TWINS 6, ORIOLES 3
Friday, July 21, 1978 at Metropolitan Stadium
Game 1250 – 9/22/12
The Twins wanted to complete the sweep of Friday night’s ‘doubleheader’ at Metropolitan Stadium—the 1962 version of the team had already beaten the 1959 Baltimore squad 10-2 in a pre-game old-timers contest—and hoped they possessed the same run-scoring punch their counterparts had. Rod Carew and Butch Wynegar made sure they did, delivering clutch RBI extra-base hits late in the game to lead the Twins to a 6-3 win over the Orioles.
O’s starter Scott McGregor, who was looking for his 15th win of the season, held the Twins scoreless for four innings before surrendering the first run of the game on an infield single by Larry Wolfe, which sent Bombo Rivera home from third for a 1-0 Minnesota lead. The Twins made it 3-0 in the seventh when a Carew triple scored two, and one inning later Wynegar’s bases-loaded double upped the lead to 5-0; Carew’s fielder’s choice groundout to short allowed Rivera to race home with yet another run in the inning, and Minnesota entered the ninth with a comfortable 6-0 advantage.
Twins starter Gary Serum seemed to be in control entering the final frame, allowing no runs on five hits to shut down the Baltimore offense through eight, but he immediately worked himself into trouble by serving up a single to lead-off batter Eddie Murray and a double to Lee May; after Billy Smith flew out to left, pinch-hitter Al Bumbry drilled his second home run of the season to deep right, good for three runs, and suddenly the O’s were back in the game.
The next Baltimore batter was Pat Kelly, and when he bounced a single up the middle, Twins manager Gene Mauch had seen enough, and called on bullpen ace Mike Marshall to extinguish the Orioles rally. Marshall promptly whiffed Andy Mora for the second out, but allowed a base hit to pinch-hitter Rich Dauer, which put runners on first and second with the tying run stepping up to the plate in the form of Larry Harlow, who had taken over for right fielder Ken Singleton in the eighth.
With the game on the line, Marshall battled Harlow to a full count before letting fly with a mesmerizing curve that caught Harlow on the half-swing for the strikeout, earning Marshall his 13th save and Serum his 10th win as the Twins prevailed 6-3. McGregor (14-4) took the loss, allowing the first three Minnesota runs in his six innings of work.
• The game was played in the morning at site AZ8 in Peoria, Arizona, on the living room table while I listened to 4 by Foreigner.
• The win moves the Twins a half-game closer to the first-place Rangers in the AL West; Texas now leads the division by three games over Minnesota.
• The ’62 Twins defeated the ’59 Orioles 10-2 in a seven-inning Old-Timers Game played before the scheduled game at Metropolitan Stadium.
• Of the SP78 games I’ve played, I’m now exactly ¼ of the way through the 1,000’s.