July 22: Minnesota 7, Baltimore 0
Lest anyone was worried about Walter Johnson after he made his shortest outing of the year last time out, he got back to being Walter Johnson and shut out the strong Baltimore offense. All the Orioles not named Ken Singleton went 1-for-28 with zero walks. Singleton was scorching hot all series, and was perfect against Johnson with two walks, a single, and a double, but never could get around to score since his mates were all getting shut down.
Joe Cronin slapped two triples, and Mickey Vernon walked twice, singled, and homered.
R H BB MN 002 300 200 - 7 14 3 BAL 000 000 000 - 0 3 2 HR: M. Vernon (8) starters IP R ER HR BB SO W. Johnson 9.0 0 0 0 2 5 U. Shocker 6.2 7 4 1 3 1 MN 51-43, BAL 52-42
July 23: Baltimore 6, Minnesota 4
The Twins’ first five batters of the fourth inning all reached safely, which brought an end to starter Johnny Niggeling’s day and gave Minnesota a 4-1 lead. After Niggeling’s short day, a string of four Orioles relievers (Hoyt Wilhelm, Stu Miller, Darren O’Day, and Zach Britton) were aces and kept the Twins off the scoreboard the rest of the way.
The Orioles drilled solo homers against Bert Blyleven in the third, fourth, and fifth to get within a run of Minnesota. Eddie Guardado, the Twins shutdown southpaw reliever, was on in the sixth and did not have his good stuff. Ken Williams made it four straight innings with a home run for Baltimore, but this time it was a three run jobbie to give Baltimore the winning runs.
R H BB MN 000 400 000 - 4 8 5 BAL 001 113 00x - 6 11 5 HR: K. Singleton (8), F. Robinson (19), K. Williams (7), C. Ripken (7) starters IP R ER HR BB SO B. Blyleven 5.1 3 3 3 2 4 J. Niggeling 3.0 4 3 0 3 2 MN 51-44, BAL 53-42
July 24: Minnesota 7, Baltimore 5
Minnesota’s Dutch Leonard got another start in what had been Jim Shaw’s spot in the rotation most of the year and it was rough going for Leonard this time out. The Orioles jumped him for five quick runs and Leonard was out after recording only six outs. Frank Robinson drove in four of the five against Leonard on two home runs.
Shaw himself came on in long relief and, wouldn’t you know it, was aces. Sort of. He somehow didn’t allow any runs in six innings of work, despite placing birds on bases with abandon. Shaw stranded 11 Orioles in his six innings, including leaving the bases loaded in three frames.
Jim Palmer was dandy for eight innings and handed over a 5-3 lead to Darren O’Day in the top of the ninth, but O’Day ran into a bunch of Minnesota hits and coughed up the lead. Mickey Vernon, Kirby Puckett, Joe Cronin, Joe Mauer, and Cecil Travis all roughed up O’Day with base hits and all of a sudden the Twins had won the series. Kirby Puckett had a big day with three doubles.
It wasn’t a good series for Baltimore, but it certainly wasn’t Ken Williams’ fault. He reached safely 11 times in 14 plate appearances, including two doubles a dinger. He rocketed up the leader boards to second in wOBA and runs created.
R H BB MN 011 000 104 - 7 11 0 BAL 212 000 000 - 5 13 6 HR: G. Goslin (2), F. Robinson-2 (21) starters IP R ER HR BB SO D. Leonard 2.0 5 5 2 0 0 J. Palmer 8.0 3 3 1 0 3 MN 52-44, BAL 53-43