The striking feats of the Red Sox were three in number:
1. Gary Geiger hit an inside-the-park grand-slam home run – possibly the first in 49 2/3 season annals of Fenway Park.
2. Pete Runnels – with able assistance from Don Buddin – singled into a double play.
3. Billy Muffett yielded two consecutive outfield singles with the bases loaded, but – on each single – permitted only one run.
But the game’s great thrill – the feat that will be remembered by a crowd of 20,558 – was that by Geiger.
It was the first vital blow in a pitching duel between Billy Monbouquette of the Red Sox and Camilo Pascual of the Twins.
Pascual opened the game by fanning the three Red Sox, making the next three ground out. Monbouquette meanwhile, over the first three innings, faced only 10 men.
But the Boston third long will be remembered.
Jensen led with a double to right. Buddin walked. Pascual pounced on Monbo’s bunt, threw out Jensen at third. Runnels walked and – with one away – the bases were loaded.
And now up stepped Geiger. He pulled Pascual’s 1-and-0 pitch to right, three yards inside the foul line. With right fielder Bob Allison racing to cut off the ball at the wall of the right field extension of the grandstand, the ball hit the wall, bounced by Allison, and – with Allison in frantic pursuit – caromed toward the Minnesota bullpen.
Meanwhile, four men in Red Sox uniforms were galloping around the base-lines. Three scored, and – as Geiger … flying … was four yards from third base – he lifted his eyes toward coach Billy Herman.
Herman was waving him in.
Geiger turned third and dug for the plate. From the warning path in deep right came the relay from Allison to Billy Martin to Harmon Killebrew to Earl Batter at the plate. Geiger slid through the dust – just ahead of the throw and the tag by Battey. He was safe.
With a 4 to 0 lead and a two-single shutout, Monbouquette – going into the fifth -- had faced only 13 batters.
But Killebrew opened with a triple to center. Batted doubled to short right center and Killebrew scored. Billy Martin fanned, but Pascual sliced a line double to right for two runs. Monbo’s lead was sliced to 4 to 3.
Even this lead was doomed, but in their half of the fifth, the Sox didn’t know it … and, at this point, they had another memorable inning … an inning which, perhaps, they will not care to remember.
Buddin started with a single to center. He was sacrificed to second by Monbouquette.
Runnels spanked a hard bounder over second base. It could well have been a hit. But Billy Martin was playing second. He streaked back of the bag, going full tilt, and fielded the bounder.
There was no play at first, but Martin was looking at third.
The moment Buddin, running from second, turned the bag, Martin fired to third baseman Bill Tuttle. Budding, caught off the bag, headed for home. But he was run down – Martin to Tuttle to Battey.
And then Battey’s throw back to Martin – who had started it all – cut down Runnels, trying for second.
Runnels had singled into a double play.
One run behind, Allison and Jim Lemon opened the sixth by crashing doubles to left. Both hits sped by Malzone like bullets. This tied the score. Monbouquette departed, and in came Muffett.
Muffett made Killebrew pop out. But Battey walked, and Martin’s line single to left loaded the bases.
Tuttle singled to center, scoring Lemon and leaving the bags loaded. Pascual singled to right, scoring Battey and leaving them loaded again.
Buddin rescued Muffett by grabbing Versalles’ bounder, striding on to second and firing to first for a double play. But the Twins led, 6 to 4.
In the seventh Buddin homered to make it 6 to 5 … But Pascual retired the remaining seven men on three strikeouts and four infield grounders.