The Twins and tie games

Who says that there no tie games in baseball? In major league baseball, games end with tie scores only in rare cases when conditions make it impossible to continue play. A tie game does not count as a game in the standings – a 2008 rule change made all tie games suspended unless and until not needed for the sake of determining playoff teams, and no longer replayed; however, though undecided, and not factored in the championship standings and the playoff reckoning, a tie game goes on the record and player and team statistics from the game are counted. Inclement weather may also shorten games, but at least five innings must be played for the game to be considered official; four-and-a-half innings are enough if the home team is ahead. Previously, curfews and the absence of adequate lighting caused more ties and shortened games – now, games interrupted from ending in such circumstances are, at least initially, suspended. Also, with more modern playing surfaces better able to handle light rains, the process for calling or shortening a game due to weather has changed; it is more common than in the past to delay a game as much as two hours before a cancellation; also, a delay usually does not occur anymore until the rain is moderate-heavy and/or there is standing water on some part of the playing field.

Since the Minnesota Twins came into existence in 1961 they have played 8 games that have ended in a tie but none since their last tie game in 1999.

10/3/1999 – The Twins ended their miserable 1999 season (63-97) against the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park II with a 1-1 tie game. The game was called due to rain, wind and cold in the middle of the seventh inning after the Twins scored in the top of the seventh after two were out when Doug Mientkiewicz singled and Torii Hunter doubled him home. Previous to the Twins scoring in the top of the seventh, the game had been scoreless since the bottom of the first when the White Sox scored their lone run. The game went on the books as a tie game. Box Score

4/29/1981 – On a 61 degree day albeit cloudy, windy with intermittent rain, 2,171 fans are in the stands to watch the Twins take on the Seattle Mariners at Met Stadium. Going into the bottom of the eighth inning with Mariner reliever Dick Drago on the mound the Twins find themselves trailing 7-4. Outfielder Gary Ward leads off with a single, 2B Pete Mackanin also singles and the Twins have runners on first and second. “Papa” Jackson who is playing 1B grounds out for the first out of the inning but at least moves the runners along. Twins manager Johnny Goryl decided to have Danny Goodwin pinch-hit for catcher Sal Butera and Goodwin delivers with a double to left scoring both runners. Dave Engle is the next batter and he hits a ball off the LF fence scoring Goodwin and tries to stretch it in to an inside-the park home run but is thrown out at the plate and after 8 innings the game is tied up at 7-7. At this point with one out in the inning the umpires delay the game due to rain but the game is never resumed and goes into the books as a tie game. Box Score.

4/11/1974 – Just four games into the 1974 season the winless Chicago White Sox are at Met Stadium to take on the Twins in the final game of a three game series but the game is called after 6 innings and ends in a 4-4 tie. Jim Kaat is again involved in a tie game but this time he is the White Sox starter and the Twins beat him up pretty good. After 6 innings the umpires call for a halt in play due to rain and 38 minutes later the game is called due to unplayable conditions. Box Score

7/25/1967 – The Twins and New York Yankees play to a 1-1 tie at Yankee Stadium I when the game is called after 9 innings due to rain. The only runs of the game are scored via the long ball when Harmon Killebrew gets ahold of one off Yankee starter Al Downing in the top of the first inning with two outs and Mickey Mantle hits one off of Jim Kaat with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. Kaat pitches a complete game giving up 9 hits but gets nothing for his effort. The Twins were on a 6 game losing streak going into this game and note the unusual batting order that Twins skipper Cal Ermer employed for this game. He had Bob Allison leading off, Tony Oliva hitting second, Harmon Killebrew hitting third, Rich Rollins hit fourth, Cesar Tovar hit in the five hole, Zoilo Versalles hit sixth, Rod Carew hit seventh, Earl Battey hit in the eight spot and Jim Kaat hit in the nine hole. The Twins played the Yankees in a double-header the next day and lost the first game 6-1 to stretch their losing streak to seven before beating the Bronx Bombers 3-2 in 18 innings in game two with Twins starter Jim Merritt going the first 13 innings giving up the two runs. Merritt faced 46 batters allowing 7 hits and striking out 7 so I wonder how many pitches he threw that day. By the way, the winning run in the top of the 18th inning was unearned. The game ended 4 hours and 24 minutes after it started. Box Score for the tie game. Box Score for the 3-2 18 inning affair.

6/21/1967 – The Twins were playing the Detroit Tigers at Tiger Stadium and jumped out to a quick 5-2 lead off Tiger pitcher Earl Wilson but the Tigers came back and by the end of the 7th inning the game was knotted at 5-5. Neither team scored in the 8th. In the top of the 9th inning 2B Rod Carew led off with a single and 1B Harmon Killebrew stepped to the plate having gone 2 for 3 with a walk and two home runs. Unfortunately, Carew tried to steal 2B and was thrown out by Tiger catcher Bill Freehan and at that point the game was halted for rain and never restarted. Box Score

6/22/1964 – The Twins have a 8-2 lead over the Cleveland Indians at Met Stadium after 4 innings but Camilo Pascual, Mudcat Grant, and Gerry Arrigo can’t hold the lead and the Indians tie the game at 8 apiece after 8 innings are in the books. The teams continue play and after 10 innings the game remains tied but then the rains come and force the game to be called. Box Score

8/22/1962 – The Twins and Washington Senators played to an 8-8 at Met Stadium when the game was suspended due to a local curfew regulation. The game was tied 5-5 after 8 innings but then both teams scored 2 in the 9th inning and again the score was tied. In the 10th inning both teams scored again but the game remained tied and after 3 hours and 51 minutes the umps had no choice but to suspend the game due to curfew. Box Score

9/5/1961 – The first tie game in Minnesota Twins history occurred at Met Stadium when the game against the Chicago White Sox was called after 9 innings with the score knotted at 3. Twins hurler Jack Kralick and White Sox pitcher Billy Pierce had dueled for 7 innings and each team had scored a run. The Mighty Whities scored one in the top of the 8th and the Twins came back with two of their own in the home half of the 8th on a single with two runners on base by Bill Tuttle. The White Sox led off the 9th inning with a long home run to left by Al Smith and the score was tied at 3-3. The Twins then retired the White Sox without any additional runs scoring but could not score in the bottom of the 9th. At that point, according to local Twins historian and official scorer Stew Thornley, the game was called due to a heavy fog. Box Score

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