This game took place on August 5, 1970. It is being recapped today as part of Camden Chat’s retro recap series while MLB is on hold due to coronavirus.
By now, the American League should know not to spot this Baltimore pitching staff an early lead. Tonight, it did not matter when the Orioles scored; any offense would suffice.
Jim Palmer allowed just four hits in a complete game shutout over the Red Sox, and Baltimore blanked the Boston 3-0 in a late game at Memorial Stadium.
The game marked Palmer’s fourth shutout of the season, with the first coming in a nearly identical, three-run victory over the Sox back in May. Palmer, who allowed just one run in a complete game effort against Kansas City his last time out, had Boston’s number again tonight.
Palmer did not allow a hit through the first three frames, and never faced a significant threat. “Cakes” allowed the first two to reach in the top of the fourth, but quickly answered with a pop out and a pair of strikeouts to end the inning. The second of those strikeouts, of Billy Conigliaro, was the 500th of Palmer’s career. It was the closest thing to a “jam” the righty faced all evening.
Baltimore wasted little time spotting its starter an advantage. Don Buford led off the first with a single to center, and Paul Blair beat out a bunt attempt to put runners at first and second. Boston starter Sonny Siebert retired Boog Powell for the first out of the inning, but Merv Rettenmund put the Birds on the board with a single to right.
Blair moved into scoring position on the knock by Rettenmund, and Elrod Hendricks took advantage of the RBI opportunity. Hendricks delivered a similar single to spot the Birds a two run lead, and Rettenmund made his way to third.
Brooks Robinson stepped up with an opportunity to break the game open early, but Baltimore ran their way out of the inning. Hendricks was gunned down by catcher Tom Satriano as he attempted to steal second, and Brooks eventually grounded out to short. Still, the early lead would prove to be all the Orioles needed.
Baltimore continued to jump on Siebert early, as Davey Johnson singled to start the bottom of the second inning. After Bobby Grich flew out to right, Palmer attempted to move Johnson up to second base. The next play seemed to perfectly epitomize the contest.
Palmer’s good fortune carried over to the other side of the plate, while Siebert’s struggles continued. Siebert fielded the bunt by Palmer, but his throw sailed past Carl Yastrzemski at first base. Johnson made his way to third, while Palmer reached on the error.
The Orioles took advantage once again as Buford drove a ball deep enough to right to score Johnson. The sacrifice fly gave the Orioles a 3-0 lead, and would prove to be the final run of the contest.
Siebert recovered to work through the seventh inning, but the damage had been done. He left the game allowing eight hits, three runs (two earned), and striking out four. Siebert moved to 11-6 on the season. Gary Wagner allowed one hit in a scoreless eighth inning for the Sox.
Meanwhile, Palmer continued to cruise. The shutout marked his 16th victory of the season, and his 13th complete game. His final stat line read 9 IP, 4 H, 7 K, 2 BB. His seven strikeouts were the most since he punched out seven exactly a month earlier in a shutout against Detroit.
Rettenmund led the charge offensively with a 3-4 performance at the plate for Baltimore. Six other batters made up the other six hits, with Palmer adding a single in the fourth just for good measure.
The Orioles won before an announced crowd of 16,747. The game lasted just two hours and one minute.
Baltimore moved to 68-39 on the season, while Boston fell to 53-52. The Orioles clinched the brief two game series against the Sox, but will now head to Cleveland for a doubleheader tomorrow. Mike Cuellar is expected to start the first contest against righty Dean Chance.
Box score from Baseball Reference.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for August 5, 1970?
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Jim Palmer (CG shutout, 500th career K)
Merv Rettenmund (3-for-4, RBI)