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All-Time Twins Tournament, Mauer Round, Game 1: The ‘pen isn’t mightier

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1969 takes an early lead after teeing off in the late innings.

Kansas City Royals v Minnesota Twins
The men of the pen get walloped again.
Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

Game 1 Lineups

(16) 2017 TWINS (3) 1969 TWINS
2 - Brian Dozier - 2B 29 - Rod Carew - 2B
7 - Joe Mauer - 1B 6 - Tony Oliva - RF
22 - Miguel Sanó - DH 3 - Harmon Killebrew - DH
20 - Eddie Rosario - LF 20 - Rich Reese - 1B
5 - Eduardo Escobar - 3B 12 - César Tovar - CF
21 - Jason Castro - C 13 - John Roseboro - C
26 - Max Kepler - RF 4 - Bob Allison - LF
16 - Ehire Adrianza - SS 10 - Rick Renick - 3B
25 - Byron Buxton - CF 5 - Leo Cárdenas - SS
54 - Ervin Santana - P 31 - Jim Perry - P

Result

The first game of a series is often hyped as a battle between team aces, and today was no exception.

Ervin Santana and Jim Perry both put up strong performances, but while ‘69’s bullpen kept their lead intact, ‘17’s faltered in the seventh.

Trying to maintain a two-run deficit inherited from Santana and Alan Busenitz, Buddy Boshers faced three batters and gave up three runs. Those runs put the game away for ‘69, who took an early series lead by defeating ‘17 8-2.

‘69 punctuated their lead with four home runs, two off the bat of Harmon Killebrew.

But before their offense went off, Santana and Perry kept opposing bats limited, each only letting one runner circle the bases through four innings. ‘69 struck first in the bottom of the second; after Rich Reese singled up the middle, César Tovar moved him to second on a hit-and-run groundout. With the outfield playing shallow to prevent Reese from scoring on a single, John Roseboro sent a fly ball over Byron Buxton’s head, the pill falling in for an RBI double. Santana retired the next two batters to keep the score at 1-0.

Although Perry had retired the first six ‘17 batters of the game, the visitors pushed a run across to re-tie the game quickly. Perry plunked Max Kepler — one of three batters he hit with a pitch — before Ehire Adrianza’s single moved Kepler to third. Buxton sent a line drive to left that looked like extra bases, but Bob Allison made a sliding catch, preventing another baserunner but still allowing Kepler to score. After Brian Dozier singled to put two men on again, Perry struck out Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano to end the inning.

Both starters ran into trouble in the fifth, but ‘69 capitalized more than ‘17. Still, it was ‘17 who took the lead first; with one out, Dozier took a pitch off the torso and came around when Mauer doubled into the right field corner. But Santana opened the bottom of the fifth by walking Leo Cárdenas, and after Rod Carew flew out, Tony Oliva got his bat on a pitch and lined it just over the right field wall, his two-run homer giving ‘69 a lead they would not lose. Killebrew followed by going back-to-back, sending Santana’s pitch nearly to the same spot as Oliva’s for an opposite-field solo shot.

While Perry lasted one more inning before yielding to the bullpen, Santana exited after five, giving ‘17’s bullpen the task of keeping close enough for the offense to take over. Their execution of said task began smoothly, as Busenitz pitched a perfect sixth and retired the first man in the seventh. But with Busenitz at 17 pitches and the left-handed Carew and Oliva due up, Boshers entered in relief. While he got two strikes on every batter he faced, none of those at-bats ended well. After Carew watched the count reach 1-2, he blasted Bosher’s next pitch 426 feet into the right-center field stands. Oliva followed with a single before, after fouling off two 1-2 pitches, Killebrew sent a fly ball to left that sailed over Eddie Rosario’s head and over the fence.

Taylor Rogers finished the inning and pitched the eighth as well, allowing a run when Cárdenas doubled in Rick Renick, but the insurance runs did not matter. After Perry finished his outing by striking out three men in the sixth (walking one), he yielded the mound to Jerry Crider. Over three innings of relief, Crider allowed one baserunner — a Buxton single with two outs in the ninth — while striking out four, including Dozier to end the game, for a three-inning save.

Stars of the Game
‘17 — RP Alan Busenitz: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
‘69 — DH Harmon Killebrew: 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI
‘69 — RP Jerry Crider: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, S
‘69 — RF Tony Oliva: 2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
‘69 — SP Jim Perry: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 HBP, 7 K

Introduction
Walter Johnson Round: Day 1 / Day 2 / Day 3 / Day 4 / Day 5
Harmon Killebrew Round: Day 1 / Day 2 / Day 3 / Day 4 / Day 5
Kirby Puckett Round: Day 1 / Day 2 / Day 3 / Day 4 / Day 5 / Day 6 / Day 7
Joe Mauer Round: Preview / Game 1 / Game 2 / Game 3 / Game 4 / Game 5 / Game 6 / Game 7
Review