A Great Day Pitching…and a Not So Great Day Pitching

Saturday, September 11, 1999

In one of those famous 11 AM Saturday games at the Metrodome (due to Gopher football that night), Eric Milton turns in what is likely the greatest single-game pitching performance in Twins history, and possibly in franchise history. In the game against the Angels, Milton pitched the sixth no-hitter in the history of the Washington/Minnesota franchise. He struck out 13 and allowed two walks in the Twins’ 7-0 win over the Angels.

Interesting bit of trivia, future Twin Ramon Ortiz was the opposing pitcher. Ortiz didn’t last past the fifth inning and allowed six earned runs to the Twins, including a home run hit by Denny Hocking.

Sunday, September 11, 1949

50 years to the day before Milton’s gem, the franchise may have had its worst day in terms of pitching performances. In the first game of a double header against the league leading Yankees, Washington pitchers allowed 17 bases on balls to the powerful Yankee lineup. 11 of those free passes came in a single inning, the nightmarish third frame in which the Yankees sent 18 to the plate against four different Nat pitchers. The result was a 12-run third inning, part of the Yankees 20-5 destruction of the Senators.

The 11 walks in the third was a major league record. Because of the length of game one (particularly the third inning, which took more than 50 minutes to complete according to the New York Times), game two had to be called on account of darkness in the middle of the sixth inning with the Yankees leading 2-1. Washington starter Sid Hudson allowed just two walks in five innings pitched, bringing the day’s total to 19 walks in 13 innings.

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6 Responses to A Great Day Pitching…and a Not So Great Day Pitching

  1. Beau says:

    best pitching performance? The game had no meaning in the standings or pressure attached to it, and the Angels had a lot of AAA players in the game. Top 10 sure, maybe even Top5. But best?

    Jack Morris in game 7?
    Santana strikes out 17?
    Schrom’s one-hitter against the playoff bound Royals?
    Liriano’s July 2nd performance against the Brewers?
    Joe Mays Game 1 performance against the Angels in 2002?

  2. Scot says:

    There are plenty of games where Twins pitchers have been matched up against AAA lineups and have not pitched a no-hitter with 13 strikeouts. Milton was dominant that day unlike any Twins pitcher has been in any other game.

    A couple of those on your list certainly were more important (particularly Morris) and I won’t argue that they may even be more memorable (I was at Santana’s 17K game and the Mays playoff game you listed). Still, until someone completes a perfect game in a Twins’ uniform, I will call Milton’s performance the “best” – a very different argument from “most important” (at least in my mind).

  3. Beau says:

    That’s kind of like saying that an E.R.A. of 1.80 is better than an E.R.A. of 2.00. While the result is better, that doesn’t mean the first pitcher is necessarily better. His WHIP could be higher. His defense may have played better behind him. He may have faced easier lineups.

    Also, sometimes a three-hitter (filled with three bloop or infield singles) is equally impressive to a no-hitter where line drives were being caught left and right. Granted, I never saw Milton’s game, so maybe he would have shut out the 1991 Braves that day as well.

    But, yes, statistically, he has had the best game in Twins history.

  4. Scot says:

    You are right, since I wasn’t there and have only seen highlights I can’t really account for all of the variables you list (I also have that pesky problem of not seeing every other Twins game in history to compare it to) – all I have is statistics and the outcome to judge.

    Morris’ Game 7 still ranks as my favorite, though.

  5. Beau says:

    You haven’t seen every Twins game ever? What kind of historian are you? You don’t even use legos.

  6. Scot says:

    Well, I do use legos, just not in my research. (I have recently been reintroduced to the very large legos – though I prefer the space legos).

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