MINNESOTA 6, KANSAS CITY 4 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Wednesday, September 30.
Batting stars: Cesar Tovar was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Paul Ratliff was 1-for-1 with a three-run homer, his fifth.
Pitching stars: Bert Blyleven pitched eight innings, giving up four runs (one eanred) on five hits and four walks and striking out three. Hal Haydel struck out two in a scoreless inning.
Opposition stars: Bob Oliver was 2-for-4 with a triple. Lou Piniella was 2-for-4 with a double. Wally Bunker pitched eight innings, giving up four runs on six hits and no walks and striking out six.
The game: Each team put a man in scoring position in the first but did not score. In the second Oliver led off with a triple. Bobby Floyd walked and went to second on a wild pitch. With two out, they both scored on an error, putting the Royals up 2-0.
There were no more runs, and in fact no more hits, until the fifth. George Mitterwald and Blyleven singled, putting men on first and second with two out. Tovar then hit a two-run double, with Blyleven scoring from first, to tie it up 2-2.
Kansas City got the lead back in the sixth without getting a hit. A walk, a two-base error, and an intentional walk loaded the bases with one out and Floyd hit a sacrifice fly. The Royals added an insurance run in the seventh when Rojas hit a two-out double and scored on Piniella's single.
It stayed 4-2 until the bottom of the ninth. Singles by Tony Oliva and Harmon Killebrew were followed by a passed ball, putting the tying run in scoring position. Jim Holt hit a sacrifice fly to make it 4-3. Brant Alyea walked and Ratliff delivered a pinch-hit three-run homer to give the Twins the victory.
WP: Haydel (2-0).
LP: Jim York (1-1).
Notes: Rod Carew was at first base, with Danny Thompson at second and Rich Reese out of the lineup. Holt replaced Carew at first in the sixth. Reese pinch-hit for Blyleven in the eighth. Herman Hill pinch-ran for Killebrew in the ninth. Jim Nettles pinch-ran for Alyea in the ninth. Ratliff pinch-hit for Mitterwald in the ninth.
Carew was 0-for-2 and was batting .366. Oliva was 1-for-4 an was batting .323. Haydel had an ERA of 3.00.
This was the first time Carew played first base in the major leagues. He would not play there again until 1975. In 1976, he became a full-time first baseman.
Even when you're just marking time until the playoffs, a walkoff home run is still fun.
Record: The Twins were 97-64, in first place in the American League West, nine games ahead of Oakland.