May 1, 1996
Twins Win on Molitor Walk-Off Hit-By-Pitch
The Twins led the Royals 5-3 heading into the top of the ninth when ’94 AL Rookie of the Year Bob Hamelin hit a two-run homer off Dave Stevens to tie it up. Hamelin had also homered in the second inning, both times with José Offerman on base. Royals all-time saves leader Jeff Montgomery set the Twins down in order in the bottom of the ninth, but the 10th did not go so smoothly. After getting a Pat Meares pop out, Montgomery walked Rich Becker and Chuck Knoblauch. A single by Chip Hale loaded the bases for Paul Molitor, who Montgomery hit, bringing home the winning run.
May 1, 2005
Santana Loses First Game in 21 Starts
Johan Santana allows just two hits over eight innings, but the Twins fall to the Angels 2-1. Santana had gone 17-0 over his previous 20 starts dating back to July 17, 2004.
The two hits Santana allowed were solo home runs by Vladimir Guerrero and José Molina. Angels pitcher Bartolo Colon, meanwhile, held the Twins scoreless on just two hits through 7 1/3 innings. Shannon Stewart drove in the Twins’ only run with a solo shot off closer Francisco Rodriguez in the bottom of the ninth. K-Rod led the league with 45 saves that season. He led the majors with 62 in 2008. Colon led the league with 21 wins en route to winning the Cy Young Award.
Santana, who had won the Cy Young in 2004, went 16-7 in 2005 and finished third in Cy Young balloting. He won the award again in 2006, this time unanimously.
May 1, 2009
Mauer Homers in First At-Bat Back from DL
After missing the first 22 games of the season with a lower back injury, Joe Mauer homers on his first swing back from the disabled list. With two out in the bottom of the first, Mauer took Royals pitcher Sidney Ponson’s first two offerings before depositing the 2-0 pitch in the left-center field seats.
Mauer led off the fourth inning with an opposite-field double, and scored on a Justin Morneau single up the middle. Mauer walked in the fifth and scored on Morneau’s sixth home run of the season. He finished the day 2-for-3 with a walk and three runs scored as the Twins beat the Royals 7-5.
Mauer went on to hit 11 home runs and drive in 32 runs in the month of May en route to his third batting title and being named American League MVP. The Twins won the Central Division in ‘09 with a dramatic 12th-inning walk-off win in Game 163 versus Detroit, but were swept by the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs.
May 2, 1963
Twins Trade Kralick for Perry
The Twins trade pitcher Jack Kralick, who had come with the team from Washington, to Cleveland for Jim Perry. Kralick had pitched the Twins’ first no-hitter the previous season, on August 26, 1962. He took a perfect game into the ninth, but issued a one-out walk before inducing two foul fly outs to complete the 1-0 win over the Kansas City Athletics.
Though the Twins’ first season in Minnesota (1961) was probably Kralick’s best, he did garner his lone All-Star selection with Cleveland in 1964.
Perry’s career had gotten off to a hot start in Cleveland. In 1959 he was runner-up to the Senators’ Bob Allison for American League Rookie of the Year. He tied Baltimore’s Chuck Estrada for the American League lead with 18 wins in 1960, and made his first All-Star team in 1961.
Perry was used as both a starter and reliever during his first five season in Minnesota, including the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 1965 World Series.
He played one heckuva game at Yankee Stadium on April 13, 1968—the Twins’ third game of the season—pitching a four-hit shutout and homering in the top of the ninth. (Teammate Jim Kaat pitched a shutout and homered in the same game twice in his career)
Perry won 20 games in 1969 as the Twins won the American League West pennant. He won two games against the Seattle Pilots on July 20. First he earned the win in a game resumed in the 17th inning from the day before, then pitched a shutout in the regularly scheduled game.
1970 was the first season Perry was used exclusively as a starter, and he was used extensively, leading the league with 40 starts, and tying for the major league lead with 24 wins en route to winning the first Cy Young Award in Twins history.
Perry played ten seasons in Minnesota altogether. He is fifth in Twins history in both wins (128) and innings pitched. He was inducted into the team Hall of Fame on June 11, 2011.
May 2, 1964
Twins Hit Four Consecutive Home Runs
Tony Oliva had given the Twins a 2-0 lead in KC with a third-inning homer. The Athletics had tied it up 2-2 before Harmon Killebrew hit a solo shot in the top of the ninth. Rocky Colavito, however, drove in Ed Charles in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extra innings.
Neither team threatened to score in the tenth. Then Tony Oliva, Bob Allison, and Jimmie Hall went back-to-back-to-back leading off the 11th. Kansas City went to the bullpen, but to no avail, as Harmon Killebrew made in four in a row en route to a 7-3 Twins win.
Seven teams in the history of major league baseball have hit four consecutive home runs, most recently the Diamondbacks in 2010. The last American League team to do so was the White Sox in 2008 when Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez, and Juan Uribe went back-to-back-to-back-to-back.
This wasn’t the only time the Twins made home run history against the Kansas City Athletics. The Twins set an American League record by hitting five home runs in a single inning at the Met on June 9, 1966. The Athletics erupted for four runs in the first off Camilo Pascual, who only lasted ⅔ of an inning. Facing 1987 Hall of Fame inductee Catfish Hunter, the Twins pulled within 4-3 on a Bob Allison RBI double in the fifth and a two-run Killebrew homer in the sixth. Then, in the bottom of the seventh, Rich Rollins and Zoilo Versalles connected for back-to-back home runs off Hunter to take the lead. Reliever Paul Lindblad retired Sandy Valdespino before allowing back-to-back homers to Tony Oliva and Don Mincher. The Athletics then turned to John Wyatt who allowed the Twins’ third consecutive home run, and the fifth of the inning, to Harmon Killebrew, his second of the game.
Four National League teams have hit five home runs in an inning. The first time was in 1939 and the most recent in 2006. All four were against the Cincinnati Reds.
May 2-3, 1986
Puckett Leads Off Consecutive Games with First-Pitch Home Runs
Twins leadoff hitter Kirby Puckett homers on the first pitch in back-to-back games in Detroit, first off Jack Morris, and then Walt Terrell. That brought his total to 11 in the first 24 games of the season. He went on to hit a career-high 31 that season, remarkable considering that he hit just four in the 1985, and zero during his 1984 rookie season.
Morris struggled mightily in the May 2 matchup, as the Twins touched the ‘73 Highland Park grad for four runs on four hits and four walks in just 1 ⅓ innings. Even Steve Lombardozzi got in on the act, leading off the second inning with a home run. Kirby went 3-for-6 with two RBI and three runs scored in the Twins 10-1 win, raising his average to .396.
Tigers pitching fared better on May 3, however. In addition to Kirby’s first-pitch home run, Gary Gaetti also homered in the first, driving in Tom Brunansky. Walt Terrell recovered, however, holding the Twins scoreless for the next seven innings before giving up a solo shot to Gaetti with two out in the top of the ninth. He then struck out pinch-hitter Billy Beane to complete a 7-4 Tigers win.
May 2, 2010
Ramos Debuts with 4-Hit Game
22-year-old Venezuelan catcher Wilson Ramos goes 4-for-5 with a double and run scored in his major league debut in Cleveland. The following night, at home versus Detroit, Ramos went 3-for-4 with a double, becoming the third player in major league history with seven hits in his first two games, and the first since Nanny Fernandez in 1942.
Ramos was the second Twin to debut with a four-hit game. 24-year-old Kirby Puckett went 4-for-5 with a run scored in his major league debut in Anaheim on May 8, 1984. Hitting leadoff, Kirby grounded out in his first at-bat before collecting four straight singles. Puckett was the sixth player in American League history to debut with a four-hit performance.
Ramos played seven games for the Twins before being traded to the Washington Nationals for closer Matt Capps. The Twins went on to win the American League Central before being swept out of the playoffs by the Yankees.
May 2, 2017
Santana Improves to 5-0
Ervin Santana earns the win over Oakland at Target Field, improving to 5-0 with a 0.66 ERA through his first six starts of the season. Santana finished with a 16-8 record, 3.28 ERA, and career-best 1.126 WHIP. He tied Cleveland’s Corey Kluber for the major league lead with five complete games, and led the Twins with 211.1 innings pitched, FIFTY-EIGHT innings ahead of second-best Kyle Gibson.
May 3, 2011
Liriano Pitches a No-Hitter
Francisco Liriano pitches the fifth no-hitter in Twins history on a chilly 42-degree night in Chicago, beating the White Sox 1-0.
He issued six walks in the game. Playing for the Tigers, 1973 Highland Park grad Jack Morris also issued six walks while pitching a no-hitter on a chilly day in Chicago on April 7, 1984.
Liriano was 1-4 with a 9.13 ERA coming into his no-hitter. Scott Erickson was 1-3 with a 7.48 ERA before pitching the third no-hitter in Twins history on April 27, 1994, and coming off a 1993 season in which he led the majors with 19 losses and the most hits allowed.
This was the second Twins no-hitter in which six runners reached base. The first was the Twins’ first no-hitter, thrown by Dean Chance in the second game of a doubleheader in Cleveland on August 25, 1967. Chance completed the no-hitter despite giving up an earned run. He walked the first two batters of the game and then the bases were loaded on an error by third baseman César Tovar. Chance then threw a wild pitch, giving Cleveland an early 1-0 lead. The Twins went on to win 2-1 as Chance walked five and struck out eight. Cleveland hit into two double plays.
The Twins’ only run in Liriano’s no-hitter came on a Jason Kubel homer in the fourth. Liriano was far from perfect, giving up the six walks, although he did induce three ground ball double plays. Despite averaging 7.5 strikeouts per nine innings on the season, and 9.2 per nine over the course of his career, Liriano only struck out two batters in his no-hit performance. He threw 123 pitches, only 66 of which were strikes. He finished the season with a 9-10 record and 5.09 ERA. The no-hitter was Liriano’s only complete game as a Twin. He pitched two complete games for the Pirates in 2013.
Nolan Ryan issued eight walks when he no-hit the Twins in Anaheim on September 28, 1974.
May 4, 1975
Killebrew’s Number Retired
After being released by the Twins, Harmon Killebrew signed as a free agent with the Kansas City Royals on January 24, 1975. The Twins retired his number in a ceremony prior to the Sunday finale of their first home series against the Royals that season. Killebrew’s number 3 was the first number retired by the Twins.
After having his number retired, Killebrew hit a two-run home run off Vic Albury in the top of the first, driving in Hal McRae. He also drew a walk, but the Twins won 6-3.
Killebrew went 0-for-2 with two walks in the first game of the series, which the Twins won 4-1, with 1967 Rothsay grad Dave Goltz earning the win, and 1961 St. Cloud Cathedral grad Tom Burgmeier earning the save.
Killebrew did play in the second game of the series, in which Bert Blyleven earned a complete game 14-5 win.
Killebrew hit 14 home runs in his one season with the Royals, including his 573rd and final home run off the Twins’ Eddie Bane on September 18.
May 4, 1999
3,000th Win in Twins History
Rookie Mike Lincoln earns his first major league win in an 8-5 Twins victory over the Yankees at home in the Dome. It was the 3,000th win in Twins history. Every Twins batter had at least one hit, with Torii Hunter and Ron Coomer going 3-for-5.
Lincoln only won three games over two seasons with the Twins, and 17 total over his nine-year major league career (the final seven pitching exclusively out of the bullpen).
It’s interesting that the unremarkable Lincoln was on the mound for the 3,000th win in team history, because Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven earned both the 1,000th and 2,000th wins in team history.
May 5, 1882
Birthdate of Lee Quillin
Major league infielder Lee Quillin was born in North Branch, MN on this date in 1882. He played four games (three at shortstop) for the eventual 1906 World Series Champion Chicago White Sox. He hit .192 in 49 games as Chicago’s backup third baseman in 1907.
Quillin passed away in 1965 at age 83. He is buried at Oakland Cemetery in St. Paul.
May 5, 1884
Birthdate of Charles Albert Bender
Hall of Fame pitcher Charley Albert Bender was born in Crow Wing County (near Brainerd) on this date in 1884.
Bender made his debut with the Philadelphia Athletics at age 19, earning the win in relief over Boston’s Cy Young on April 20, 1903. He earned a complete-game win in his first start seven days later.
Bender won 212 games and three World Series over fifteen seasons (plus one novelty game with the White Sox at age 41).
He became the first Minnesotan inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1953. He was the only Minnesotan enshrined in Cooperstown for 48 years until 1969 St. Paul Central grad Dave Winfield was inducted in 2001, alongside Twins all-time great Kirby Puckett, and Negro Leagues legend Hilton Smith, who pitched for the semi-pro Fulda, MN team in 1949.
Happy Birthday, Larry Hisle
It’s the birthday of Larry Hisle, born in Portsmouth, OH in 1942. The 14-year major leaguer played five seasons with the Twins, from 1973 to 1977.
Hisle made Twins history twice in June 1976, hitting for the third cycle in team history on June 4, and stealing a team record four bases on June 30. Lyman Bostock, incidentally, hit for the cycle just 20 days later.
In 1977, Hisle hit .302 with 28 home runs and an American League-leading 119 RBI.
Hisle was the hitting coach for the 1992 and ’93 World Series Champion Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays’ John Olerud, Paul Molitor, and Roberto Alomar had the first, second and third-best batting averages in the American League in 1993.
In 2010, Fox Sports North included Hisle among their “50 Greatest Twins.” He is currently the Milwaukee Brewers’ Manager of Youth Outreach.
May 5, 2001
Hawkins Blows First Save After Record Streak
On a Saturday night in Kansas City, the first place Twins (20-7) handed LaTroy Hawkins a 10-8 ninth-inning lead. Hawkins had successfully converted his first 23 career save opportunities, setting a major league record. After the Royals pulled within a run on a sacrifice fly, however, former Twin David McCarty tied the game with a two-out, line drive single to center, scoring Jermaine Dye, giving Hawkins his first blown save. With McCarty aboard in the twelfth, Royals outfielder Dee Brown hit a walk-off home run off Travis Miller.
The Twins drafted McCarty in the first round in 1991. They drafted Hawkins in the seventh round that same year.
May 5, 2017
Mauer Hits First Walk-Off HR
Mrs. Almanac and I brought four-month-old baby Parker to her first Twins game and got to see World War II veteran and pro wrestling legend Stan “Krusher” Kowalski raise the American flag during the National Anthem.
The Twins jumped out to a 2-0 first-inning lead against the Red Sox on a Miguel Sano triple driving in Joe Mauer, and a Robbie Grossman single bringing home Sano. In the seventh inning, Mauer pulled a single to right, driving in Eddie Rosario for a 3-1 lead. But the Red Sox tied it up in the top of the ninth against Twins closer Brandon Kintzler. It was getting a little late for baby Parker, and we weren’t excited about extra innings. Fortunately, with two out in the bottom of the ninth, Joe Mauer deposited Matt Barnes’ 1-2 pitch over the left-center field wall for his first career walk-off home run.
May 6, 1966
Oliva Hits Walk-Off Homer
The Twins take a 4-3 lead over the Red Sox into the top of the ninth, but George Scott leads off the inning with a game-tying homer off Al Worthington. Then, with two out in the bottom of the ninth, Tony Oliva hits a walk-off homer.
The ninth-inning homers were the second of the game for both Scott and Oliva. Oliva homered off 1954 Sebeka graduate Dick Stigman in the fifth. Stigman scored a run in the game, singling off Dave Boswell leading off the third, and scoring on a Rico Petrocelli home run.
May 6, 2011
Twins Score Two Runs on Balks
The Twins score two runs on balks en route to a 9-2 win at Fenway. In the second inning, Denard Span scored on a Tim Wakefield balk, after which manager Terry Francona was ejected. Up 8-2 in the sixth, Trevor Plouffe scored a Alfredo Aceves balk. Plouffe had reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and advanced to third on an error by the shortstop on the play.
May 6, 2015
Rosario Homers on First Major League Pitch
Leading off the bottom of the third against Oakland’s Scott Kazmir, Eddie Rosario hits the first pitch he sees in the major leagues for an opposite field home run. He was hitless in three subsequent at-bats, as the Twins beat Oakland 13-0.
Six Twins have homered in their first major league at-bat: Rick Renick, Dave McKay, Gary Gaetti, Andre David, Luke Hughes, and Rosario. Fifteen players in the history of Major League Baseball have homered on their first pitch. In 2010, Boston’s Daniel Nava hit a grand slam on his first pitch. In 1981, in the span of less than a month, Kent Hrbek, Tim Laudner, and Gaetti each homered in their first major league game.
May 7, 1965
Twins Commit Seven Errors
The Twins commit a team record seven errors in a 13-5 loss to the White Sox on their home turf in Bloomington. Shortstop Zoilo Versalles and third baseman Rich Rollins each committed two errors, while Harmon Killebrew, Earl Battey, and St. Paul native Jerry Kindall committed one each. Every infielder plus the catcher committed an error. Despite the seven errors, 10 of the 13 runs that Twins pitchers allowed were earned.
The Twins would salvage the season and capture their first American League Pennant.
May 7, 1978
Smalley Draws Team Record Five Walks
Roy Smalley sets a team single-game record by drawing five walks in a 15-9 win in Baltimore. Smalley also hit a double in his sixth at-bat, driving in left fielder Willie Norwood. Smalley walked in each of the first three innings, the first two against Hall of Famer Jim Palmer, who only lasted 1 ⅔ innings, allowing six runs on three hits and five walks. It’s interesting to note that Willie Norwood stole second during each of Smalley’s first three at-bats, all of which resulted in walks anyway.
The Twins scored nine of their 15 runs in the first three innings. 1975 Alexandria graduate Gary Serum started the game for the Twins. He only lasted 4 ⅓ innings, allowing five runs on eight hits, but at least he didn’t walk anybody.
May 7, 1989
Gladden Makes Second Pitching Appearance
Dan Gladden makes his second major league pitching appearance, giving up just one run on two hits and a walk in a 12-1 loss in Cleveland. Not bad considering that Cleveland had scored 11 runs over seven innings against Minnesota’s full-time professional pitchers.
May 7, 2000
Tom Kelly Wins 1,000th Game
Tom Kelly becomes the 46th manager in major league history to win 1,000 games as the Twins beat the Tigers 4-0 at home in the Dome. Joe Mays pitched a five-hit shutout to improve to 5-0 on the season.
May 7, 2005
Nathan Record Walkless Streak
Joe Nathan pitches a scoreless bottom of the ninth in a 8-1 win in Tampa Bay. It was his 27th consecutive appearance without issuing a walk going back to September 2, 2004. That is the longest streak in Twins history. The next-longest streaks are Casey Fien at 22 games, and Glen Perkins at 21.
May 7, 2008
Gómez Hits for Cycle
Leadoff hitter Carlos Gómez hits for the “natural cycle” in reverse in a 13-1 road win over the White Sox. Gómez led off the game with a home run, then struck out, tripled, doubled, singled, and struck out again, driving in three runs and scoring twice in the process. Nick Punto hit the first of his two home runs of the season in the game. 1997 World Series MVP Liván Hernández earned the complete-game win, improving to 5-1 on the season.
May 8, 1967
Carew Has Twins’ First 5-Hit Home Game
Rookie second baseman Rod Carew has the first five-hit game by a Twins player at Met Stadium, going 5-for-5 with a double, RBI, and run scored in a 7-4 loss to the Senators (per John Swol‘s TwinsTrivia.com).
Twins players had 16 five-hit games during the Met Stadium years, but remarkably only three of those performances came at home, and only one came in a Twins win. The other two were Ted Uhlaender on June 23, 1968 (6-3 win vs. Yankees), and Leo Cárdenas on September 29, 1970 (per Baseball Reference).
May 8, 1968
Catfish Pitches Perfect Game
22-year-old Catfish Hunter pitches the ninth perfect game in major league history (seventh of the modern era) against the Twins in Oakland, striking out 11 in the 4-0 win. Harmon Killebrew struck out in each of his three plate appearances.
In addition to pitching a heckuva game, Hunter went 3-for-4 at the plate, driving in three of his team’s four runs. Reggie Jackson, for what it’s worth, went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts against the Twins’ Dave Boswell.
May 8, 1977–May 21, 1978
Carew Hits .400 Over 167-Game Span
Starting on this date in 1977, Rod Carew maintained a .400 batting average over a span of 167 games, through May 21, 1978.
May 8, 1979
Team Record 12 Extra-Base Hits
The Twins set a team record with 12 of their 19 hits going for extra bases in a 16-6 shellacking of the Blue Jays at home in Bloomington. Roy Smalley and Craig Kusick each hit two home runs. Ken Landreaux hit a home run and double. Bombo Rivera hit two doubles; Willie Norwood, Glenn Borgmann, and Bob Randall each hit one double; and John Castino tripled. Smalley had the best day of anybody, going 4-for-5 with the two home runs, a walk, four RBI and four runs scored.
May 8, 1984
Puckett Goes 4-for-5 in MLB Debut
24-year-old center fielder Kirby Puckett goes 4-for-5 with a run scored in his major league debut as the Twins beat the first-place Angels 5-0 in Anaheim. Puckett, hitting leadoff, grounded out to short to start the game. He collected singles in his next four at-bats, becoming the sixth player in American League history to debut with a four-hit performance. Frank Viola pitched a four-hit shutout.
He went 16-for-33 (.485) with one walk over his first seven games, and finished the season with 165 hit in 128 games (.296), and finished third to Seattle’s Alvin Davis and Mark Langston in American League Rookie of the Year balloting. Twins teammate Tim Teufel came in fourth.
22-year-old Twins catcher Wilson Ramos also went 4-for-5 in his major league debut on May 2, 2010. The following night he went 3-for-4 with a double, becoming the third player in major league history with seven hits in his first two games, and the first since Nanny Fernandez in 1942.
May 9, 1877
Birthdate of Lew Drill
Major league catcher Lew Drill was born in Browerville, MN on this date in 1877. Drill graduated from Hamline in 1897, and received a law degree from Georgetown, from where he was signed by the Washington Senators in 1902. Drill played 293 major league games over four seasons for the Senators, Orioles, and Tigers. He later served as United States district attorney for Minnesota in the late 1920s and early ‘30s. Drill passed away on July 4, 1969 in St. Paul. He was 92 years old.
May 10, 1962
Back-to-Back Home Runs to Start Game
Lenny Green and Vic Power start the bottom of the first with back-to-back home runs off Cleveland pitcher Jim Perry. Cleveland came back to win the game 9-4.
Fun Fact: Nobody reached base more often in the Twins’ first two seasons than Lenny Green (522).
Back-to-back home runs to begin a team’s half of the first inning tied the major league record at the time. Three teams have since begun a game with three consecutive home runs: the Padres (bottom of the first on April 13, 1987), Atlanta (bottom of the first on May 28, 2003), and the Brewers (top of the first on September 9, 2007).
May 10, 2000
Biggest Comeback in Team History
The Twins overcome an 8-1 seventh-inning deficit for the biggest comeback win in team history.
After Cleveland scored four in the top of the seventh to take an 8-1 lead, the Twins scored six in the bottom of the inning to pull within one. David Justice homered in the top of the ninth to give Cleveland a 9-7 lead. After Ron Coomer drove in Matt Lawton to pull back to within one, Midre Cummings hit a two-out walk-off home run for a 10-9 Twins win.
Lawton went 3-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored, raising his season average to .365. Cleveland’s Jim Thome went 3-for-4 with a home run and double.
From a May 11 CBSNews.com article:
“This team, we don’t beat you with the long ball. And me? I never hit homers,” Cummings said after his game-winning home run . . . “That’s the first time in my life I hit a game-winning homer,” Cummings said. “We had a fast guy on first and I was just trying to hit the ball into the gap. And I never thought I’d hit out the opposite way.” . . . [Steve] Karsay said the outside fastball was exactly where he wanted it. “If I was going to get beat, it would be to the opposite field,” he said.
Birthdate of Frank Quilici
Twins all-time great Frank Quilici was born in Chicago on this date in 1939. He came up with the Twins in 1965. That fall he tied a World Series record with two hits in one inning, coming off Don Drysdale in the third inning of Game 1, which the Twins won 8-3.
Altogether Quilici appeared in 405 games with the Twins between 1965 and 1967–1970. He made his final major league appearance as a defensive replacement in Game 3 of the 1970 ALCS. He remained with the team as a coach, however, and in July 1972 replaced Bill Rigney as manager, a position he held until being succeeded by Gene Mauch following the 1975 season.
Quilici received the 2013 “Kirby Puckett Award,” honoring community service by Twins alumni. It was a great pleasure to hear Quilici speak at the fall Halsey Hall SABR meeting on October 29, 2016.
May 11, 1967
Chance Pitches One-Hitter
Dean Chance pitches a one-hit shutout versus the Kansas City Athletics at home in Bloomington, striking out eight while walking six in an 8-0 win.
Chance got his no-hitter on August 25 of that season.
21-year-old Catfish Hunter, already in his third season, started for the Athletics, giving up eight runs on seven hits and six walks in just five innings. He pitched a perfect game against the Twins 363 days later.
Happy Birthday, Kerry Ligtenberg
It’s the birthday of 1989 Park High School (Cottage Grove, MN), and 2000 University of Minnesota graduate Kerry Ligtenberg, born in Rapid City, SD in 1971.
After pitching for the independent Minneapolis Loons, Ligtenberg signed with Atlanta on the recommendation of Loons manager and former Atlanta All-Star catcher Greg Olson. (Fun Fact: Ligtenberg was teammates on the Loons with old-timer Juan Berenguer).
Ligtenberg made 386 relief appearances over eight seasons (1997-2005) with Atlanta, the Orioles, Blue Jays, and Diamondbacks.
His Wikipedia entry is brief and fascinating.
May 11, 1982
Twins Acquire Brunansky
The Twins trade Doug Corbett and Rob Wilfong to the Angels for Tom Brunansky, pitcher Mike Walters, and $400,000 cash.
Read my blog post about Doug Corbett ⇨ TwinsAlmanac.com/DougCorbett
Brunansky, a southern California native, was drafted by the Angels in the first round out of high school in 1978. He had played 11 games with the Angels in 1981, and was at triple-A Spokane at the time of the trade.
Brunansky was, of course, an integral part of the Twins’ 1987 championship season, when he hit 32 home runs, drove in 85 runs, and scored 83. He played for the Twins until an ill-advised April ‘88 trade to St. Louis for clubhouse cancer Tommy frickin’ Herr.
Brunansky’s 163 home runs in a Twins uniform are ninth-most in team history. He hit a total of 271 home runs over his 14-year major league career. Bruno served as the Twins’ hitting coach from 2013 to 2016.
May 11, 1991
Gladden Triples in Third Straight Game
Dan Gladden triples in his third-straight game as the Twins beat the Tigers 5-4 at the Metrodome. Four Twins have tripled in three-straight games: Rod Carew (June 15–17, 1977), Gladden, Delmon Young (May 18–20, 2008), and Eddie Rosario (July 28–30, 2015). See the list from Baseball Reference’s Play Index.
May 12, 1961
Pitchers Homer Off Each Other
Tied 2-2 in the top of the fifth, Angels pitcher Eli Grba hits a solo home run to give his team a 3-2 lead. Twins pitcher Pedro Ramos homers in the bottom of the inning to tie it back up. Ramos added a two-run single in the sixth, and the Twins held on to win 5-4, with the pitcher driving in the Twins’ final three runs.
May 12, 1972
Longest Loss in Twins History
The Twins and Brewers are tied 3-3 after 21 innings in Bloomington when the game is postponed due to the American League’s curfew. The game was resumed the next morning, with the Brewers scoring in the top of the 22nd off Bert Blyleven, making one of seven career relief appearances. The Twins loaded the bases against Brewers pitcher Jim Lonborg in the bottom of the inning, but the Brewers held on to win 4-3.
Rod Carew went 5-for-7 with two doubles and three walks in the game.
Blyleven and Lonborg started the regularly scheduled game later that day, with Blyleven going nine innings. This game, too, required extra innings. The Brewers took a 4-3 lead on a solo home run in the top of the 15th, but with Jim Nettles aboard in the bottom of the inning, Eric Soderholm hit a two-out, walk-off home run for a 5-4 Twins win.
Soderholm’s home run was apparently the most-clutch swing in Twins history in terms of Win Probability Added, which I don’t claim to understand. According to BaseballReference.com, the Twins’ probability of winning went from 8% to 100% on Soderholm’s swing, for a probability added of 92%.
Carew went 3-for-6 with a walk in the second game, for a total of 12 times on base between the two games.
The Twins and Brewers played a combined 37 innings over the two games.
May 12, 1982
Wynegar Traded to Yankees
Just one day after trading two bonafide big leaguers for a minor league pitcher and the unproven Tom Brunansky, the Twins trade pitcher Roger Erickson and standout catcher Butch Wynegar to the Yankees for not a whole lot.
Wynegar was an All-Star in his first two seasons and finished second to Detroit’s Mark Fidrych in 1976 AL Rookie of the Year balloting.
Despite the Brunansky deal working out very well in retrospect, both trades were seen at the time as cheap, cost-cutting measures by Twins ownership.
May 12, 2002
Robb Quinlan Goes 5-for-5
1995 Hill-Murray graduate, three-time Golden Gophers MVP, and 1999 tenth-round Angels draft pick Robb Quinlan goes 5-for-5 with two home runs and eight RBI for Triple-A Salt Lake versus Edmonton.
Quinlan went on to hit .333 with 31 doubles, 13 triples, 20 home runs, and a league-leading 112 RBI en route to being named the Angels’ Minor League Player of the Year. The major league team, meanwhile, won the 2002 World Series. Quinlan made his major league debut on July 25, 2003.
May 13, 1985
Twins Blow 8-0 Lead
The Twins jumped out to a 8-0 lead after two innings at Yankee Stadium, with Randy Bush capping the scoring with a three-run homer off former Twin and current White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper.
Former Twin Butch Wynegar made it 8-6 in the sixth with a three-run homer, driving in future Twins Dave Winfield and Don Baylor.
With runners on second and third in the seventh, the Twins brought in closer Ron Davis, who struck out Winfield to escape the jam. Davis pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, but after issuing two walks in the ninth, gave up a two-out three-run homer to Don Mattingly for a 9-8 Yankees win.
May 13, 1989
Puckett Hits Four Doubles
Kirby Puckett goes 4-for-5 with a team record four doubles—two each off seven-time All-Star Dave Stieb and 1987 AL saves leader Tom Henke.
Puckett drove in three runs and scored one in the 10-8 Twins win at home in the Dome.
Down 9-7 to Detroit in the bottom of the eighth and Mike Redmond on first, Jason Kubel—pinch-hitting for Carlos Gomez—hits a game-tying home run. The game was still tied in the 13th when Curtis Granderson tripled off Jesse Crain, and scored the go-ahead run on a two-out balk.
Kubel singled leading off the bottom of the inning. Pinch-runner Nick Punto was sacrificed up to second by Denard Span, and driven in by Matt Tolbert to tie the game. After Tolbert moved up to second on a Joe Mauer groundout, the Tigers intentionally walked Justin Morneau. Michael Cuddyer then worked a walk, moving the winning run up to third. The extra 90 feet was unnecessary, however, as third baseman Joe Crede hit the 1-2 pitch out of the park for a two-out, walk-off grand slam.
May 14, 1968
Three-HR First vs. Catfish
After Jim Merritt retired Oakland’s Bert Campaneris, Reggie Jackson, and Sal Bando in order to start the game, Rod Carew homered off Catfish Hunter leading off the bottom of the first. Hunter then walked César Tovar before giving up a home run to Tony Oliva. After walking Harmon Killebrew, Hunter got Bob Allison to pop up for the first out before giving up his third home run of the inning to Rich Rollins, giving the Twins a 5-0 lead. The Athletics battled back, however, scoring in each on the next three innings, including a big six-run fourth inning, and ultimately winning 13-8, with Hunter improving to 4-2 on the season.
May 14, 1998
Eisenreich Part of Blockbuster Trade
In a historic trade that the L.A. Times called “one of baseball’s biggest,” the Dodgers send Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile to the Marlins for Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla, Charles Johnson, 1977 St. Cloud Tech graduate Jim Eisenreich, and minor leaguer Manuel Barrios.
May 15, 1960
Moryn Secures Cardwell’s No-Hitter
1944 St. Paul Harding graduate Walt Moryn makes a dramatic shoestring catch in left for the final out of Cubs pitcher Don Cardwell’s no-hitter.
May 15, 1969
Tovar Breaks Up No-Hitter
César Tovar breaks up Orioles pitcher Dave McNally’s no-hitter in the bottom of the ninth with a one-out single. McNally then induced a ground ball double play from Rod Carew to complete the one-hit shutout.
This was the first of two no-hitters that Tovar broke up in the ninth inning that season. He had his team’s only hit five times in his career (four times in a Twins uniform), tied with Eddie Milner for the major league record.
Happy Birthday, Justin Morneau
It’s the birthday of 2006 AL MVP Justin Morneau, born in New Westminster, British Columbia in 1981. The Twins drafted the 6’4” Canadian in the third round in 1999, behind B.J. Garbe and Rob Bowen, neither of whom made it to the majors.
Morneau hit cleanup in his MLB debut on June 10, 2003, hitting a two-strike line-drive single to center in his first at-bat, and going 2-for-4 on the day. He hit 19 home runs in just 74 major league games and another 22 with Rochester that season.
In 2006, just his second full season in the majors, Morneau hit .321 with 34 HRs en route to being voted the American League’s Most Valuable Player. His 130 RBI in 2006 and 129 in 2008 are the second and third-best single-season totals in Twins history (Harmon Killebrew drove in 140 in 1969). His four 100-plus RBI seasons are second-most in team history (Killebrew had eight such seasons, and Kirby Puckett had three). Morneau set a Twins record with 47 doubles in 2008.
He was hitting .345 midway through 2010 when he suffered a season-ending concussion sliding into second. Though Twins fans saw glimpses over the next three seasons, Morneau never fully returned to All-Star form before being traded to the pennant-chasing Pirates in August 2013. His 221 home runs in a Twins uniform are fourth-most in franchise history.
He won the National League batting title in 2014, hitting .319 for the Colorado Rockies (Michael Cuddyer won the NL batting title the year before, hitting .331 with the Rockies).
Morneau played his 14th and final major league season with the White Sox in 2016.
May 15, 1991
Molitor Hits for Cycle at Dome
1974 Cretin grad and Golden Gophers all-time great Paul Molitor triples on Kevin Tapani‘s first pitch of the game, and scores on a Jim Gantner groundout for a quick 1-0 Brewers lead. Molitor singled in the third, doubled in the fifth, and, leading off the seventh, homered off Tapani to complete the cycle. Reliever Steve Bedrosian finally retired Molitor in the ninth. The Twins lost the ballgame 4-2, but they did manage to salvage the season.
May 16, 1983
Four-Home Run Ninth
Down 7-0 to the A’s in the bottom of the ninth, Dave Engle, Bobby Mitchell, Gary Gaetti, and Mickey Hatcher all homer, but the rally comes up one run short. 1961 St. Cloud Cathedral grad Tom Burgmeier gave up the fourth home run of the inning while earning the save.
May 16, 2010
Kubel Hits Grand Slam Off Rivera
The Twins had not beaten the Yankees since August 13, 2008. They had been swept by the Yankees in the 2009 regular season and playoffs. Now, trailing 3-1 in the top of the eighth of the third game of a series at Yankee Stadium, the Twins loaded the bases against Joba Chamberlain. With two out, manager Joe Girardi brought in Mariano Rivera to face Jim Thome. Rivera had converted his last 51 home save opportunities, tying the Dodgers’ Eric Gagne’s all-time record. Rivera walked Thome, forcing in Orlando Hudson to make it 3-2. Next up was Jason Kubel, who drove Rivera’s 1-0 pitch into the right field seats for a grand slam. The Twins went on to an improbable 6-3 victory, with Jon Rauch earning his 10th save of the season.
May 16, 2017
Sixteenth Straight Game with Home Run
Byron Buxton homers, giving the Twins a home run in 16 straight games, tying the team record established in 1979. Jorge Polanco extended the streak to 15.
May 17, 1963
Allison Has First 3-HR Game in Twins History
Bob Allison has the first three-home run game in Twins history, going 3-for-5 with six RBI in an 11-4 win in Cleveland. The performance raised his season average to .330. Allison had a career year in 1963, making his second of three All-Star teams, and finishing the season with a .271 AVG, 35 HRs, and 91 RBI.
Harmon Killebrew and Zoilo Versalles also homered in the game. Pitcher Jim Perry, who had played for Cleveland the previous season, went 2-for-3 with a walk, and scored on Allison’s first home run.
May 17, 1975
Aaron Brings Hammer to Bloomington
Milwaukee Brewers designated hitter Hank Aaron hits the 738th of his 755 career home runs off Ray Corbin in the fifth inning of a Saturday afternoon game in Bloomington. The two-run homer extended the Brewers lead to 6-2. Aaron had hit an RBI double in the third inning, knocking starter Vic Albury out of the game. The Twins trailed 7-6 in the eighth when Rod Carew hit a two-out, two-run double to take a 8-7 lead. Tom Kelly entered as a defensive replacement at first in the top of the ninth as the Twins nailed down the win.
May 17, 1980
Morales Grounds Into Three Double Plays
Jose Morales grounds into three double plays, tying Elysian, MN native Terry Terrell‘s team record set in 1975.
May 17, 1998
Wells Pitches Perfect Game
50,000 fans, including Billy Crystal, came out to Yankee Stadium for Beanie Baby Day, and what turned out to be the fifteenth perfect game in major league history. David Wells threw 120 pitches, striking out 11 Twins. The last perfect game at Yankee Stadium was pitched by Don Larsen in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series. Larsen and Wells attended the same high school, Point Loma in San Diego. How’s that for a coincidence? But wait, there’s more! Don Larsen actually threw out the first pitch before baseball’s next perfect game, pitched by David Cone on Yogi Berra Day at Yankee Stadium in 1999. Berra had caught Larsen’s perfect game in the ’56 Series. Cone threw just 88 pitches in his perfect game.
May 18, 1969
Carew Steals Second, Third, and Home
With the Billy Martin-managed Twins down 2-0 in Detroit, César Tovar singles off Mickey Lolich leading off the bottom of the third. Then, with Rod Carew at-bat, Tovar is balked to second and steals third. Perhaps distracted by Tovar, Lolich walks Carew. With Harmon Killebrew now at-bat, the Twins execute a double steal, with Carew swiping second as Tovar scores. Carew then steals third and home to tie the game. Killebrew ultimately struck out, and the Twins went on to lose the game 8-2. They would, however, go on to win the American League West pennant in both 1969 and ’70.
Forty players have stolen second, third, and home consecutively a total of 50 times in MLB history, 11 since 1940. The feet was accomplished four times in the ’80s, twice in the ’90s, once in the ’00s, and, most recently, by Dee Gordon in 2011. Paul Molitor pulled it off in the first inning against Oakland on July 26, 1987.
May 19, 1963
Hall Hits First Homer
Pinch-hitter Jimmie Hall hits his first major league home run off former Twin Pedro Ramos.
Hall hit 33 that season, breaking Ted Williams’ American League record for first-year players. Hall’s record stood for 51 years until 27-year-old White Sox rookie José Abreu hit 36 in 2014. (Other rookies—such as Mark McGwire and Aaron Judge—have hit more, but they had major league experience prior to their official “rookie” seasons, and thus were not “first-year” players).
May 19, 1982
Twins Begin Record Losing Streak
The Twins lose 4-2 in Baltimore, beginning a team record 14-game losing streak. They didn’t win again until June 4, falling to 12-41. They lost eight games on the road and six at the Dome, and were outscored 88-33, including three shutouts.
They scored no more than two runs in each of the first eight games, followed by five games in which they scored at least four. Ron Davis and Brad Havens picked up three losses each. The Yankees’ Goose Gossage, on the other hand, earned two saves and two wins against the Twins during the streak.
May 19, 1990
Brunansky’s Big Day
Playing for the Boston Red Sox, former Twins right fielder Tom Brunansky goes 5-for-5 with two home runs, seven RBI, an three runs scored in a 13-1 pummeling of the Twins.
Bruno got the scoring started in the first, doubling home Wade Boggs. Boston scored five runs on five hits off starter Allan Anderson, who only lasted ⅔ of an inning.
Tom Kelly called upon outfielder John Moses to pitch the bottom of the eighth. He gave up just one run on two hits in his second pitching appearance for the Twins. His previous appearance had also come at Fenway in 1989, as he pitched a scoreless eighth, not allowing a hit but walking one. He would pitch a third time for the Twins in July 1990.
May 19, 2004
LeCroy Hits Game-Winning Pinch-Hit Grand Slam
Trailing 5-2 in the ninth in Toronto with Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer, and Henry Blanco on with one out, the Twins send Matt LeCroy out to pinch-hit for third baseman Alex Prieto. LeCroy hits Terry Adams’ 1-0 pitch out of the park, giving the Twins a one-run lead. Joe Nathan put the Blue Jays down in order in the bottom of the ninth, earning his 13th save of the season.
LeCroy’s is the most recent of twelve pinch-hit grand slams in Twins history. Rich Reese hit three pinch-hit grand slams during his Twins career. The Twins as a team hit two in 1970, one each by Reese and Rick Renick.
May 20, 1879
Thielman Born in St. Cloud
Former major league pitcher Jake Thielman was born in St. Cloud on this date in 1879. He made 65 major league appearances (56 starts) over four seasons (1905–1908) with the St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Naps, and Boston Red Sox.
His brother Henry also pitched in the majors.
Read Jake’s SABR bio by Bill Nowlin: SABR.org/bioproj/person/a6f98d87
May 20, 1970
Carew Hits for First Cycle in Twins History
Rod Carew hits for the first cycle in Twins history in a 10-5 win in Kansas City. He completed the cycle with an eighth-inning triple, driving in César Tovar. Carew was 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored on the day. After Carew’s triple, 1961 St. Cloud Cathedral grad and future Twin Tom Burgmeier came in to finish the game for Kansas City.
Eleven Twins have hit for the cycle: Carew (1970), César Tovar (1972), Larry Hisle (1976), Lyman Bostock (1976), Mike Cubbage (1978), Gary Ward (1980), Kirby Puckett (1986), Carlos Gómez (2008), Jason Kubel (2009), Michael Cuddyer (2009), and Jorge Polanco (2019).
May 20, 1984
Clemens Gives Up First HR to Brunansky
Roger Clemens earns the first of his 354 career victories, allowing four runs on seven hits and a walk over seven innings in a 5-4 Red Sox win at the Metrodome. With two out in the bottom of the sixth, Tom Brunansky hit the first of 363 home runs Clemens would allow over his 24-year career.
May 20, 1986
Atherton Acquired from Oakland
The Twins traded a player to be named later and cash to Oakland for pitcher Keith Atherton. The player to be named wound up being minor league pitcher Eric Broersma, who never made it to the majors. Atherton, on the other hand, pitched in 62 games for the 1987 Twins, including Games 1 and 5 of the World Series.
See Atherton’s page on Baseball Reference: Baseball-Reference.com/players/a/ather…
May 20, 1989
Bush Ties Team Record with Eight RBI
Randy Bush drives in eight runs in a 19-3 win in Texas, tying Glenn Adams‘ team record established on June 26, 1977. Six of Bush’s eight RBI came in the final two innings, on three-run home runs in the eighth and ninth. He went 3-for-4 with a walk, eight RBI (one on a sac fly) and two runs scored altogether. Leadoff hitter Dan Gladden tied a major league record with seven plate appearances in the game, going 1-for-7 with an RBI and run scored.
Read my post about seven-plus RBI games in Twins history.
Two major leaguers have driven in 12 runs in a game, both playing for the St. Louis Cardinals. Hall of Fame first baseman Jim Bottomley did so versus the Dodgers at Ebbets Field in 1924. And, in 1993, Hard Hittin’ Mark Whiten drove in 12 of the Cardinals’ 15 runs with four home runs, including a first-inning grand slam, against the Cincinnati Reds.
Bonus Reds Trivia: Four National League teams have hit five home runs in an inning. The first time was in 1939, and the most recent in 2006. All four were against the Cincinnati Reds.
The Twins hit five home runs off the Kansas City Athletics in the seventh inning at Met Stadium on June 9, 1966.
May 20, 1994
Sixteen Twins Bat in 11-Run Inning
Already beating Boston 10-1 going into the bottom of the fifth, the Twins send a team record 16 men to the plate, tying team records for runs in an inning (11), hits (10), and consecutive hits (8). Alex Cole made the first and last out of the inning. Kirby Puckett homered in the inning, going 3-for-3 with seven RBI and a run scored overall. The Twins won 21-2, improving to 21-19 on the season. DH Dave Winfield was the only Twin without a hit in the game.
See the game log on Baseball Reference: Baseball-Reference.com/boxes/MIN…
Puckett‘s seven-RBI game was the ninth such performance in team history. See my blog post about 7+ RBI games in Twins history: TwinsAlmanac.com/Single-Game-RBI-Record
May 20, 1995
Cordova Homers in Fifth Consecutive Game
Marty Cordova homers in his fifth consecutive game, tying the team record, as Scott Erickson and the Twins fall to Lou Piniella’s Seattle Mariners 10-6 at the Metrodome. Cordova hit a career-high 24 home runs in 1995 en route to being voted the American League’s Rookie of the Year.
Harmon Killebrew homered in five consecutive games on two separate occasions during the Twins’ 1970 division championship season. Brian Dozier homered in five straight games from September 2 to September 6, 2016, including a three-home run game on September 5.
Twenty major leaguers have homered in at least six consecutive games. Barry Bonds is the only player with two such streaks, homering in six straight in 2001, and seven straight in 2004. Jim Thome homered in seven straight for Cleveland in 2002. The major league record for consecutive games with a home run is eight, by Pittsburgh’s Dale Long in 1956, Don Mattingly in 1987, and Ken Griffey Jr. in 1993.
*UPDATE* Nelson Cruz tied the record on July 26, 2019
May 20, 2005
Silva Throws 74-Pitch Complete Game
Carlos Silva needs just 74 pitches to beat the Brewers, allowing one run on five hits and no walks while striking out three in a 7-1 Twins win at home in the Dome. He needed an average of just 8.2 pitches per inning. Second baseman Nick Punto went 4-for-4 with an RBI and run scored. The Twins had 16 hits as a team. The only Twin without a hit was Torii Hunter, though he did drive in Punto with a sac fly.
Silva led the majors with 0.430 walks per nine innings in 2005.
Seventy-four is the fewest pitches in a complete-game win by a Twin since someone began officially tracking pitch counts sometime in the late-’80s. Unofficially, however, 1967 Rothsay grad Dave Goltz needed just 70 pitches to shutout the Rangers on October 1, 1974. I’m sure there were plenty other low-pitch complete-game wins in Twins history.
Silva tied the team record for baserunners allowed in a shutout with 14 on August 3, 2004. He gave up 11 hits in that game. The Twins record for hits allowed in a shutout is 13, by “Mudcat” Grant on July 15, 1964.
Read my post about high-hit shutouts in Twins history.
May 20, 2008
Young Ties Team Triple Streak Record
Left fielder Delmon Young triples in his third straight game, tying the team record. Carlos Gómez tripled on the first pitch of the 11-4 Dome win over Texas.
The other Twins to triple in three straight games are Rod Carew (1977), Dan Gladden (1991), and Eddie Rosario (2015). See the list on Baseball Reference: Baseball-Reference.com/Play-Index…
May 20, 2011
Twins Attend Killebrew’s Funeral
Putting a silver lining around an otherwise sad situation, the Twins were in town to play the Arizona Diamondbacks and able to attend the funeral of Harmon Killebrew, who had passed away three days earlier. Bert Blyleven spoke at the funeral, while Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Frank Quilici, Joe Nathan, Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau, Ron Gardenhire, and Paul Molitor served as pallbearers.
May 20, 2012
Butera Pitches Scoreless Inning
Trailing 16-4 in Milwaukee, Ron Gardenhire calls on Drew Butera to pitch the bottom of the eighth. Butera pitched a scoreless, hitless frame, walking one and striking out Carlos Gómez.
Butera threw several pitches in the 90s, topping out at 94 on the radar gun.
While playing with the Dodgers in 2014, Butera pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning versus the Miami Marlins. He pitched again for Los Angeles just three days later, this time giving up a two-run home to Paul Goldschmidt as he recorded the final two outs of the game.
He made two scoreless appearances with the Royals in 2016. He owns a very respectable career WHIP of 1.000.
Drew’s dad, fellow catcher Sal Butera, did not allow a hit in his two major league pitching appearances. He pitched a 1-2-3 inning in his big league pitching debut for Montreal in 1985. In 1986 he pitched a scoreless ninth for the Cincinnati Reds, walking one and striking out one.
Combined, the father-son duo have made seven major league pitching appearances, and only given up runs one occasion. Nice.
May 20, 2013
Thielbar Makes Major League Debut
26-year-old Randolph High School graduate and South Dakota State alumnus Caleb Thielbar makes his major league debut, coming in in the seventh inning of a 5-1 Twins loss in Atlanta.
He gave up a single to the first batter he faced—Andrelton Simmons—before retiring the next six straight, including three strikeouts.
Remarkably, Thielbar did not allow a run in his first 17 major league appearances. He pitched in 49 games altogether, finishing his rookie season with a 1.76 ERA and 0.826 WHIP.
May 21, 1910
Birthdate of Larry Rosenthal
Saint Agnes High School (St. Paul) alumnus Larry Rosenthal was born in St. Paul on this date in 1910. The outfielder played in 579 major league games over eight seasons with the White Sox, Cleveland, Yankees, and Philadelphia Athletics. In 1940, Rosenthal drew a walk once in every 5.4 plate appearances, or about 18% of the time.
One of my childhood heroes, 1978 Bloomington Kennedy graduate Kent Hrbek, was born on this date in 1960.
The Twins drafted Hrbie in the 17th round out of high school. Only Harmon Killebrew, Kirby Puckett, and Joe Mauer have played more games in a Twins uniform.
May 21, 1967
First 4-Extra-Base Hit Game in Twins History
César Tovar has the first four-extra-base hit game in Twins history a 12-3 road win over the Angels. Tovar—the Twins’ leadoff hitter—went 4-for-6 with two doubles and two home runs, raising his average to .323.
Tony Oliva went 3-for-4 with two doubles in the game. Oliva would lead the American League with 34 doubles that season, with Tovar coming in second at 32.
Kirby Puckett (1987 and ’89), Rich Becker (1996), Corey Koskie (2001) and Michael Cuddyer (2005) have since tied Tovar’s record of four extra-base hits in a single game. Eight players in major league history have hit five extra-base hits in a game.
May 21, 1981
Viola Wins Greatest College Game Ever
While at St. John’s, Frank Viola was involved in perhaps the greatest college baseball game ever played, pitching 11 shutout innings to earn the win at Yale in the first-round of the NCAA tournament on May 21, 1981. Yale’s Ron Darling had pitched 11 no-hit innings before St. John’s second baseman Steve Scafa led off the 12th with a bloop single. Scafa stole second and third, and, with runners on the corners, stole home on the back end of a double steal/rundown play. Reliever Eric Stampfl pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the twelfth to secure the St. John’s win.
The Twins drafted Viola in the second round less than three weeks later. The Twins’ first pick (11th overall) was Arizona State third baseman Mike Stodders. The ten players selected ahead of Stodders all made it to the majors. He did not. The Rangers selected Ron Darling ninth overall.
May 21, 2009
Twins Snap Losing Streak with Blowout Win
The Twins snap out of a six-game losing streak by blowing out the White Sox 20-1 in the series finale in Chicago. The Twins collected 20 hits and five walks in the game. Bartolo Colón took the loss, giving up eight runs on seven hits and two walks in just two innings of work. Michael Cuddyer went 4-for-6. Designated hitter Joe Mauer hit a grand slam in the Twins’ six-run sixth inning. It was already his eighth home run of the season. He went on to hit a career-best 28 that season en route to being voted the American League’s Most Valuable Player.
May 22, 2009
Cuddyer Hits for Cycle
The day after snapping a six-game losing streak with a 20-1 win in Chicago, the Twins return home to the Dome and beat the Brewers 11-3. Michael Cuddyer went 4-for-6 with three RBI, and four runs scored, finishing a triple shy of the cycle in the Chicago win, and did in fact hit for the 10th cycle in team history in the win over Milwaukee. He hit a three-run homer in the first, driving in the classic combo of Mauer & Morneau, and completed the cycle with an RBI triple to left in the sixth, driving in Morneau for the third time in the game. He grounded out in his final at-bat, making him 4-for-5 with five RBI and two runs scored on the day.
Cuddyer hit for the cycle again with the Colorado Rockies in 2014, making him one of just four players to cycle in both the AL and NL, joining John Reilly, Bob Watson, and John Olerud (who only hit 13 triples over his 17-year major league career, and only one triple in both 1997 and 2001 when he hit for his cycles). Cuddyer had won the National League Batting Championship a year earlier, and Rockies teammate Justin Morneau won it in 2014.
Cuddyer hitting for the cycle in both the AL and NL reminds me of former Twin Alex Ochoa, who is the only player to hit for the cycle in both the MLB and NPB (Japan). Ochoa hit for his MLB cycle with the Mets prior to coming to Minnesota in a trade for Rich Becker.
May 23, 1991
Puckett Has Second Six-Hit Game
Kirby Puckett collects six hits for the second time in his career, going 6-for-7 with five singles, a triple, and two runs scored in an eleven-inning loss to Texas at the Metrodome. His sixth hit, a single, came in the 11th inning.
The game was tied 5-5 entering the 11th when the Rangers scored five off Steve Bedrosian. Kent Hrbek drove in Shane Mack in the bottom of the inning, but the Rangers hung for 10-6 win.
There have only been two six-hit games in Twins history, both by Puckett— one in each of the Twins’ championship seasons of 1987 and 1991.
Puckett is one of only four players with two six-hit games in major league history, and the only one since 1935.
May 23, 2009
Swarzak Pitches Seven Scoreless in MLB Debut
Anthony Swarzak pitches seven scoreless innings in his major league debut versus the Brewers at the Metrodome. He gave up five hits and two walks, striking out three. He struck out Prince Fielder on three pitches in the first inning for his first major league strikeout.
Matt Guerrier and Jose Mijares gave up a run each in the eighth and ninth innings of the 6-2 Twins win.
Joe Mauer went 3-for-3 with a walk, two RBI, and three runs scored, hitting his ninth home run of the season.
Baseball Reference Game Log: www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/MIN…
May 24, 1963
Hall Hits Walk-Off Homer
After entering as a defensive replacement for Harmon Killebrew in the eighth inning, rookie Jimmie Hall hits a walk-off home run for an 8-6 win over the White Sox. Interesting to note that Killebrew already had an RBI single and grand slam in the game.
This was Hall’s second career home run. He went on to hit 33 on the season, breaking Ted Williams’ American League record for first-year players. Hall’s record stood for 51 years until 27-year-old White Sox rookie José Abreu hit 36 in 2014. (Note: Not all rookies are first-year players.)
The Twins actually led this game 6-3 heading into the ninth before Chicago shortstop Ron Hansen hit a game-tying three-run homer off 1954 Sebeka graduate Dick Stigman, who earned the complete-game win after Hall’s walk-off.
Jim Kaat and Kansas City’s Dick Drago duel for 11 scoreless innings before Rod Carew drives in Danny Thompson off Drago in the top of the 12th. Wayne Granger set the Royals down in order to preserve the 1-0 Twins win.
May 24, 1973
Blyleven Pitches One-Hit Shutout
Bert Blyleven pitches a one-hit shutout at Metropolitan Stadium as the Twins beat the Royals 2-0. George Mitterwald and Danny Thompson drove in the Twins’ two runs.
Blyleven pitched three one-hitters in his career—two in 1973 and another in 1974—but this was his only one-hit shutout.
Jim Kaat also pitched a one-hitter in 1973.
May 24, 2013
Mauer Breaks Up No-Hitter
The Twins extend their losing streak to 10 games with a 6-0 loss in Detroit. Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez was throwing a no-hitter until Joe Mauer broke it up with a one-out single in the ninth. It was the third time that Mauer had broken up a no-hitter in the ninth inning.
Cesar Tovar had his team’s only hit five times in his career, tied for the major league record. He had the only hit four times as a Twin, and one time playing for the Texas Rangers. He broke up two no-hitters in the ninth inning in 1969.
May 25, 1977
Bostock Ties MLB Record for Outfielder Putouts
Center fielder Lyman Bostock ties a major league record with 12 putouts in a 9-4 win in the second game of a doubleheader at Fenway (the Twins won the first game 13-5).
1967 Rothsay grad Dave Goltz was the winning pitcher in Game 1, with 1961 St. Cloud Cathedral grad Tom Burgmeier earning a 3 ⅔-innings save. 1969 St. Paul Murray grad Tom Johnson pitched the ninth inning of Game 2.
May 25, 1990
Twins Beat Red Sox 16-0
The Twins beat the Red Sox 16-0 at the Metrodome, all without hitting a home run. Kirby Puckett—the third batter of the game—hit a two-run triple. Kent Hrbek made it 3-0 with a long single to right. Puckett added an RBI double in the fourth, going 2-for-3 with a walk, three RBI, and three runs scored altogether.
It was the biggest shutout victory in team history until they beat the Royals 17-0 at Target Field on September 2, 2017.
The Red Sox had beaten the Twins 13-1 at Fenway just six days earlier (May 19, 1990), with Boston’s Tom Brunansky going 5-for-5 with two home runs, seven RBI, and three runs scored.
May 25, 1997
Puckett’s Number Retired
Culminating a three-day celebration of his career, the Twins retire Kirby Puckett‘s number 34 before a dramatic 7-6, 10-inning victory versus the Athletics. With a 6-4 lead in the ninth, Rick Aguilera blew his fourth save of the season. He held the A’s scoreless in the 10th, however, and picked up the win when Rich Becker delivered a two-out, walk-off single, driving in Matt Lawton (pinch-running for Terry Steinbach).
May 26, 1975
Kelly Hits Only MLB Home Run
In his tenth major league game, first baseman Tom Kelly hits his only major league home run off Vern Ruhle in a 6-2 Twins loss at Tiger Stadium.
Ruhle—who shares a 1975 Topps rookie card with 1971 Edina graduate Paul Siebert—makes another appearance in the annals of Twins history, giving up a home run to Dave McKay in his first major league at-bat on August 22, 1975.
May 26, 2004
Wards Become First Father-Son Duo to Hit for Cycle
Pirates first baseman Daryle Ward hits for the cycle in an 11-8 win in St. Louis. His dad, Gary, hit for the cycle in just his 14th major league game in a Twins loss in Milwaukee on September 18, 1980. The Wards are the only father-son duo to hit for the cycle in major league history.
May 26, 2011
Twins Pay Final Respects to Killebrew
On an off day, the Twins and about 4,000 fans pay their final respects to Harmon Killebrew with a beautiful memorial service at Target Field. In attendance was Commissioner Bud Selig, Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Rod Carew, Paul Molitor, and Bert Blyleven, as well as Tony Oliva and an All-Star lineup of Twins old and new.
May 27, 1961
First Five-Hit Game in Team History
Twins leadoff hitter Zoilo Versalles has the first five-hit game in Twins history, going 5-for-5 with two doubles and two runs scored at Griffith Stadium in Washington.
The Twins jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Harmon Killebrew drove in Versalles in the top of the first. Twins starter Ed Palmquist, however, gave up four runs while only recording one out before being relieved by Gophers legend Paul Giel. The new expansion Senators went on to win 14-4.
May 27, 2014
Hughes’ Sixth Straight Start Without Walk
Phil Hughes makes his sixth straight start of at least six innings without issuing a walk, the longest such streak in Twins history according to Baseball Reference‘s Play Index. The Twins won all six games, with Hughes earning the win in four.
He also had a five-game streak later in the season, tied with Brad Radke for the second-longest streak in team history.
Hughes finished the season with the same number of wins as walks (16), and the highest strikeout-to-walk ratio in major league history (186 strikeouts to 16 walks for a 11.63 ratio), besting Bret Saberhagen’s record set in 1994. Hughes had just 16 walks again in 2015.
May 28, 1972
Killebrew Hits 10th Grand Slam
Harmon Killebrew hits his Twins record 10th career grand slam in the bottom of the third, driving in César Tovar, Rod Carew, and Danny Thompson. (He also hit one with the Senators, for a total of 11)
Killebrew drove in Carew with an RBI double in the seventh, going 3-for-3 with a walk, five RBI, and one run scored altogether in the 7-2 win over Texas.
May 28, 1986
Five Twins Pitch in One Inning
The Twins set a team record for pitchers used in an inning with five in the top of the eighth versus the Blue Jays.
Gary Gaetti had tied the game at 6-6 in the bottom of the seventh. Toronto slugger George Bell, however, led off the eighth with a home run off Twins starter Bert Blyleven. After Blyleven gave up a single to the next batter, the Twins went to the bullpen. But the Blue Jays just kept hitting, scoring seven more off Keith Atherton, Juan Agosto, Ron Davis, and Roy Lee Jackson for an eight-run eighth inning. Tom Brunansky hit a two-run homer in the ninth, but Toronto held on to win 14-8.
May 28, 1994
Winfield Reaches Base Six Times
Dave Winfield reaches base six times, going 3-for-3 with three walks and four runs scored, including on Steve Dunn‘s two-out walk-off double in the tenth, giving the Twins a 10-9 win over the Tigers.
Right fielder Kirby Puckett went 3-for-5 with a walk, raising his season average to .356.
May 28, 2011
Combined Ten-Inning One-Hit Shutout
In his second start (fourth appearance) of the season, Anthony Swarzak holds the Angels hitless with two walks for 7 1/3 innings before giving up a one-out double to Peter Bourjos in the top of the eighth. Meanwhile, the Angels’ Jered Weaver pitched a two-hit shutout through nine innings.
Matt Capps and Alex Burnett held the Angels hitless in the ninth and tenth. In the bottom of the tenth, Justin Morneau hit a one-out single off Angels reliever Hisanori Takahashi. Jason Repko came in to pinch-run while Takahashi was relieved by Kevin Jepsen, who gave up singles to Michael Cuddyer and Delmon Young, loading the bases for Danny Valencia, who delivered a walk-off single to right.
Both teams had combined for just three total hits through nine innings.
Denard Span was picked off twice in the sixth inning. After reaching on an infield single, the Angels had Span picked off first, but he advanced to second on an error. Five pitches later, Weaver picked him off second for the third out.
May 29, 1982
Butera Catches Four Stealing
Sal Butera throws out a Twins record four would-be base stealers in the first three innings of a 6-4 loss to the Yankees at home in the Dome.
In the top of the first, Butera threw out Ken Griffey for an inning-ending strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play.
Twins starting pitcher Terry Felton, who retired with an 0-16 major league record, gave up singles to Bobby Murcer and former Twin Graig Nettles to start the second. When the Yankees’ Roy Smalley struck out with the runners moving, Butera’s throw to Gary Gaetti at third beat Murcer so badly that he retreated back toward second, which was occupied by Nettles, who backtracked toward first. Gaetti threw to Kent Hrbek at first who tagged out Nettles. Murcer then decided to try for third again, so Hrbek threw to the pitcher Felton, covering third, to complete the strike ’em out, throw ’em out triple play. Butera was credited with having caught both runners attempting to steal.
Then, with Griffey batting in the third, Butera threw out Willie Randolph attempting to steal second for the third out of the inning.
Rookie first baseman Kent Hrbek went 3-for-4, including his THIRD triple of the season.
All three Yankees pitchers that day went on to have brief careers with the Twins. Twenty-six year major leaguer Tommy John worked as a Twins broadcaster from 1994 to ’96, succeeding 25-year veteran Jim Kaat, and preceding 22-year veteran Bert Blyleven. George Frazier pitched for the 1987 team. And Shane Rawley, an ‘86 All-Star with the Phillies, pitched for the Twins in 1989. All three threw to former Twins catcher Butch Wynegar, who had been traded to the Yankees two weeks earlier.
May 30, 1980
Landreaux Hits in Twins Record 31 Straight Games
Tied 2-2 versus Baltimore in the bottom of the seventh, Ken Landreaux hits a one-out double to extend his hitting streak to 31 games. Landreaux was stranded on third and the Twins lost in 10 innings. Baltimore’s Scott McGregor held Landreaux hitless the following day, snapping his Twins-record hitting streak. McGregor won 20 games in 1980, and made his only All-Star team the following season.
The second-longest hitting streak in team history was 25 games by Brian Harper in 1990.
May 30, 1986
Smalley Homers From Both Sides
Roy Smalley becomes the first Twin to homer from both sides of the plate in the same game in a 13-5 win over the Red Sox at home in the Dome. He led off the third with a home run batting left handed, and hit a three-run home run from the right side in the seventh, driving in Greg Gagne and Kirby Puckett.
All nine Twins starters plus pinch-hitter Mickey Hatcher had at least one hit in the game.
Frank Viola gave up five runs on 10 hits in just 3 ⅔ innings, but Keith Atherton, acquired nine days earlier, pitched 5 ⅓ scoreless innings in relief.
Four Twins have homered from both sides of the plate in the same game since Smalley: Chili Davis (Oct 2, 1992), Ryan Doumit (July 22, 2012), Kennys Vargas (Aug 11, 2016), and Jorge Polanco (Aug 29, 2017).
Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher each homered from both sides a record fourteen times! Mickey Mantle did so ten times. Ken Caminiti holds the single-season record, homering from both sides four times during his 1996 MVP season. Three players have homered from both sides in the same inning: Carlos Baerga in 1993, Mark Bellhorn in 2002, and Kendrys Morales in 2012 (that’s twice as many as he hit during his 39-game Twins career).
May 31, 1976
Blyleven Gives Hecklers the Middle Finger
With contract negotiations at a standstill and trade rumors swirling, Bert Blyleven walked off the mound after the top of the ninth trailing the Angels 3-1. There were only 8,379 fans at Metropolitan Stadium that day, and some were giving the pitcher grief, singing “bye-bye Bertie.” Before he got to the dugout, Blyleven, visibly angry, looked to the stands and gave the hecklers the middle finger. The next day he was traded with Danny Thompson to the Texas Rangers for four players, including Roy Smalley.
As a long-time Blyleven fan, I always loved the symmetry between him giving the finger before his initial departure from the Twins and giving this finger in Game 7 1987: