebrew was not going to beat them in this game, as he walked four times.  It's not that there was always a base open--he walked in the first with men on first and second, walked in the third with a man on second, walked in the seventh with the bases empty, and walked in the ninth with the bases empty.  The one time they pitched to him he led off the fifth with a home run.  The walks were not intentional, but it seems clear the Tigers were trying hard not to give Harmon much to hit.

Hall pitched better than his line looks.  He pitched three scoreless innings before giving up a two-run homer to Freehan.  One could argue that he was left in the game too long, but on the other hand, Freehan was a fine batter (200 career home runs), so it's possible that he simply hit a good pitch.

The Twins had won four, lost two, won four, and lost two.  We'll see if they could start another four-game winning streak.

Record:  The Twins were 8-4, tied for first in the American League West based on winning percentage, but a half game back of California.

1970 Rewind: Game Eleven

CHICAGO 7, MINNESOTA 5 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Thursday, April 23.

Batting stars:  Paul Ratliff was 2-for-3 with two runs.  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his fifth.

Pitching stars:  Steve Barber pitched 2.2 innings, giving up one run on four hits and a walk and striking out two.  Stan Williams struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up on hit.

Opposition stars:  Luis Aparicio was 3-for-4 with a walk and two RBIs.  Bobby Knoop was 3-for-5 with a home run, his second.  Gail Hopkins was 2-for-3 with a double.

The game:  Each team got a man to second in the first, but there was no score until the second, when Hopkins doubled and scored on Buddy Bradford's single.  The White Sox put two on again in the third and scored again in the fourth on singles by Bradford, Knoop, and Aparicio.

The Twins got on the board in the fifth:  Ratliff singled, Leo Cardenas walked, a bunt advanced the runners, and a sacrifice fly scored Ratliff.  Chicago got the run back in the sixth when Knoop singled, was bunted to second, and scored on an Aparicio single.

The Twins took the lead in the bottom of the sixth.  With one out Harmon Killebrew walked and Rich Reese singled.  With two out Ratliff delivered an RBI single and Cardenas followed with a two-run double, putting the Twins up 4-3.  They put two in the seventh with one out, but did not add to their lead.

It cost them, as Chicago went into the lead to stay in the eighth.  Knoop led off the inning with a home run to tie the score.  Syd O'Brien pinch-hit a single and was bunted to second, with bunter Walt Williams also reaching base on a fielder's choice.  Aparicio then reached on a three-base error on pitcher Ron Perranoski, putting the White Sox up 6-4.  A sacrifice fly then made it 7-4.

The Twins got one in the ninth.  Tovar singled and went to second on a wild pitch.  Killebrew reached on an error, scoring Tovar and bringing the winning run up to bat.  But pinch-hitter Rick Renick flied out to center to end the game.

WP:  Tommie Sisk (1-0).

LP:  Perranoski (0-1).

S:  Wilbur Wood (3).

Notes:  Ratliff was again behind the plate in place of George Mitterwald.  Mitterwald would pinch-hit for him in the eighth and go behind the plate.

Rod Carew started the game, but was pinch-hit for in the first inning by Minnie Mendoza.  One assumes he was dealing with an injury or illness.  Charlie Manuel and Bob Allison pinch-hit for pitchers.  It was the first action Allison had seen in what would be his last season.  Jim Holt replaced Brant Alyea in left field in the seventh.  Renick pinch-hit for Reese in the ninth.

Bill Zepp started and pitched three innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on seven hits and one walk and striking out one.

Alyea was 0-for-2 and was batting .419.  Tovar was batting .383.  Tony Oliva was 1-for-5 and was batting .340.  Ratliff was batting .333.  Manuel was 0-for-1 and was batting .333.  Killebrew was 1-for-4 and was batting .324.  Holt and Renick were each 0-for-1 and each was batting .300.  Zepp had an ERA of 2.25.  Perranoski gave up four runs (one earned) in two innings and had an ERA of 2.53.  Tom Hall struck out the only man he faced and had an ERA of zero.  Williams also had an ERA of zero.

Reese was 1-for-4 and was batting .161.

This was the last good season Perranoski would have, and part of the reason may be that Bill Rigney seemed determined to drive him into the ground in April.  In the space of five games, Perranoski had come in four times, pitching a total of 8.2 innings.  I know men were men back then, but even so, this seems like overdoing it, especially in the first month of the season.

The White Sox' starter was Gerry Janeski.  He pitched 5.2 innings, allowing four runs on five hits and three walks and striking out four.  He was a rookie, and this was just his third major league start.  He started the season strong, with a 2.91 ERA in his first eight starts, but would end going 10-17, 4.77, 1.51 WHIP.  1970 was his only full major league season.  He would be traded to Washington after the season and would make 27 more appearances (11 starts) over two seasons for the Senators/Rangers.  His career numbers were 11-23, 4.73, 1.55 WHIP.  After baseball, Janeski had a successful career in real estate in California.

This would be the last win of Tommie Sisk's career.  He'd had some solid seasons with PIttsburgh, but had a poor year in 1969 with the expansion San Diego Padres and would struggle in 1970, his last major league season.  The White Sox traded him to Cleveland in June and he was traded to Montreal after the season, but he never pitched in the majors for either of those clubs.

The loss snapped a four game winning streak for the Twins.  They had won four, lost two, then won four again.  We'll see if they go on to lose two again.

Record:  The Twins were 8-3, in first place in the American League West by winning percentage, but a half game behind California.