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On This Date in Sports May 9, 1961: Gentile Slam

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

Jim Gentile of the Baltimore Orioles joins elite company by hitting two Grand Slams in the same game. Gentile is the first player to do it in back-to-back innings as the Orioles smash the Minnesota Twins 13-5 at Metropolitan Stadium. Jim Gentile adds a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning, finishing the game with two hits in three at-bats and nine RBI. He would finish the season with 46 home runs and a league-leading 141 RBI. 

Jim Gentile was born in San Francisco on June 3, 1934. A power-hitting left-handed slugger, Gentile was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1952. Gentile made his debut with Brooklyn in 1957 but spent much of his first nine seasons languishing in the minors as he was blocked by a Dodgers team loaded with stars. After the 1959 seasons, Gentile was traded to the Baltimore Orioles. In Baltimore for a young Orioles team, he finally got a chance to play and had an All-Star season, batting .292, with 21 home runs and 98 RBI. 

After his breakout season in Baltimore, Jim Gentile was off to a great start in 1961, with seven home runs in his team's first 21 games. The Orioles had a record of 11-10 for manager Paul Richards as they made their first trip to the Twin Cities. The Minnesota Twins were also 11-10 for Cookie Lavagetto, playing their first year in Minnesota after moving from Washington. Pedro Ramos started for Minnesota, while Chuck Estrada got the start for the Orioles. 

The first three Orioles reached base, with Whitey Herzog leading off with a free pass and Brooks Robinson walking after a double by Jackie Brandt. This set up Jim Gentile's first slam, giving Baltimore a 4-0 lead. Ramos got the next three batters to end the inning. In the second inning, Chuck Estrada started the rally with a one-out single. Pedro Ramos was removed after a walk to Herzog. Pauch Geil came on to pitch and committed an error, leading to another run. The next batter, Brooks Robinson, walked, setting up Gentile again. Once again, it was a Grand Slam, as Jim Gentile became the first player since Rudy York of the Boston Red Sox in 1946 to hit two Grand Slams in the same game.

The Twins got three runs in the fourth on home runs by Hala Naragon and Bob Allison. The Orioles got two runs back in the fifth with a home run by Ron Hansen to make it 11-3. In the eighth inning, Baltimore made it 13-3 on sac-flies by Brooks Robinson and Jim Gentile, as the Twins got a second home run from Allison and a home run by Harmon Killebrew to make the final score 13-5.