Saturday, August 7, 2010

Braves rally from 3-1 deficit to defeat Dodgers and head to World Series

8/15-8/16 - County Stadium
GAME 1 - Dodgers 2, Braves 1
Drysdale Big D, Don Drysdale, tamed the fearsome Brave lineup and held them to just a solo run in the 4th.  LA jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st when Wally Moon doubled home Junior Gilliam .  Frank Howard barely missed a homer off of Bob Buhl, who settled down and began to duel Drysdale.  Milwaukee tied it up when Joe Adcock tripled home Hank Aaron with 2 out in the 4th.  It remained tied until Norm Larker singled home Frank Howard in the top of the 8th.  The Braves put Drysdale's back up against the wall when Aaron doubled with 1 out in the 9th.  Mel Roach was called on to pinch hit for Johnny Logan and popped out to Maury Wills at short to end the game.  Drysdale fanned 7 Brave batters in this complete game victory.  Buhl went 8 and gave up only 2 as the hard luck loser.

GAME 2 - Braves 9, Dodgers 3
You don't keep an offensive machine like the Milwaukee BravesSchoendienst down for too long, especially if you are a southpaw like Johnny Podres who doesn't throw hard enough to blow it by them.  LA actually had a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the 2nd and had Lew Burdette on the ropes.  Burdette righted his ship and from inning 3 on posted goose eggs on the scoreboard in the hopes of giving his offense a chance to get him the win.  That Brave offense only needed 2 innings to tie it at 3 and with a three run 4th and a 3 run 8th they were able to give Burdette a nice cushion to cruise to victory.  Podres wasn't just victimized by the Brave bats.  He also fell victim to poor Dodger fielding and an undisclosed injury that ended his day with 2 outs in the 4th.  Larry Sherry pitched the next 3+ innings and gave up 2 additional runs.  The Braves amassed 17 hits on the day with 3 players compiling 3 hits and Red Schoendienst getting 4 hits along with 2 RBI's.

8/18-8/20 - LA Coliseum
GAME 3 - Dodgers 3, Braves 2
Crandall HOF'er Warren Spahn had an unlikely pitcher's duel with Stan Williams.  Both men went 8 innings.  Spahn left on the long side of the ledger thanks to a 2 run 7th inning that put the Braves up 2-1.  Del Crandall hit a 2 run shot thanks to a booted grounder by Junior Gilliam, which allowed Joe Adcock to reach base prior to Crandall's AB.  Williams stood to be the loser thanks to an unearned run, until Don McMahon blew a save opportunity in the 9th.  Norm Larker and Frank Howard led off the inning with singles to put runners on the corners and Charlie Neal lifted a sac fly that came close to being a double off the left field screen.  Willie Davis, who pinch ran for Larker, scored easily to force extra innings.  Both teams decided to treat the extra frames like a new game and went with guys who were normally starters to take the hill.  Joey Jay, who has struggled to find a spot in the Brave rotation took the hill for Milwaukee and Roger Craig did the same for LA.  After an  uneventful 10th inning the Braves threatened in the 11th, but could not score Aaron fromNSherry second with Crandall at the plate.  LA would counter by having their first 2 batters reach base in the bottom of the 11th.  Frank Howard would single and Don Demeter would walk.  Neal bunted them both up 90 feet, so Tommy Davis was given an intentional pass to put a force at every base.  Norm Sherry came up looking to hack, but saw 4 consecutive pitches out of the strike zone and cheerfully accepted his walk off walk.

GAME 4 - Dodgers 14, Braves 8
Larker In a game that mostly resembled a Rams vs Packers score the Dodgers were able to outlast the Braves.  The one sour note for LA would be the fact that Drysdale was spotted a 10-2 lead after 3 innings and still couldn't hold down Milwaukee.  Typically pitching is recognized in these types of offensive explosions, but it must be noted that Larry Sherry came out of the pen and pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Big D, who obviously didn't have anything nearly resembling his "A" game.  Drysdale gave up 8 runs in just over 5 innings of work.  Carlton Willey was far worse giving up 8 runs before being knocked out of the box in the second.  Norm Larker (4-6, 5 RBI) was the offensive star for the Dodgers.  Frank Howard also chipped in with a 5 RBI day and a big homer.  Drydale might not have had his stuff, but he did have his "bite".  After surrendering 3 consecutive homers (Mathews, Aaron & Adcock) in the top of the 5th, Big D drilled the next batter up (Del Crandall) in the arm.  I think everyone in the house expected it.  Even Crandall expected it and walked to first without even batting an eyelash.

GAME 5 - Braves 8, Dodgers 0
On the brink of elimination the Braves offense gave LewBurdette Burdette 8 big runs in a game that was never really competitive.  Dodger starter Sandy Koufax was victimized for 5 runs over 7 innings.  The Brooklyn native did fan 5 and did not walk a batter.  Typically his challenge has been with wildness, but today was not the case.  Koufax found the strike zone with regularity, which helped the Braves find the long ball.  Hank Aaron hit 2 homers, Bill Bruton and Alvin Dark each had 1.  Aaron, who now has 9 homers in the tournament went 4 for 5 with 5 RBI's.  His tournament average is not .442.  Talk about a HOF'er playing up to and beyond his potential !  LA was only able to scratch out 5 hits off of Burdette who looks to be in the same form that he displayed back in '57 when he won 3 games in the World Series vs the Yanks.

8/22-8/23 - County Stadium
GAME 6 - Braves 6, Dodgers 3

Moon Call this one, "elimination game number 2" for the Braves, who were now back home in the heartland.  HOF'er Warren Spahn was given the ball, which typically means good things.  It did not look that way in the first when the Dodgers jumped out to a 3-0 lead courtesy of a bases clearing double by Wally Moon.  County Stadium became so quiet you could almost hear a pin drop.  That feeling would last only until the bottom of the inning when Johnny Podres, who was returning from an injury in game 2, showed up in a philotropic mood.  After getting Bruton to ground out to start the inning Podres served up a double to Mel Roach and then gave up a gopher ball to lefty Eddie Mathews...who is known in these parts as Ed-die Matress.  Up next came the great Aaron and as quick as you can say "Jack Robinson" he hit his 10th homer of the tournament to knot the game at 3.  Milwaukee would add a solo run in the 2nd when Schoendienst squeezed home Johnny Logan who led off with a triple.  With the score 4-3 Braves and 2 out in the 6th Bill Bruton and Mel Roach came up with 2 clutch hits toSpahn  give Spahn a 6-3 lead.  The great lefthander had a rough opening stanza, but had now settled into a groove.  Spahn would begin to dominate the Dodgers by fanning 9 and shutting them out over the final 8 innings.  LA would get a hit here and there, but Warren Spahn would never allow them the thought of getting back into the game.  Podres would exit after the 5th having given up 4 runs on the day.  Larry Sherry would pitch the final 3 and be charged with Milwaukee's two runs in the 6th.

Game 7 - Braves 6, Dodgers 2
Snider Game 7...the finality of it all hung over the heads of these great franchises.  LA, the unlikely 4th seed trying to scratch and claw their way to the big dance vs Milwaukee, a team that had seen the post season for the previous 3 seasons.  Milwaukee was a team that relied on the offensive power of two sure fire HOF'ers (Aaron/Mathews), while the Dodgers were a team in transition looking for a new identity.  Sporting the remnants of their fabled Boys of Summer nucleus of the great 50's teams and some young arms that would pay dividends in years to come the Dodgers upset the Braves in a 3 game playoff in 1959 to win an improbable championship.  Would this 1960 tournament be Milwaukee's chance to even the score ???  To set the stage the Dodgers were going with game 1 and game 4 winner Don Drysdale.  The Braves would be countering with Bob Buhl, who in his own right is a fine All-Star caliber right hander.  LA cracked the scoreboard first when one of their Brooklyn holdovers, Duke Snider, fought off rust and age to double home Charlie Neal to make it 1-0.  The Braves would answer right back in the bottom of the inning when Johnny Logan singled home Joe Adcock from Mathewssecond.  LA would take the lead in the 4th off an error by Mathews on a slicing liner by Snider.  Wally Moon, who had singled to lead off the inning and was bunted by Neal to second scored easily.  Drysdale looked dominant until the  bottom of the 6th when he made one bad pitch to Eddie Mathews who clobbered the ball deep into the right field bleachers to tie the game at 2-2.  To say tension was mounting would be an understatement.  Someone would crack ?  Would it be Drysdale who was pitching a dandy or would it be Lew Burdette, who relieved Buhl in the 6th ?  It took until the bottom of the 8th before we had our answer to that most important question.  Drysdale would be the one to crack.  In fact, once the dust cleared, the evidence would show that he disintegrated.  With runners on 1st and second and 1 out Hank Aaron stepped to the plate.  It was put up or shut up time for both HOF'er (Aaron/Drysdale).  Which one would put up ?  If  you've been following this series and you were a betting man you'd put your money on Hammerin' Hank, who had been like money in the bank.  Aaron did not disappoint and took Drysdale's first offering and flicked it into the right center power alley to easily score Bruton and Mathews and put Milwaukee up 4-2.  Joe Adcock, who had fanned the aaronprevious two AB's strolled to the plate looking for some revenge against Drysdale.  Adcock was sitting on the fastball with the count 3-1 and launched Drysdale's pitch into the left field pavilion to make it 6-2.  The 9th inning saw the Dodgers go down weakly to Burdette, who once again proved why he deserves the ball in the big moments.  Milwaukee would come back from the abyss, down 3 games to 1, to win the NLCS and earn a place in the World Series vs the Orioles.

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