Saturday, December 1, 2012

ALCS GAME 6: "How-weird an ending"

Game 6  - Tiger Stadium
Mel Stottlemyre vs Johnny Podres

The two teams returned to the Motor City with the Tigers still on the brink of elimination.  The Yankees scored a run in the 1st when Joe Pepitone singled in a run after Mantle was intentionally walked.  The Tigers came right back with 3 in their 1st thanks to run scoring doubles by Kaline and Don Wert.  After a scoreless 2nd the Yanks plated 3 in the 3rd on homers by Tresh and Mantle and a Roy White single.  Both teams were quiet until the 8th when each team scored 2 (Whitaker HR for NY, Horton RBI single, double play ball for DET) to make it 5-4 Yankees.  The New Yorkers scored a run in the 9th when small ball made a rare appearance- Roy White bunted for a hit, stole 2nd, and scored on a Schofield single. 
The Tigers season appeared to be over going into the bottom of the 9th, trailing by 2 with closer Dooley Womack pitching.  Light hitting 2B Jerry Lumpe started with a single, but then pitcher Larry Sherry struck out ("my pinch hitters suck" said Tiger manager Jack Mudd) and the Detroit crowd was losing hope.  But Dick McAuliffe shocked the Yankees with a home run that landed in the right field stands just inside the foul pole.  With the game now tied the Tigers crowd was so excited they started several fires in the stands (wait, not Halloween yet, never mind).  The Tigers proceeded to load the bases on an error, single, and walk, and Jim Northrup strolled into the batters box with the bases loaded needing just a decent fly ball to win it for Detroit.  Northrup did hit a fly ball but not very deep, but with 2 outs Al Kaline decided to test Mickey Mantle's arm one more time but Mick's throw was on the money (not Cash this time) and Elston Howard held onto the ball for the out to temporarily douse Detroit's fire.  
In the 10th the Yanks loaded their own bases on 3 walks given them by Larry Sherry but Howard flied out to deep center field to end the threat.  In the bottom of the 10th New York brought in not-closer Pedro Ramos to pitch.  Don Wert greeted Ramos with a single up the middle and moved to 2nd on a groundout.  Then Jerry Lumpe again came up with a key hit, singling to move Wert to 3rd.  Really light hitting pinch hitter Dick Tracewski came up ("I told you my bench sucks", Jack Mudd said) only needing to get a runner home from 3rd with less than 2 outs to send it to game 7.  However, Tracewski hit a little pop-up a few feet in front of home plate, Elston Howard jumped up to grab it and again force on-deck hitter Dick McAuliffe to be a hero.  But wait, there's more!  Howard dropped the ball!  (No premature infield fly rule in this game!)  As the ball rolled away from a disbelieving Howard. Don Wert crossed the plate with the game winning run.  The Detroit crowd just sat stunned in their seats for a minute and then exploded with joy, setting more fires as well.  After the game Howard angrily denied reports he was either a) taking bribes from Denny McLain's mobster friends, or b) distracted by Australian bikini models.  Detroit 8-7, each team had 14 hits but the Yankees made 4 errors.  Some guy named George Steinbrenner ran into the Yanks owner box and tried to fire the Yankees fielding coach but was escorted from the stadium.
Series tied 3-3 

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