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1970 Rewind: Game One Hundred Fifty-seven


Date:  Saturday, September 26.

Batting stars:  Leo Cardenas was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Rick Renick was 1-for-3 with a walk.

Pitching stars:  Pete Hamm pitched two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.  Steve Barber pitched two perfect innings and struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Bob Johnson pitched a complete game shutout, giving up four hits and three walks and striking out eight.  Cookie Rojas was 3-for-4.  Amos Otis was 2-for-5 with a double.  Bob Oliver was 1-for-4 with a home run (his twenty-seventh) and two RBIs.

The game:  All the scoring came early.  In the first, Otis singled, George Spriggs walked, Lou Piniella had an RBI single, and a ground out scored another, making it 2-0 Royals.  In the second Rojas and Tommy Matchick singled, a bunt moved them to second and third, and Spriggs delivered a two-run single.  Oliver homered in the third to make it 5-0.

And that was it.  The Twins got a one-out double from Cardenas in the first.  They had men on first and second with none out in the fifth on a walk and a hit batsman.  Their biggest threat came in the seventh, when Rick Dempsey walked, Renick singled, and a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third with none out.  But a foul pop, a strikeout, and a ground out ended the inning.

WP:  Johnson (8-12).

LP:  Bert Blyleven (10-9).

S:  None.

Notes:  Jim Nettles was in left field in place of Brant Alyea.  Jim Holt was in center field in place of Cesar Tovar.  Paul Ratliff was at catcher in place of George Mitterwald.  Rick Renick was at third base in place of Harmon Killebrew.  Danny Thompson was at second base in place of Rod Carew.

Carew pinch-hit for Blyleven in the third inning.  Charlie Manuel pinch-hit for Thompson in the fifth and stayed in the game in left field, with Frank Quilici replacing Nettles and going to second base.  Tovar pinch-hit for Hal Haydel.  Rick Dempsey went in to catch in the fifth, replacing Ratliff.  Alyea pinch-hit for Hamm in the seventh.

Carew was 0-for-1 and was batting .372.  Tony Oliva was 1-for-4 and was batting .321.

Dempsey was 0-for-1 and was batting zero.  Manuel was 0-for-2 and was batting .193.  Hamm pitched two shutout innings and had an ERA of 5.28.

Blyleven pitched just two innings, giving up four runs on five hits and two walks and striking out none.

The Twins some relievers who hadn't pitched for quite a while.  Haydel hadn't pitched since September 12.  Hamm hadn't pitched since August 23, although he may have appeared in some minor league games.  Barber hadn't pitched in the majors since July 26, although he presumably was pitching in the minors.  The minor league seasons ended around Labor Day, though, so it had still been a while.

I probably knew this at the time and forgot it, but Dempsey is the uncle of long-time major league catcher Gregg Zaun.

Record:  The Twins were 95-62, in first place in the American League West, 8.5 games ahead of Oakland.


1970 Rewind: Game Twenty-four


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.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-two


Date:  Sunday, September 7.

Batting stars:  Michael Ryan was 2-for-3 with a home run (his third), a double, a walk, and two runs.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-4 with a walk and two RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Grant Balfour pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.  Rick Reed pitched two shutout innings, giving up a hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Gerald Laird was 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs.  Michael Young was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Alex Rodriguez was 1-for-4 with a home run (his forty-second) and two walks.

The game:  Rodriguez homered with two out in the first to put the Rangers up 1-0.  Ryan countered with a home run leading off the bottom of the first to tie it 1-1.  In the third, Texas opened the inning with three singles, loading the bases with none out.  A home-and-first double play gave the Twins hope of getting out of the inning, but an intentional walk to Rodriguez was followed by an accidental walk to Rafael Palmeiro, putting the Rangers back up 2-1.

The Twins tied it in the fourth when Torii Hunter hit a two-out double and scored from second on a wild pitch (Twins Baseball!).  They went ahead 3-2 in the fifth when Denny Hocking hit a two-out double and scored on Mientkiewicz' single.  Texas went back in front in the sixth when Mark Teixeira was hit by a pitch, Hank Blalock reached on an error, and Laird delivered a two-run triple to give the Rangers a 4-3 lead.

The Twins tied it in the seventh when Ryan doubled and scored on a Mientkiewicz single.  It stayed tied through nine.  In the tenth Mientkiewicz walked, Matthew LeCroy singled, and Jacque Jones reached on an error, loading the bases with none out.  Hunter then hit a sacrifice fly to win the game for the Twins.

WP:  Reed (6-12).  LP:  Francisco Cordero (4-7).  S:  None.

Notes:  Hocking was at second base in place of Luis Rivas.  Ryan was in left with Jones in right.

Lew Ford pinch-hit for Cristian Guzman in the seventh.  Chris Gomez came in to play short in the eighth.  Michael Cuddyer pinch-hit for Ryan in the ninth and stayed in the game in left field.  Justin Morneau pinch-hit for Hocking in the ninth.  Alex Prieto came i to play second in the tenth.  Michael Restovich pinch-ran for LeCroy in the tenth.

Ryan raised his average to .391.  Ford was 0-for-1 and was batting .321.  Jones was 1-for-5 and was batting .306.  Pierzynski was 0-for-3 and was batting .302.  Mientkiewicz raised his average to .301.

This was Prieto's first appearance for the Twins since August 2.  It was Restovich's first appearance since August 17.

Kenny Rogers started and pitched 5.2 innings, giving up four runs (two earned) on seven hits and three walks and striking out four.  J. C. Romero retired both men he faced to lower his ERA to 5.10.  LaTroy Hawkins struck out the only man he faced to lower his ERA to 1.97.  Reed lowered his ERA to 5.02.  This was his first appearance since August 17.

This was Laird's first career triple, and it came in his ninth major league game.  He would play 790 more games and hit eight more triples.  His season high was three, in 2007.

The Twins had won five in a row, eight of ten, and ten of thirteen.  Chicago and Kansas City both won, so there was no change in the standings.

Record:  The Twins were 76-66, tied with Chicago for first place in the American League Central, three games ahead of Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-four


Date:  Friday, August 29.

Batting stars:  Doug Mientkiewicz was 4-for-5.  Shannon Stewart was 2-for-5 with a double, two runs, and two RBIs.  Matthew LeCroy was 1-for-3 with a home run (his fifteenth) and a walk.

Pitching stars:  Carlos Pulido pitched two shutout innings, giving up two hits and striking out one.  Grant Balfour pitched two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.  LaTroy Hawkins struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up two hits.  Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Mark Teixeira was 2-for-4 with a triple.  Todd Greene was 2-for-4.  Hank Blalock was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Laynce Nix was 1-for-3 with a three-run homer (his fifth) and a walk.

The game:  LeCroy had the game's first hit in the second inning and it was a home run, putting the Twins up 1-0.  The Rangers tied it in the bottom of the second when Teixeira hit a two-out triple and scored on Greene's single.  Texas took a big lead in the third.  Michael Young led off with a double, went to third on a ground out, and scored on a sacrifice fly.  With two out and none on, Rafael Palmeiro doubled, Shane Spencer walked, and Nix hit a three-run homer to put the Rangers ahead 5-1.

The Twins started their comeback in the fifth.  Singles by Torii Hunter and Cristian Guzman were followed by a ground out, putting men on second and third with two down.  Stewart delivered a two-run single, cutting the lead to 5-3.  The Twins sent just three men to the plate in each of the sixth and seventh innings, however, leaving the score 5-3 as we went to the eighth.

In the eighth, Stewart doubled, but was still on second with two out.  Mientkiewicz had an RBI single to make the score 5-4.  Walks to LeCroy and Jacque Jones loaded the bases and a Dazzle Special (wild pitch) tied the score.  Hunter was then intentionally walked to load the bases and A. J. Pierzynski was hit by a pitch to put the Twins up 6-5.  Twins Baseball!!!!

Texas put men on first and third in the eighth but did not score.  In the ninth, Chris Gomez and Luis Rivas singled to put men on first and second.  Mientkiewicz then came through again, getting a two-run single-plus-error to give the Twins an 8-5 lead.  The Rangers went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Balfour (1-0).  LP:  John Thomson (12-11).  S:  Guardado (30).

Notes:  Denny Hocking remained at third in place of Corey Koskie.  Jones was in left and Stewart in right.

Michael Ryan pinch-hit for Guzman in the eighth.  Gomez went in at shortstop in the ninth.  Dustan Mohr pinch-ran for LeCroy in the eighth.

Ryan was 0-for-1 and was batting .375.  Stewart was batting .314.  Jones was 0-for-3 and was batting .308.  Mientkiewicz raised his average to .303.

Joe Mays lasted just three innings, allowing five runs on five hits and two walks and striking out one.  His ERA was 6.37.  This was his last start of the season.  He would make just one more appearance, then be shut down for the rest of the season.  The bullpen bailed the Twins out, pitching six shutout innings and giving up five hits and a walk and striking out five.

This was Pulido's first appearance in the majors since 1994, a gap of nine years.  In between he played for a few different organizations and also played in Japan, Taiwan, and independent ball.

This was Balfour's first major league win.  In a pennant race, Ron Gardenhire used two pitchers who people had no reason to have much confidence in, and they rewarded him with four shutout innings and a win.

Pulido's ERA was zero.  Balfour's ERA was 1.76.  Hawkins had an ERA of 2.10.

Kansas City and Chicago both lost, so the Twins gained ground on both.

Record:  The Twins were 70-64, in third place in the American League Central, a half game behind both Chicago and Kansas City, who were tied for first.