Sunday, July 25, 2010

Round 1 Upset: 8th Seeded Phightin’s knock out NL Champs in 5.

Box Scores from Series

8/1-8/2 - Forbes Field
GAME 1 - Phillies 2, Pirates 0 (11 inn)

Johnny_Callison_PHI Robin Roberts and Bob Friend hooked up for one of those classic pitcher's duels that fans dream of.  Neither man would give an inch, so this contest went to extra innings.  The 10th inning was a replay of the previous 9.  Finally in the top of the 11th Friend cracked.  After pinch hitter Clay Dalrymple single to lead off the inning Elroy Face was brought in to keep the Phils down.  Face was easily able to get 2 outs, but made a costly mistake to Johnny Callison who hit it into the upper deck in right field to make it 2-0.  Turk Farrell came on for the save and got 2 quick outs before giving up a double to Smoky Burgess.  Dr. Strangeglove, Dick Stuart was called on to pinch hit for Don Hoak and weakly popped out to third to end the game.

GAME 2 - Pirates 3, Phillies 2
The Phillies broke a scoreless tie with 2 runs in the top of the 5th off of Vern Law.  GameBob_Skinner_PIT 1 hitting star Johnny Callison struck again with a 2 out / 2 run RBI single that scored Phillie starter John Buzhardt and Tony Taylor.  The PIrates began to nibble away at the 2-0 lead that Buzhardt was tasked to protect.  A solo run in the 6th courtesy of a Burgess RBI single with 2 outs cut the lead to 2-1.  Bob Skinner led of the 8th for the Bucs with a double and scored 2 batters later on a ground out by Roberto Clemente to tie it.  By this point Buzhardt ran out of steam and Humberto Robinson was given the ball to pitch the 9th.  Robinson easily retired the first 2 batters and extra frames began to loom until Bill Virdon and Dick Groat singled to put the winning run in scoring position for Bob Skinner, who lined a single into the gap to easily score Virdon and even the series at 1 game apiece.

8/3-8/4 - Connie Mack Stadium
GAME 3 - Pirates 7, Phillies 2

Roberto_Clemente_66 The Bucs jumped all over Phillie starter Art Mahaffey to the tune of 3 runs in the top of the 1st.  Pittsburgh's offense never let up and starter Vinegar Bend Mizell went the distance allowing only 2 runs to score.  Roberto Clemente hit a big 2 run shot as the Bucs took a 2-1 series lead over the underdog Phils.

GAME 4 - Phillies 3, Pirates 1
Once again Bob Friend pitched his butt off, but could not get offensive Pancho_Herrera_PHI support.  Friend did allow 2 runs to the Phils in the home half of the 1st, which would loom large since his team could not seem to solve former Brave star Gene Conley, who was able to turn the clock back to his hey day of the mid to late 50's and throw 8 innings of 1 run ball.  Once again Turk Farrell came on board to lock down the 9th.  Pancho Herrera was the hitting star for the Phightin's with a huge 2 run single in the first to put the pressure on Friend.  Herrera went 2 for 3 and was hit by a pitch as Friend surely wanted to send a message to the big man with the big bat.  Smoky Burgess hit a solo homer in the 7th to account for Pittsburgh's lone run as the Phightin's tied the series at 2.

8/5 - Forbes Field
GAME 5 - Phillies 7, Pirates 6

Robin_Roberts_PHI Decisive game 5's or 7's never seem to live up to the hype.  This game not only lived up to the hype it exceeded expectations.  The underdog Phils carried a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the 6th when HOF'er Robin Roberts, who won game 1 in heroic fashion, finally hit a bump in the road.  Bob Skinner managed to fight of an inside fastball to single home Dick Schofield to finally get the Bucs on the board.  Rocky Nelson slammed a triple off the wall in right center to cut the lead in half.  Hal Smith would pinch hit for reliever Elroy Face to lead off the 8th and double into the right center gap.  Virdon would single to put runnersRocky_Nelson_PIT on the corners with nobody out.  A routine grounder to third by Groat would score Smith to make it 4-3, but Bob Skinner would line out into a DP on a botched hit and run, that would end the inning.  The top of the 9th would see a combination of bad pitching by Earl Francis and bad fielding by the normally sure handed Groat, end Pittsburgh's chances as Philly posted 3 runs to make it 7-3.  Well hold he presses, that's not how the story would end.  Chris Short would start the bottom of the 9th for Philly and get Rocky Nelson to line out right back to the originator.  Clemente hit a hard one hopper to second that Tony Taylor would boot to allow the Latin sensation to reach first safely.  Just like the top of the Bill_Mazeroski_PITinning one stupid error would lead to big trouble.  Burgess would double off of Short to put runners on second and 3rd and cause a break in the action to allow Farrell to enter the game in relief.  Don Hoak would greet Farrell with a line shot single to score  Clemente.  Bill Mazeroski would follow that with a mirror image hit to score Burgess and make it 7-5.  Dick Stuart was once again called on to pinch hit and wound up taking one for the team to load the bases.  Bill Virdon would catch the next pitch just off the sweet spot and narrowly miss a walk off homer.  Instead the be-speckled outfielder had to settle for a sac fly, which made it 7-6 with Dick Groat heading to the plate with a aTurk_Farrell_PHI chance to atone for his error in the top of the inning.  It all came down to the matchup of clutch hitting Groat vs the man who saved games 1 and 4 (Farrell).  The Bucs seemed to have finally solved Turk Farrell in game 5, but the hard throwing reliever was able to jam Groat, who hit a slow roller to Taylor at second to end the game.  As a result the Phightin's were able to pull off the improbable upset.  To put it in the proper perspective, in 1960 the Pirates won the NL flag by finishing 95-59, which was 36 games ahead of the 59-95 Phills.  What a shocking upset !

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