Yankees Leading, Had Red Sox Down To Final Strike, Yet Lose!
Game one saw starters Bill Monbouquette of Boston and Ralph Terry of New York dominate. The game was scoreless after 8 innings, with neither team having any significant scoring opportunity.
All the scoring occurred in the ninth, when the Red Sox loaded the bases, and got a sacrifice fly off the bat of Frank Malzone, and an out later, a three run homer by Lou Clinton.
That homer was key, as the Yankees came back with 2 in the last half, on a Mantle single and home run by Moose Skowron.
The Yankees shook off that tough opening loss however, and took the next two games putting themselves in line to finish off the Sox. Game 2 was a wild affair in which the Red Sox out-hit the Bombers by an incredible 17-7 margin, yet lost by four runs. The Yankees got a hit most every time they had a runner on, leaving only one runner stranded all game. Elston Howard hit a grand slam and drove in 6 runs on the day. Whitey Ford was erratic, but got credit for the win in an 11-7 final.
Game three saw Bill Stafford cool down the Boston bats and then some, tossing a one-hot shutout. The Yankees scored only three themselves, despite 11 hits. One of the runs scored on an error, as the men from the Bronx left 8 runners stranded, a foreshadowing of their undoing later in the series.
With their backs to the wall, the Red Sox sent tall, lanky Don Schwall to the hill in game four, while the Pinstripers countered with young Jim Bouton. Neither starter was involved in the decision as the clubs battled each other all game long, with Boston staving off elimination by earning a 6-4 victory. Carl Yastrzemski had three hits for the Red Sox, and Clete Boyer broke out of an 0 for 10 series with two home runs over the Green Monster. In a bit of an unusual twist for these two clubs, four triples were hit in the game.
With everything on the line in game five, the series shifted back to the Stadium and the two game one starters were sent back to the hill. And just like in game one, the Monbouquette and Terry were dominant. The Yankees actually had several chances at taking control of this one, but two Boston double plays kept them off the board and the game was scoreless through six.
Elston Howard opened the bottom of the seventh with a home run giving the Yankees a late lead. They then loaded the bases on a single by Roger Maris, and after a strikeout of Bill Skowron, a double by Tom Tresh. Clete Boyer was then intentionally passed bring Terry up with the bases loaded and only one out. It was a golden opportunity to break the game wide open.
Manager Bike Mike decided to stick with Ralph Terry, who had been so dominant in both games, and let him bat despite the chance to possibly put the game away right here. It was quite possibly the move that cost the series as Terry hit into the third Yankee double play of the game, ending the threat.
But the Bombers had the lead and needed only six outs to win it, with a hot pitcher on the mound. Terry gave up a lead off single to Chuck Schilling in the 8th, then two ground outs got him to third. But he bore down and got Gary Gieger on a fly to Mantle in shallow center to maintain the slim 1-0 lead.
The Yankees did not do anything in the eighth, and Terry started the ninth by walking Pete Runnels. But a fly out off the bat of Yastrzemski and a strike out of Clinton brought it down to one man to get, shortstop Eddie Bressoud. Terry had Bressoud down to a 2-2 count, when he left a fast ball out over the plate two much and Bressoud shocked the home crowd with a double in the gap between Mantle and Maris, Runnels coming all the way around to score the tying run. Marshall Bridges was summoned to relieve a tired Terry, and promptly gave up a ringing single to center to Frank Malzone which scored Bressoud with the lead run.
Just like that, the Red Sox, down to their last breath, had climbed all the way back and secured control of their destiny. Bridges struck out Schilling to end the nightmare.
The Yankees put two on in the ninth with two out, but pinch hitter Johnny Blanchard grounded out ended the series.
Manager Bike Mike was hounded by reporters following the game about his decision to let Terry hit in the seventh. The New York dailies roasted him for the move, with rumors flying that his future as a Yankee manager was in doubt.
--submitted by Bike Mike--