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Twins Hit Four Consecutive Homers, Top A’s, 7-3

May 2, 1964 - The volcanic Minnesota Twins erupted spectacularly tonight with a record-equaling four successive home runs in the 11th inning to clout the Athletics, 7-3, before 8,159 fans at Kansas City’s Municipal Stadium.

Hot-hitting rookie Tony Oliva (pictured) broke a 3-3 deadlock with his second homer of the game and fourth of the season to open the Twins’ 11th off pitcher Dan Pfister.

Then Bob Allison hit his fourth homer of the year, over the left-field fence, and Jimmie Hall smashed his third, over the right-field fence.

Harmon Killebrew followed with his second of the game and fourth round-tripper of the season, over the left-field fence, against reliever Vern Handrahan.

This explosion tied the major league record of four successive home runs shared by Cleveland (July 31, 1963, against Los Angeles) and Milwaukee (June 28, 1961, against Cincinnati).

“To heck with the home run records,” said manager Sam Mele of the Twins. “I’ll settle for the victory and more consistent hitting over the season.”

At any rate, the second-place Twins stayed within hailing distance of first-place Cleveland in the American League standings by winning their fourth extra-inning game without a loss.

The winning pitcher was young Gerry Arrigo, who worked the last two innings behind starter Lee Stange, three Bills: Dailey, Fischer, and Pleis. They combined to limit Kansas City to eight hits.

Afterward, a reporter asked A’s manager Eddie Lopat, “What’s the proper way to pitch Tony Oliva?”

“Don’t ask me,” Lopat said. “We haven’t’ gotten him out yet this series.” Actually, Tony is six-for-nine in two games against the A’s in Kanas City.

“He’s in a hot streak right now,” Lopat continued. “Give him a little time until the league finds out about him. If I could pitch against him three or four times, I could tell you in a hurry. Most clubs are trying to pitch him tight with fastballs, so we let him hit two breaking pitches over the fence tonight.”

Oliva was thrilled by his first two-homer game in the majors. “But I hit two five or six times in the minors,” he said. “They pitched me everything. I look for everything at the bat and just swing at the pitch. I don’t try to hit home runs.”

A pre-game conference between manager Sam Mele and American League home-run king Harmon Killebrew may have broken Harmon’s slump. Mele was about to bench the Killer, but he decided against it.

“Harmon told me he was down on himself because he wasn’t helping the club,” Sam explained. “I told him to relax and not worry. I told him I’d do the worrying.”

“I changed nothing — bat, stance, or swing,” said Killebrew. “I just kept swinging the bat, and I finally got some results.”

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