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Twins Top Red Sox as Jim Roland Tosses Two-Hitter

May 29, 1964 - Fidgety Jim Roland (pictured) of the Twins pitched a two-hitter around eight no-hit innings to defeat the Boston Red Sox, 3-2, tonight at Metropolitan Stadium before 20,290 fans, the season’s largest crowd in Minnesota.

Between rubbing his chin on his right shoulder, wiping his brow, and licking his fingers, the 21-year-old left-handed pitcher had the Red Sox in a frenzy waiting for him to pitch.

The hard-throwing Roland gave up two runs and two hits to Boston in the second inning, featured by Dick Stuart’s two-run homer for an American League-leading 34 runs batted in. Lu Clinton singled to left with one out in the second for Boston’s last hit.

Other than that, the Red Sox were helpless against Roland, who struck out seven and walked two. Jim retired 23 of the last 25 men to face him, walking Ed Bressoud in the third and hitting Frank Malzone in the seventh.

Behind Roland’s hurling, the Twins won mainly through Harmon Killebrew’s league-leading 14th homer, a solo shot among three hits and two runs batted in. Since returning to the lineup May 14 to break a slump, Harmon has averaged .387 with 1- of his 14 homers and 22 of his 31 RBI’s.

Killebrew drove home the lead run with a single in the third inning to deal Red Sox ace Jack Lamabe his second setback in seven decisions.

Included in Minnesota’s nine-hit collection were three for torrid Tony Oliva. The sweet-swinging rookie collected a double, single, and league-leading fifth triple to raise his average to .390, best in the American League.

The victory moved the Twins into a virtual tie for third place with the New York Yankees, 2½ games behind the first-place White Sox in the AL standings. Baltimore sits in second, mere percentage points behind Chicago.

“If Jim Roland’s arm stays sound,” Minnesota catcher Earl Battey said, “he can become one of the great pitchers of baseball. And as for the present, you can’t ask a young pitcher to do more than he did tonight.”

A still-perspiring Roland said: “I think that 12 innings I pitched against the Yankees a couple weeks ago was a bigger thrill for me, personally, because winning a game in that place means so much to you. But I think for pure pitching this is the best I’ve done for the Twins.”

He then offered details on his night’s work: “I had to work Carl Yastrzemski on the outside. I mixed them up on Tony Conigliaro because we don’t know much about him. I threw breaking stuff to Frank Malzone, and after Dick Stuart hit me for that home run on a fastball right down the middle, I threw curveballs to him the rest of the night.”

Stuart ended the game by popping up on a curveball, and for this the Red Sox slugger reproved himself.

“I really should have knocked that pitch out of here,” he said. “I thought I had it measured. Roland showed us good stuff and poise. I wouldn’t call him exceptionally fast. But he moved the ball around pretty good.”

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