MINNESOTA 7, MILWAUKEE 6 IN MINNESOTA (GAME 1 OF DOUBLEHEADER)
Date: Monday, September 7.
Batting stars: Brant Alyea was 3-for-4 with two home runs (his fourteenth and fifteenth) and seven RBIs. Cesar Tovar was 3-for-5.
Pitching star: Ron Perranoski pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit.
Opposition stars: Dave May was 3-for-4 with a triple. Bob Burda was 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Mike Hegan was 2-for-4. John Gelnar struck out five in two shutout innings, giving up one hit. Ken Sanders struck out two in two perfect innings.
The game: The Twins jumped on Brewers starter Lew Krausse for four runs in the first inning. Cesar Tovar and Rich Reese opened the game with singles. A ground out put men on second and third. Harmon Killebrew was intentionally walked to load the bases, which makes perfect sense, but Alyea hit a grand slam to make it 4-0 Twins.
The Brewers tried to come back in the second. Bob Burda, Mike Hegan, and Roberto Pena all singled, loading the bases with one out. But Milwaukee could only score once, on a ground out, making the score 4-1. And in the third, Alyea struck again. Tony Oliva was hit by a pitch, Killebrew singled, and Alyea hit a three-run homer, making it 7-1 Twins.
From there it was a matter of hanging on. In the fifth, singles by Pete Koegel and Ted Kubiak put men on first and third with two out. Then came consecutive singles by May, Burda, and Hegan, resulting in three runs and cutting the lead to 7-4. In the seventh, Tommy Harper reached on an error, went to third on May's single, and scored on a sacrifice fly, cutting the lead to 7-5. In the eighth Phil Roof doubled and scored on Kubiak's single to cut the lead to 7-6.
But the Twins held on. Bernie Smith singled with one out in the ninth, but did not get farther and the Twins prevailed.
WP: Stan Williams (9-0).
LP: Krausse (12-16).
S: Ron Perranoski (28).
Notes: Paul Ratliff was behind the plate in place of George Mitterwald. Danny Thompson remained at second base in place of Rod Carew. Jim Holt pinch-ran for Alyea in the seventh and stayed in the game in center field, with Tovar moving to left. Mitterwald replaced Ratliff behind the plate in the eighth. Frank Quilici came in to play second in the ninth, with Thompson moving to third and Killebrew coming out of the game.
Oliva was 0-for-3 and was batting .315. Williams gave up two runs (one earned) in 2.2 innings and had an ERA of 2.13. Perranoski had an ERA of 2.11.
Neither starter did very well. Bill Zepp started for the Twins and lasted 4.2 innings, giving up four runs on nine hits and no walks and striking out two. Krausse lasted just two innings, allowing seven runs on six hits and one walk and striking out three.
As noted above, the strategy of walking Killebrew to pitch to Alyea seems perfectly logical. It just didn't work. Alyea was the starting left fielder at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year, but there was a large stretch in the middle where Bill Rigney preferred using Jim Holt. And when Alyea did start, he was almost always removed for defense midway through the game. Apparently, Rigney considered Alyea to be absolutely awful on defense.
Wayne Twitchell made his major league debut in this game. Maybe you say "big deal", and understandably so, but Twitchell played for ten seasons and pitched in 282 games (133 starts). He career numbers are 48-65, 3.98, 2 saves, 1.43 WHIP. His best year was 1973, when he went 13-9, 2.50, 1.21 WHIP with five shutouts and ten complete games. He made his lone all-star appearance that year. He was traded to Philadelphia after the 1970 season, which is where he spent the bulk of his career. He also pitched for Montreal, the Mets, and Seattle. He's not all time great or even an all time very good, but you have to have something on the ball to be able to pitch ten seasons in the big leagues.
Pete Koegel got his first major league hit in this game. A catcher/first baseman, he played in three major league seasons and got eighty-six at-bats. His numbers are .174/.268/.244, hitting one home run (off Tommy John). He was very tall, especially for his time, standing 6'6".
There were nine doubleheaders played on this Labor Day.
The Twins had a four-game winning streak.
Record: The Twins were 82-55, in first place in the American League West, six games ahead of Oakland. California fell to third place, seven games back.