In a thrilling series the Reds edged the Braves 3-2. Jim Maloney, ace pitcher from Cincinnati, proved to be the difference in beating the Braves and Tony Cloninger twice. Let’s take a look and some of the key plays from this exciting playoff series.
Game 1 -CIN 4, MIL 0 - Jim Maloney vs. Tony Cloninger
In a matchup of aces, Jim Maloney was magnificent. He retired the first 22 batters in a row. Joe Torre ruined the perfect game and no hit attempt with a solid single to right with one out in the 8th inning. That was only hit allowed by Maloney. Deron Johnson’s two run homer in the 3rd provided Maloney with all the run support he would need. Cincy leads the series 1-0.
In another hard fought closely contested game the Braves edged the Reds with single runs in the 7th and 8th inning. Both starting pitchers dominated the early part of the game with the Reds taking a 2-1 lead on Leo Cardenas’ home run in the 6th. After the Braves tied it in the 7th, manager Burnette decided to let Ellis face Eddie Mathews and finish the 8th inning. A BIG mistake. Mathews took a 2-1 fastball and deposited it in the right field seats for the game decider. Clay Carroll and Billy O’Dell completed the great work started by Blasingame and the series is tied headed to Milwaukee.
Game 3 - MIL 3, CIN 5 – 12 Innings - Ken Johnson vs. Joe Nuxhall
Another great pitcher’s duel. The game was scoreless until the Reds struck for 3 runs in the top of the 6th. A couple of errors by the Braves, which would be their ultimate downfall in the series, did not help Mr. Johnson. But before the Reds could enjoy their lead, the Braves struck for 3 of their own in the bottom half of the inning aided by a 2 run homer by Hank Aaron. The score would stay that way until the 12th. After a single and a couple of walks, Pete Rose lined a single to center plating 2 runs and giving Cincinnati the edge in the series 2-1. Billy McCool pitched a 1-2-3 9th for the save.
Game 4 -Milwaukee 3, Cincinnati 2 - Denver Lemaster vs. Joey Jay
A great come from behind win by the Braves evened the series at 2. It seems rather redundant but both starting pitchers dominated. Lemaster went 7 innings giving up 1 earned run on 3 hits. Jay matched him with 6 1/3 innings of one run six hit baseball. The Reds took the lead in the top of the 8th scoring a single run against future HOF’er Phil Niekro. But with their backs against the wall, the Braves pushed two across the plate against Ted Davidson to force a game 5. A double by Mack Jones scored Aaron from
1st. A single by Joe Torre moved Jones to 3rd. Jones then scored on Eddie Mathews sac fly. That gave an aging Mathews 2 game winning Rbi’s. Niekro takes the win and series heads south for the deciding
Game 5 - CIN 7, MIL 4 - Jim Maloney vs. Tony Cloninger
Jim Maloney, while not as magnificent as he was in game 1, still had enough to hold off the Braves and give the Reds the series. Maloney lasted 8 innings giving up 3 runs on 7 hits. But this time he was backed up by some timely hitting by the Reds offense. Tommy Harper, game MVP, was 4-4, 3 runs scored and 3 stolen bases. It was still a close game until the Reds scored 3 runs in the 7th to push their lead to 7-1. The Braves made it interesting scoring 2 in the 8th, while leaving the bases loaded, and 1 in the 9th.
It was a great series. Either team was deserving of winning and moving on to the next round. --submitted by Ron Burnette--
Side Note: It has been officially announced that this was the last series played in Milwaukee by the Braves franchise, which will officially transfer operations to Atlanta in 1966. The Braves spent 13 seasons in Milwaukee and never finished below .500. During this successful run they won 1 World Championship, 2 pennants and appeared in 3 post seasons. Sadly over the past 5-6 years gate receipts have dropped steadily. After announcing in 1964 that they would be moving to Atlanta a court injunction kept them here in Milwaukee for one more (lame duck) season. Fans avoided County Stadium as either a sign of apathy or protest. The Braves will sorely be missed in the Midwest.