On July 17, 1964, with the help of a pair of three hit days from Lou Brock and Dick Groat, the Cardinals prevailed 9-8 over the Mets at Busch in what was a true seesaw battle that had both teams fighting down to the wire.
Both teams scored a run in the first, the Mets scored two in the second, then the Redbirds came right back with two of their own in the third when first baseman Bill White went yard. The seesaw shifted back and forth, as the Mets plated a run in the fourth, before the Cards pushed one across in the fifth. Knotted up at four headed into the sixth, the Cardinals looked to blow the door open a little with a three run inning to give them a 7-4 advantage. However, the Mets stormed right back with a three run seventh to tie it up, before Lou Brock broke up the deadlock with his third hit of the day in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI triple. Dick Groat followed that up with his third hit of the day to bring Brock into score what proved to be the game winning run, which was the third run of the day for Brock, who also stole a base. The Mets refused to go away quietly. Bob Humphreys was called upon to finish them off, but surrendered a run, before handing the ball over to Bob Gibson who recorded a one out save by retiring pinch hitter Hawk Taylor with a groundout. That was one of six saves for the man who wore the 45.
Such a wild win, and like each and every win in 1964 it was a very important victory, as the team looked to make an improbable pennant run. They would hang around just close enough, never falling more than 11 games out of first place, before it all began to come together for the team to make a historic run. While it was all coming together for the Redbirds, it was all falling apart for the Philadelphia Phillies whose late season collapse was key in the Cardinals ride to glory. When those kind of rides happen the stars have to align perfectly. A team has to be able to come out on top in a seesaw battle such as the one that came on that July day in 1964. While wins such as that one may not be pretty, they make a team know they can win the battle as long as they keep fighting until the end. That team was full of fighters. They fought and fought some more, and eventually they celebrated as champions.
Check out the box score: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN196407170.shtml
Today's fact is a special one. It is dedicated to Mrs. Jane Spavale, who celebrated her first day of life on that day in 1964 with a big win. Jane just married my friend Steve, and not only do I want to say congratulations to them both, I would also like to say Happy Birthday to Jane. Here's to many more and here's to a long and happy marriage.