The St. Louis Cardinals took three straight games from the San Francisco Giants in their semi-final 1964 NL tournament series, in what manager Bike Mike called "probably the most complete effort, offensively and defensively, I've ever seen one of my teams have in any KOD or tournament series".
Busch Stadium was the scene for game one. The Cardinals bang out 12 hits, and Ken Boyer drive in four runs, as Bob Gibson went the distance in a 9-1 victory. The Cardinals started the scoring quickly in this one, with Lou Brock drawing a one out walk, followed by a Bill White single, a Boyer double to score Brock, and White scoring on a Tim McCarver ground out.
The Cards added one in the second and three more in fifth with Brock and Boyer homers sandwiched around a White single, to stake Gibson to a 6-0 lead. Gibson pitched into and out of trouble most of the game, but settled in and finished what he started while striking out 10 as the Cardinals coasted to a 9-1 victory.
Jim Duffalo and lefthander Curt Simmons squared off in game two. Both pitchers threw shutout ball through the first three innings. The Redbirds took advantage of Hal Lanier's error on Boyer's grounder leading off the fourth, and two outs later veteran Bob Skinner singled him home for a 1-0 lead.
Billy Pierce threw three shutout innings, and Simmons kept the Giants at "bay", as the score remained tied at 1 entering the bottom of the eight. Bobby Bolin took over the mound chores for San Francisco, facing the Redbirds 3-4-5 men. Bill White worked the count against Bolin and walked, but Bolin got Boyer on strikes. Young Tim McCarver came up, and drove a Bolin fastball deep to right for a clutch two run homer.
Staked to a 2 run lead, Simmons went back out to pitch the ninth, but Jim Ray Hart greeted him with a long home run to left to start the inning, cutting the lead to 1 run. Knuckleballer Barney Schultz was summoned from the Cardinal bullpen, and retired the next three Giants to save it and give the Redbirds a 2-0 lead in the series.
Game Three shifted to Candlestick Park, with Giant ace Juan Marichal on the hill against lefty Ray Sadecki. After the Cardinals scored an unearned run in the third, the Giants came back to tie it in the bottom half on a home run by Hal Lanier.
After a scoreless top of the fourth, Orlando Cepeda greeted Sadecki with a lead off single in the Giant half, and came all the way around to score on a double from veteran catcher Del Crandall. Jay Alou then worked his bat magic for another sacrifice bunt, advancing Crandall to third. Jose Pagan was intentionally passed, but Juan Marichal executed a perfect suicide squeeze, catching the Cardinals off guard, as Crandall charged down the baseline to score, with Pagan taking second. Harvey Kuenn then singled in Pagan to give the Giants a 4-1 lead.
Marichal blanked the Cardinals through the sixth, and it looked like San Francisco would get back into the series with a 4-1 lead, Marichal pitching, and nine outs to get. But the seventh proved unlucky for the home club, as the first four Cardinals reached base with Boyer, McCarver, and Dick Groat all singling, Groat driving in Boyer, and Mike Shannon doubling home McCarver and Groat. Julian Javier then sacrificed Shannon to third. Juan Marichal was then lifted for Japanese lefty Masonori Murakami. Charley James was summoned to pinch hit for Cardinal pitcher Glen Hobbie, who had taken over for Sadecki in the fifth and pitched two scoreless innings of middle relief.
James grounded to second, but Hal Lanier rushed his throw and pulled Cepeda off the bag, allowing Shannon to score the lead run. The inning ended abruptly though as Curt Flood hit into a double play.
Ron Taylor was called on to pitch for the Cardinals, and after striking out Hart to start the inning, hit Cepeda with a pitch, with Crandall then singling. But as they'd done all series, the Cardinals escaped the jam as Taylor induced Jay Alou to hit a sharp grounder to third which Boyer snared and started a 5-4-3 double play.
The Cardinals put three insurance runs on the board in the eighth as Lou Brock singled, then stole second an out later, and scored on Boyer's single. McCarver followed with a single, and Dick Groat doubled home Boyer, and Mike Shannon's sac fly plated McCarver.
That finished the scoring as Taylor finished up with 3 scoreless innings, giving the Cardinal bullpen five scoreless frames in the game, and finished the Giants 8-4.
--submitted by BikeMike Roberts--