On July 7, 1953, Cardinals rookie center fielder Rip Repulski led the club to a 7-6 victory over the Reds at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, with two solo shots, and a three run bases clearing double. While Repulski tore it up at the plate, the Cardinals barely hung onto this one, until reliever Gerry Staley came up big to preserve the victory in the ninth.
Repulski's first big blast opened up a 3-0 lead, just moments after Enos Slaughter parked a two run shot in the seats in the second. The lead did not stand for long, as the Reds plated a run in the bottom of the inning, then jumped on top with a three run third. Repulski struck again with a lead off blast in the seventh that knotted things up at 4-4, then looked to bury the hometowners with the three run double in the eighth that put the Redbirds up 7-4.
The Reds were not going away. In fact, they loaded the bases with three consecutive singles off of Hal White in the eighth, before Al Brazle was called on to clean up the mess. Brazle walked out of the jam unscathed, however, that was not the case in the bottom of the ninth. As they say, those final three outs are the toughest to get, and Brazle could not pick up one of them. He walked the leadoff man, hit the next guy, then surrendered an RBI single, before Gerry Staley took over on the mound. Staley walked the bases loaded right out of the gate, and disaster seemed imminent. Staley was able to pick up an out next man up, but it was a prductive, as it plated the sixth Reds run of the day.
The heat was on, and Staley looked like he may be faltering under the pressure, as he walked another man to fill the bases back up. Perhaps the biggest out of the game followed, as Cincy's shortstop Roy McMillian grounded out to Pete Castiglone at third, who alertly fired the ball to home plate to take away the tying run. Staley then sat down pinch hitter Bob Marquis, wiped the sweat from his brow, and shook the hands of his teammates as the man who saved the ballgame.
Two names from the Cardinals past, that everyone may not know, Staley and Repulski were quite interesting figures. Staley spent eight years with the Birds, and won 89 games. He won 18 that season as a starter, which was one shy of his career high that he set in 1951. Repulski, came in fourth in rookie of the year voting. He hit 15 home runs that season, then topped double digits in that department through the 1958 season. Although, his tenure with the Redbirds ended after the '56 campaign. If you would like to learn more about these men click on the links provided below to read their SABR biographies.
Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CIN/CIN195307070.shtml