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Jimmie Hall the Hero in Twins’ Win over Indians

Apr. 28, 1964 - Jimmie Hall (pictured) was the Twins’ winning hitter today. He struck a ninth-inning home run for an 8-8 tie, then singled with the bases loaded in the 10th inning for Minnesota’s 9-8 decision over the Cleveland Indians.

The Twins blew a 7-2 lead after six innings, and fell behind 8-7 on John Romano’s two-out, two-strike homer in the ninth.

Minnesota’s decisive 10th started on pinch-hitter Len Green’s leadoff walk off losing pitcher Gary Bell. Rich Rollins’ sacrifice bunt moved Green to second. Dangerous rookie Tony Oliva was issued an intentional walk to set up a possible double play with Bob Allison coming up.

But Bell’s wild pitch advanced the runners, and the Indians purposely passed Allison for a force play at home.

With the Cleveland infield in to cut off the winning run at the plate, Hall rang Bell’s first pitch for a line drive single by the outstretched glove hand of a diving Woodie Held at second base into right field for the deciding run.

The Twins were outhomered 4-2 by the Indians, with Romano getting two, Leon Wagner hitting a three-run homer in the seventh, and Al Smith a two-run blast in the fourth.

After the game, Minnesota manager Sam Mele did not look or sound the part of a victorious manager.

“What are we trying to do,” Mele groaned, “set a record for one-run wins? We should have had it in a walk.”

The object of Sam’s impatience was the Twins’ pitching, specifically home-run balls served up by Jim Roland and Bill Dailey.

“Our pitching is just going to have to shape up,” Mele said. “The home run by Leon Wagner was a curveball on the inside — just where you don’t want to pitch to Wagner. And Dailey’s a sinker-ball pitcher. He got that ball up on John Romano, and he bangs it for a homer. And Bill had two strikes on the guy, room enough to work.”

Daily had a tale of sorrow of his own.

“I’m mad at myself for not being able to save the game for [Jim] Roland,” he said. “But you have to look at this way. A year ago, when I was going good, that pitch I threw to Romano might have been popped up. Today he tagged it. I think I’m pitching as well as I was a year ago. A ballplayer doesn’t like to use the word luck as an out, but it’s there for sure.”

For the record, though, the Twins did win — and are now tied with Cleveland for the top spot in the American League standings.

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