May 20, 1970
Municipal Stadium – Kansas City
The Twins were the defending AL West champions and, by May 20, had already vaulted back to the top of the division with a 24-10 start to the 1970 season. The star of the season so far was 24-year-old Rod Carew, who was batting .411/.436/.544 over the course of the team’s first 34 games.
In late May, the Twins found themselves wrapping up a five game road trip in which they had won every game. They swept a two game series in Milwaukee before heading to Kansas City, where they won the first two games from the Royals, and expansion team from a year earlier. The Royals were a typical second-year franchise, and had won just 13 of their first 36 games in 1970.
Minnesota Twins Kansas City Royals 1. C Tovar CF 1. P Kelly RF 2. R Carew 2B 2. M Fiore 1B 3. T Oliva RF 3. A Otis CF 4. H Killebrew 3B 4. B Oliver 3B 5. R Reese 1B 5. J Keough LF 6. J Holt LF 6. L Alcaraz 2B 7. L Cardenas SS 7. J Hernandez SS 8. P Ratliff C 8. E Rodriguez C 9. D Boswell P 9. B Johnson P
Carew singled in the first inning, but the Twins were unable to put any runs on the board despite another single and a walk in the same inning. The Royals actually struck first, when Amos Otis sent a Dave Boswell pitch over the left field wall for his fifth home run of the year. Carew matched Otis in the third when he hit a solo home run of his own to tie that game at one.
The Twins hit lead off doubles in the fourth (by Jim Holt) and fifth (by Rod Carew) innings, but were unable to score any runs. Carew was a triple away from the cycle, but the score remained 1-1.
Instead, the Royals scored twice in the bottom of fifth on a two run double by Mike Fiore, giving the Royals hope to salvage the final game of the series. The Twins quickly matched, however, on the strength of a Paul Ratliff two-run home run in the top of the sixth.
With the game tied at three, Boswell allowed another solo homer, this time to Joe Keough, in the bottom of the sixth. It would be Boswell’s last inning on the hill. He threw his last pitch with the Twins down by a run.
With two outs in the seventh inning, the Twins went ahead for good. Bob Johnson walked Rich Reese and allowed a single to Jim Holt to put two on for the Twins. Leo Cardenas launched the Twins’ third home run of the game, a three run shot, to put the Twins ahead, 6-4, and putting Boswell in line to earn his second win of the season.
Al Fitzmorris replaced Johnson on the hill for Kansas City, but had little luck in the eighth. After issuing a one-out walk to Cesar Tovar, Fitzmorris faced Rod Carew, still a triple shy of the cycle.
The Twins had not had a player hit for the cycle in their nine-year history. The last time a cycle had occurred in franchise history was in 1946, when Mickey Vernon did it with the old Washington club. Carew changed that, and became the first Twin to hit for the cycle when he launched a run-scoring triple off of Fitzmorris.
The Twins added three more runs, including a two-run home run for Rick Reese later in the inning, and ended up winning the game 10-5. The feat seemed to open the floodgates, as six Twins would do it over the next 11 seasons.
Stars of the Game
1. Rod Carew MIN 4-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, hit for the cycle
2. Jim Holt MIN 3-5, 2 R
3. Leo Cardenas MIN 1-4, 3-R HR
The Twins went on to win their second straight West Division title, but it was a bitter-sweet year for Carew. He did not play a single game for the Twins between June 22 and September 21 due to a knee injury. At the time of his injury, Carew was leading the AL in batting by 30 points.