Thursday, August 25, 2016

Narrow Margin; Every Game A Thriller! : Thursday, May 22nd, 1969


ATL 2, NY 1 (11inns)  W-Doyle 2-0 L-McGraw 2-3  HR-Tillman(1)ph  Millan GW bb.

HOU 3, MON 2 (11inns)  W-Womack 2-1 L-Face 0-1  HR-Morgan(2) Griffin 12 K's, Gotay GW double.

LA 2, CHI 1 (13inns)  W-Mikkelsen 2-2 L-Abernathy 2-6  Sudakis GW triple.

SD 3, PIT 2  W-Kirby 2-3  L-Ellis 3-5  HR-Ferrara(2)

STL 4, SF 3  W-Gibson 4-1 L-Marichal 5-4  HR-Pinson(4) Bonds(4) Dietz(5)

A terrified Felix Millan.
Drama abounds in a series of low-scoring thrillers! In Atlanta, Tom Seaver nursed a 1-0 lead through 7 innings before Red Sox reject and Yankee used-to-be Bob Tillman pinch hit leading off the bottom of the 8th and drilled a Seaver delivery far into the grandstand to tie it. In the last of the 11th, Tug McGraw found himself in a bases-loaded, 2 out jam. He had squirmed out of another bases loaded situation earlier in the game, and now faced Felix "Bushbaby" Millan, who responded to the pressure by becoming totally paralyzed with abject terror. Bat glued to his shoulder, he watched as McGraw hurled four pitches in his general direction. Home plate ump "Hell" Enkeller bellowed "Ball four" and the Braves were 2-1 winners. Millan had to be soothed by a team of therapists before he could move enough to join the celebration. Walk-off walks are nothing new to the Atlantans, who are now 2-1 in games decided that way. 

"Behold, I have won the game."
Inside the Harris County Domed Stadium, both the Expos and the Astros plated a pair of runs in the first inning and it looked like the slugfest was on. But wait! Tom Griffin, who has gone from punching bag to flamethrower, turned in a 10 inning, 12 strikeout performance and the game went into the bottom of the 11th still deadlocked at 2. Marty Martinez, who had gone 0-for-4 with two GIDPs, led off with a single. The little rascal then scampered home on a double by the immortal Julio Gotay for the win. When asked why his team was playing a "no singles" defense, Gene "The Genius" Mauch just drooled and stared vacantly at a portrait of the '64 Phillies. 

"Sing of me, and my exploits!" commands Dodger dud Sudakis.
The Cubs' offensive woes continue, despite Billy Williams gathering three hits against the Tinseltown nine in Thursday's game. One of them would have been a 2-run blast, but lefty Claude Osteen put the kibosh on the lefty-swinging Williams's ambitions and he had to settle for an rbi single instead. This cost the game, as the Dodgers won it in the 13th inning on a walk-off triple by pipsqueak Bill Sudakis, who had also driven in the other L.A. tally earlier in the game. Neither Sudakis nor Jim Lefebvre have been hitting at all, but something woke Mister Sudakis on this occasion, at least. Ted Abernathy's quest to lose 20 games in relief received a boost with his 6th setback.

A Padre star, or Mr. Hankey the Christmas poo?
The Buccos visited San Diego intent on destroying the infant Friars, and they delivered the opening blow by winning the first game on Tuesday, but lost on Wednesday and got sand kicked on them by the southern Californians again on Thursday! With runs in each of the first two frames, Pittsburgh appeared to be on track for victory, but the Holy Men prayed away the gray, and rode an Al Ferrara home run to a 3-2 lead, which Clay Kirby somehow preserved, despite jam after jam, straight through to the end for his 2nd victory.  The Steel Town nine fall a game under .500 and move on to San Francisco in a cloud of shame.  

Did Barry share his performance-enhancing breakfast cereal with Vada Pinson?
Finally, the marquee match-up of the day was definitely Gibson vs. Marichal at Candlestick Park. Dick Dietz touched the Redbird great with a home run in the second, and the 1-0 lead stood up until the 7th, when Joe Torre singled with one out, and chugged all the way home on a Vada Pinson triple to tie it up. Torre had to be put on oxygen, but whatever works, right Joe? Tim McCarver followed with a sac fly to put the Cards up 2-1. Gibson cruised into the bottom of the eighth with said lead, but then Bobby Bonds, fresh from stirring steroids into his infant son's Malt-O-Meal, bombed a blast to tie it up again at 2. Little Barry got so excited at his dad's feat, that he threw his high chair over the left field stands. Ron Hunt followed with a walk off of the disgruntled Mister Gibson,  then Mays singled. After McCovey popped out, a passed ball charged to McCarver put Giants at second and third. The preposterously hot Jim Ray Hart lofted a sac fly to put the Giants up 3-2, the run unearned due to McCarver's gazelle-like blunder behind the plate. Could Marichal make it stand up in the 9th? Curt Flood led off with a single. Julian Javier sacrificed, and Joe Torre, breathing almost normally by then, moved Flood to third while making the second out. Up stepped Pinson, who slammed one into the right field cheap seats and just like that, the Cardinals were back in the lead 4-3. In the bottom of the ninth, Gibson disposed of Dietz for the first out. Bob Burda, hitting for Hal "I Can't Do That, Dave" Lanier and cheered on by reader William, made the second out. Jack Hiatt pinch hit for Marichal, and drew a walk to keep it alive. Bobby Bonds, carried bodily to the plate by little Barry, singled and the tension grew thick as Ron "Easter Egg" Hunt stood in. He flied out to Flood, enabling the Redbirds to take 2 of 3 in this meeting of division leaders. 

The Reds moved to within a half game of the defeated Giants as they, and the Phillies, were idle. The Philadelphia club, the worst in the league in an expansion year (!), was reportedly too ashamed to take the field.


William Sagle said...

Where does one begin with this post? I mean, how did you EVER conceive of putting "Malt-O-Meal" into a baseball post? (I cannot stop laughing!) Ah, the Immortal Julio Gotay getting the GWH in, let me get this straight, the Harris County Domed Stadium.

Friars destroy Pirates. Now, there is a headline!

Wow, Julio Gotay, Dick Dietz and Bob Burda all in one post? Christmas in August. Only missing Coco Laboy.

stevemryan said...

Ok, two of three helps the Reds, but angels should be flying not waiting at the bus stop or taking a taxi.