June 7: Detroit 6, Minnesota 1
Tommy Bridges made his third straight strong start for Detroit. He’s allowed just two earned runs in that stretch. A Ty Cobb error aided the Twins lone run, but it made little difference compared to the big hitting of the Tigers. Three different Detroiters took Camilo Pascual deep.
The number nine hitters, Joe Cronin and Alan Trammell, each led their team with three hits, including a triple for Cronin and a dinger for Trammell.
R H BB MN 000 000 100 - 1 7 2 DET 100 030 20x - 6 10 5 HR: C. Gehringer (3), N. Cash (6), A. Trammell (7) starters IP R ER HR BB SO C. Pascual 6.0 4 4 3 2 1 T. Bridges 6.2 1 0 0 1 1 MN 29-29, DET 24-34
June 8: Detroit 4, Minnesota 3
The Tigers hung on by their fingernails to pull this one out. They built up a 3-1 lead when Bert Blyleven temporarily lost his stuff in the fifth. Charles Gehringer, Ty Cobb, and Bobby Veach all had hits in the inning. The Twins came back to tie it in the seventh on the strength of singles by Cecil Travis and Stan Spence and a triple by Rod Carew (he converted). The Tigers answered that with a tying run in the eighth, and then the Twins were poised to at least tie the game back up in the top of the ninth.
Pinch-hitting Chuck Knoblauch led off the ninth with a walk against Doug Brocail, but was nailed trying to swipe second by Detroit catcher Bill Freehan. If the Twins had known how little control Brocail had this particular day, they no doubt would have had Knoblauch stay put at first. Carew followed the caught-stealing with a walk, Spence grounded into a fielder’s choice for the second out, and Brocail walked Tony Oliva and Mickey Vernon to load the bases. Four walks in the inning, but zero runs. Brocail was lifted, and in came Mike Henneman to face Goose Goslin with two outs and the bases juiced. Goslin lifted a lazy fly ball to right to end the game.
R H BB MN 000 100 200 - 3 9 8 DET 000 030 01x - 4 10 5 HR: none starters IP R ER HR BB SO B. Blyleven 7.0 4 4 0 4 1 B. Donovan 6.2 3 3 0 2 0 MN 29-30, DET 25-34
June 9: Minnesota 6, Detroit 5 (14 innings)
The teams played another back-and-forth nail-biter, this time with five bonus innings, to close the series. The Tigers took a 4-1 lead into the eighth inning, the sweep within their grasp, but their defense let them down again. Bobby Veach replaced Sam Crawford as Detroit’s starting left fielder earlier in the season because of Crawford’s inept fielding, and Veach has been an improvement, but he made a killer error in this one.
Tigers starter George Uhle allowed just one run the first seven innings, but was pulled after the first two Twins reached base and scored one run in the eighth. In came Jon Hiller, who got his first two men out without yielding a run. Then Cecil Travis singled to put runners on the corners, two outs, Detroit leading 4-2. Twins catcher Earl Battey lifted one to left field that bounced off the heel of Veach’s glove and rolled away from him as the tying runs scored for Minnesota. Next batter Joe Cronin twisted the knife deeper by knocking in the go-ahead run.
Detroit fought back to tie it in the bottom of the ninth on a Gehringer walk, Norm Cash HBP, and Ty Cobb single. Then the bullpens got stingy for four full innings. Tony Oliva started the winning rally in the top of the 14th with a single against Al Benton, Mickey Vernon singled Oliva to third, and Sam Rice hit into an RBI ground-out to finally score the winning run. Minnesota reliever Firpo Marberry continued his amazing season by finishing the game with 2.1 scoreless innings to drop his ERA to 1.29 in 42 innings of work (despite a 4.44 FIP). By runs saved above average* Marberry has been the fourth most valuable pitcher in the league, including starters.
*((league avg. ERA – player’s ERA)/9)*IP
R H BB MN 000 100 040 000 01 - 6 16 3 DET 200 101 001 000 00 - 5 11 7 HR: none starters IP R ER HR BB SO J. Shaw 7.2 4 4 0 5 0 G. Uhle 7.0 3 2 0 1 0 MN 30-30, DET 25-35