Every team starts out dead even on Opening Day. The Pilots sent Marty Pattin to the mound to throw the first pitch in franchise history. Tommy Harper led off the game as the first batter in Pilot history and promptly lined out to Dr. Strangeglove, Dick Stuart. The next batter, Mike Hegan, singled to right to record the franchises 1st hit. Hegan, who is known as a streak hitter would go 4 for 5 on the day as the boxscore listed his BA at .800. I think he should quit now and air-mail himself right to Cooperstown.
The second inning saw the franchise's first run and first lead. Rich Rollins led off by reaching base as California's second baseman Bobby Knoop booted a hard smash. Centerfielder Jim Gossger lined out to right and catcher Jerry McNertney laced one down the right field line for a two base hit as Rollins came around to score. The Pilots took a 1-0 lead and celebrated as if they just won game 7 (of the World Series, not the season).
Pattin was cruising. The Angels are a light highting squad for sure. Then in the 6th Auriellio Rodriguez led off with a clean single. Two batters later banjo hitting Knoop atoned for his error in the 2nd by taking Pattin deep into the Southern California smog to put the Angels on top 2-1.
With 2 outs in the 8th and all looking dim Rich Rollins singled home Mike Hegan to tie the game, which would eventually go into extra innings. The big Farm boy Gene Brabender came on in the 9th to relieve Pattin who gave up only 2 runs in 8 innings of work, but with nothing to show for his work. The game remained tied until the 11th when Bill Voss hit a Sac Fly Gosger in center allowing catcher Tom Satriano to score the winning run.
Joe Schultz was shouting encouragement to his troops letting them know that they have the same exact record as the Mets, so they can't possibly be the worst team out there. Maglie grumbled something about not throwing a fastball to a hitter with the winning run 90 feet away and less than 1 out. Bouton was probably thinking that there aren't many good pitches to throw in that situation...period !