Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October 14, 1964: The Bronx Bombers Bomb The Birds In Game 6

      On October 14, 1964, the Yankees forced a Game 7 by knocking off the Cardinals 8-3 in front of more than 30,000 at Busch. The game featured starters Curt Simmons on the mound for the Cardinals while the Yankees countered with the Jim Bouton in what was a rematch of Game 2. Coincidentally, the Yankees prevailed in that game by the same exact score. However, the circumstances were very different, as the Bronx Bombers lived up to the nickname by bombing their way to victory.

     Things started out good for the Cardinals, as Curt Flood and Lou Brock picked up back-to-back hits to lead off the first. Flood moved over to third on Brock's hit, then scored when Bill White hit into a double play. While the double play ball was one of misfortune for White, there also a bit of fortune because it gave the club an early 1-0 lead, Curt Simmons looked to be on his game early, he worked into the fifth clinging onto the one run lead. It was that inning that he saw the score get knotted up. It began with a ground rule double by Tom Tresh, who ended up at third after Clete Boyer grounded out. With Tresh just 90 feet away Bouton came to the dish and lashed an RBI single. The .139 regular season hitter had come through against the veteran. Simmons got out of that inning by retiring Phil Linz with a long flyball that landed in Lou Brock's glove in left, but it was a whole new ballgame.

     Going into the bottom of the fifth still knotted at one Simmons was set to face the heart of that Yankees lineup, and they let him know that their heart was still beating strong. The Cardinal hurler set Bobby Richardson down to start the inning, then came the thunder and lightning of Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle who hit back-to-back home runs. The score might have only been 3-1 at that point, but the staggering booms had dealt a hefty blow to the Cardinals. Simmons did settle down after the two big hits, but it hardly mattered because Bouton was keeping them off the scoreboard.

       Simmons was lifted after allowing a one out single to Clete Boyer in the seventh,  To make matters worse that single ended up with Ken's brother standing on second after Lou Brock committed an error in left. Simmons' day did not go the way he wished, With that said, the Cardinals were still in it, and Ron Taylor was able to get out of that inning with Bouton hitting a scorcher to second, which ended up with Boyer getting doubled off.

     Then came the inning that put the Cardinals to bed. A hero of Game 1 was called on when Johnny Keane handed the ball to Barney Schultz, and the well traveled veteran gave up a lead off single to Phil Linz. He then picked up back-to-back outs. They were productive outs though, as Linz moved over to third as they were recorded. Schultz wanted nothing to do with the big bat of Mickey Mantle, who had already taken him deep with the big walk off in Game 3, so he put him on intentionally. The Yankees backstop Elston Howard followed it up with an RBI single to give his club a 4-1 lead, then Schultz walked the bases full by issuing a free pass to Tresh. The Cardinals skipper Johnny Keane pulled the plug on Schultz, and called on a rookie southpaw to pitch to Pepitone in what was going to be a lefty on lefty matchup. The rookie hung a curve ball, and Pepitone pounced on it. As soon as he took the cut he knew it was a goner. It was the tenth grand slam in World Series history. It came just four days after Ken Boyer's historic slam in Game 4, and made Pepitone the just the tenth man in the history of the Fall Classic to belt a long ball with the bases full. The score was now 8-1, and the Yankees were well on the way to victory.

     Bouton had said that he did not feel comfortable until Pepitone gave him the big cushion, and even after he was given the comfortable lead the Cardinals made him work. Curt Flood led off the eighth with a walk, then was moved over to third on a Lou Brock double, before scoring the second Redbird run of the day on a ground out by Bill White. Bouton got out of the inning, then watched Bob Humphreys work a scoreless top of the ninth. He was lifted for Steve Hamilton after allowing back-to-back one out singles in the ninth. Hamilton gave up an RBI single to pinch hitter Bob Skinner, which brought the score to 8-3. It was too little to late though, as Flood hit into a double play to end the contest. The Yankees had come in with their backs against the wall, and did what they had to do to play another day. It was going to take a seventh game and the winner would take the crown. The Cardinals had been there before. Johnny Keane would be calling on Bob Gibson to get the job done, while Yogi Berra called on Mel Stottlemyre. It was going to be a classic that would end with celebration in St. Louis.  

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN196410140.shtml

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