Friday, August 22, 2014

August 22, 1982 - "Brummer's Stealing Home!"

Sunday, August 22, 1982 - At Busch Stadium II (Joaquin Andujar - Starting Pitcher) - Opponent:  San Francisco Giants (Atlee Hammaker - Starting Pitcher) - Attendance:  46,821

No one in their right mind would have imagined it.  No one in their right mind would have attempted it.  But it happened anyway.  In the bottom of the twelfth-inning in a tie ballgame with the San Francisco Giants, the Cardinals had just loaded the bases with two out.  In the batter's box was David Green and on third base was an antsy Glen Brummer.  As Giants reliever Gary LaVelle began his windup, Brummer suddenly bolted towards home plate.  Home plate umpire Dave Pallone - no stranger to controversial calls - ruled Brummer safe at home.  The Giants vehemently argued that the pitch taken by Green was in the strike zone - for what should have been a third strike.  Pallone insisted it was a ball - and even if he had second thoughts, it was too late to do anything about it once the pandemonium on the field erupted - which began about one second after his "safe" call.

Perhaps the Cardinals caught a break - but those things tend to even out over the course of a season.  One thing is certain:  From that day forward, whenever the name "Glen Brummer" pops up in a conversation throughout Cardinal Nation, it will invariably be linked to that audacious 12th-inning walk-off theft of home in the middle of a heated pennant race.  It was perhaps the single most defining moment of the entire regular season for the Redbirds.

Even before that crazy finish, this game had its share of drama.  The Cardinals struck first off Giants starter Atlee Hammaker - scoring a second-inning run on back-to-back doubles by George Hendrick and Gene Tenace.

Then in the fourth-inning, with Hendrick on first base with two out, Willie McGee homered to give St Louis a 3-0 lead.

Cards starter Joaquin Andujar pitched five innings of scoreless ball before unraveling in the sixth.  A one-out two-run double by Jack Clark preceded a Darrell Evans single to bring home the Ripper.  After Dave Bergman lined another single wihch advanced Evans to third, manager Whitey Herzog yanked his Dominican Dandy in favor of the lefty reliever - John Martin.  The first batter he faced - Milt May - scored Evans from third with the go-ahead run on a ground out to second - but Martin did a nice job of damage control just to keep it a 4-3 deficit.  Martin departed after pitching a scoreless seventh - then Doug Bair added two more perfect innings of relief.

The Cardinals were still down 4-3 entering their half of the ninth-inning - as closer Greg Minton tried to nail it down for Frank Robinson's squad.  He struck out the first batter he faced - Ozzie Smith - but hit the next batter with a pitch - the speedy David Green - who wasted no time in stealing second with Tommy Herr batting.  Green then took off for third - but Herr grounded out to the shortstop - perhaps foiling another successful steal by Green.

With the Cardinals down to their last out, Ken Oberkfell came through with the game-tying hit - a double into right field.  This one was heading into extra innings.

Jim Kaat came out of the Cardinal bullpen to pitch the tenth-inning.  The first batter he faced - Will Venable - stirred up some trouble with a double.  Then with Joe Morgan batting and Glen Brummer now catching, Morgan lifted a foul popup behind home plate - which Brummer dropped.  Kaat - the cool professional - gave his young catcher a look that said, "Shucks, don't worry about it kid!"  He struck Morgan out on the next pitch.

After walking Chili Davis intentionally - Kaat then induced pinch hitter Jim Wohlford to ground one to Tommy Herr for the easy 4-6-3 double play to end the threat.

The Cardinals threatened to end it in the eleventh - but luckily, they kept the game going - for the twelfth-inning Glen Brummer Show.  Herr was stationed on third with one out - after he was picked off first by the new Giants pitcher - Gary LaVelle - but first baseman Dave Bergman forgot to catch the ball.  However, pitcher Jeff Lahti was the next batter - and he could only hit a weak ground ball back to the pitcher - as Herr had nowhere to run.  For a split second, it appeared Keith Hernandez might end it - but his line drive was snared by Bergman this time - probably more in self-defense than anything else.

After Lahti finished his perfect 1.1 inning stint, LaVelle returned to the mound to face the Cardinals in the fateful twelfth-inning.  After Hendrick flew out to left to start the inning, our hero - Brummer - always up there hacking - singled to left.  It's interesting to note - in 64 plate appearances in 1982 - Brummer rarely saw a pitch he didn't like.  He never walked.  In other words, this kid appeared to be too impatient to waste time dilly dallying around - which may explain why he suddenly bolted for home plate out of the blue a few minutes into the future.

Willie McGee - who homered earlier in this game - lined a single to left, as Brummer showed great restraint by stopping at second base.  After Julio Gonzalez was retired on a foul popup to the suddenly sure-handed Bergman at first base - Ozzie kept the inning alive with an infield single off the pitcher's glove.

Holy cow, the bases were now loaded.  What happened next was described by the astonished Mike Shannon on the Cardinals' radio network:  "Brummer's stealing home!"

Yes, he was safe - raising his season stolen base total to two (he had four in his brief major league career).

Most importantly, the NL East division-leading Cardinals (71-52) didn't lose any ground to the Phillies - who also won on this Sunday afternoon - so they were still two games behind the Runnin' Redbirds in the tight NL East race.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

August 21, 1964 - Cards' 3-Run 9th at Candlestick Burns Giants - 6-5

Friday, August 21, 1964 - At Candlestick Park (Curt Simmons - Starting Pitcher) - Opponent:  San Francisco Giants (Bob Hendley - Starting Pitcher) - Attendance:  19,644

Trailing by two runs with two outs and a runner on first in the top of the ninth-inning at Candlestick Park - the Cardinals managed to score three times for an improbable 6-5 win over the San Francisco Giants.  With this unlikely victory, the fourth-place Redbirds managed to keep pace with first-place Philadephia - who had already beaten Pittsburgh.  That's the good news.  The bad news:  The Cardinals were still ten games out of first place.  No big deal.

The Cardinals got off to a flying start off Giants starter Bob Hendley - scoring two first-inning runs when Ken Boyer doubled home Curt Flood from second and Dick Groat from first - staking Curt Simmons to an early lead.

Unfortunately, Simmons quickly relinquished that lead in the bottom of the first.  After lead-off hitter Harvey Kuenn doubled, Hal Lanier advanced him to third with a single.  Simmons then managed to strike out Willie Mays, but Orlando Cepeda brought in Kuenn with a sacrifice fly to cut the lead in half.  Next up - Jim Ray Hart - homered to give the Giants a 3-2 lead.

The situation worsened when San Francisco added another run in the second off the veteran St Louis southpaw.  Jim Davenport tripled to start the Cardinals' bullpen stirring.  This was going to be a very short outing for Simmons, who did manage to strike out Tom Haller - but he was unable to prevent Bob Hendley from bringing in the run with a well-executed squeeze bunt.  Simmons retired Hendley as second baseman Julian Javier covered first for the putout.  However, after Kuenn tripled, manager Johnny Keane had seen enough - bringing in Bob Humphreys to face Lanier - and he got him to retire the side.

After the Cardinals failed to score in the third-inning, the Giants added another run in the bottom half - when Cepeda got his second RBI of the game with a solo home run.  San Francisco now had a 5-2 lead - but that would be the last run they'd score in this game.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals scored an unearned run in the fifth-inning.  Curt Flood led-off with a single - but Lou Brock was called out on strikes.  Then, with Flood running on the pitch - Dick Groat hit a routine ground ball to third baseman Hart - who made an errant throw to first which Cepeda was unable to dig out of the dirt.  With runners on first and second, Boyer got his third RBI of the game with a base hit that scored Flood.

The Cardinals, trailing by a 5-3 score, started the sixth-inning in promising fashion with a triple by Mike Shannon.  However, backup catcher Bob Uecker demonstrated why he was the backup catcher - by popping up to the second baseman for out number one.  After pinch hitter Carl Warwick walked, manager Al Dark made a pitching change - bringing in Jim Duffalo to face Curt Flood - who struck out.  Brock then grounded out to end the threat.

The Cardinals again threatened in the seventh-inning, with Dick Groat leading off with a triple.  Ken Boyer then walked - but Duffalo got Bill White on a pop up to the second baseman.  With Julian Javier due up next, Keane decided to pinch hit for him - with the veteran Bob Skinner - but he struck out.  Shannon then grounded out to the second baseman, who forced Boyer at second - unassisted.

After the Cardinals went quietly in the eighth-inning, it was the Giants' turn to squander a golden scoring opportunity in the bottom half.  With Ron Taylor now pitching for St Louis, Jesus Alou led-off with a single to right field.  Next up - Jim Davenport - reached on an infield single which shortstop Dick Groat fielded, but couldn't make a play.  But then Taylor induced Tom Haller to ground one to Dal Maxvill at second base - who entered the game as a replacement for Javier - who left the game when Skinner pinch hit for him in the seventh.  Maxvill flipped the ball to Groat who turned the easy double play.  Alou was on third with two out, but the next batter was the pitcher - Duffalo - who struck out to end the inning.

Duffalo returned to the mound to face the Cardinals in the ninth-inning - trying to protect a 5-3 lead.  Brock led-off with a single - but the next two batters - Groat and Boyer - were both retired on ground balls to the second baseman, as Brock advanced to second.  The next batter - Bill White - who represented the tying run - was intentionally walked - bringing the light-hitting Dal Maxvill to the dish.  Javier's replacement in the lineup promptly lined a single to left field - scoring Brock - and putting the tying run - White, who was intentionally walked - in scoring position.

Mike Shannon then lined a single to center to score White - and when second baseman Hal Lanier inexplicably missed the throw from Mays - Maxvill came all the way around to score the go-ahead run - and Shannon advanced to third while the Giants were running around trying to stop that runaway ball.

A stunned Jim Duffalo was relieved of duty by this time - as the veteran lefty Billy Pierce finally stopped the bleeding by getting pinch hitter Jerry Bucheck on a fly ball to a bewildered Mays in center.

Out of the Cardinal bullpen to close out the game came their new secret weapon - knuckle ball specialist Barney Schultz - who retired Kuenn on a ground ball to the shortstop - then induced pinch hitter Duke Snider to ground out harmlessly to second.  Schultz recorded his sixth save of the season by getting Willie Mays - who had a home run cut - to pop out to Groat at shortstop to end it.

The Cardinals had come back from the dead to win this game - but after dropping the final two games of this series, St Louis would slip to eleven games back of Philadelphia on August 23 - the low-water mark for the entire season.  The most remarkable finish to any major league season was in store, although nobody could have possibly imagined what was about to transpire.

One thing Cardinal fans know for sure, fifty years later:  It's a good thing they won this game.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

August 20, 2006 - Cards' 4-Run 1st-Inning Sinks Cubs

Sunday, August 20, 2006 - At Wrigley Field (Chris Carpenter - Starting Pitcher) - Opponent:  Chicago Cubs (Juan Mateo - Starting Pitcher) - Attendance:  40,485

The Cardinals jumped on Cubs rookie pitcher Juan Mateo for four first-inning runs - featuring a solo home run by Chris Duncan and the big blow - a three-run job by Juan Encarnacion.  That was enough run support for Chris Carpenter (8 IP - 7 H - 2 R - 0 BB - 7 SO) - although they added a ninth-inning insurance run for good measure.  When closer Jason Isringhausen gave up a lead-off home run to Aramis Ramirez in the bottom half of the ninth, the St Louis lead was trimmed to two again - but nobody else reached base.  The 5-3 final improved Carpenter's season record to 12-6 - as the Cardinals (66-57) maintained a two and a half game lead on Cincinnati in the NL Central.

For Mateo, who recovered after that horrendous first inning to throw zeros for the next six innings - the damage had been done.  He would suffer his first major league loss, after winning in his August 3 debut - allowing two earned runs in five innings of work to beat the D-backs.  He would continue to struggle for the remainder of the season - finishing with a 1-3 record in ten starts - and an ERA close to 6.00.  That was it.  His big-league career would be over, at the tender age of twenty-three.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals - beset by injuries - were barely able to reach the postseason dance.  They put together an improbable championship run with well-timed peak performances from several key players to win it all.  But the team was in transition - slipping to a sub-.500 season the following year.  But a few key trades and development of new talent would bring the franchise new life.  By 2011, they would be back on top of the baseball world again.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August 19, 1968 - Gibson's Best: 2-Hit Shutout of Phillies

Monday, August 19, 1968 - At Connie Mack Stadium (Bob Gibson - Starting Pitcher) - Opponent:  Philadelphia Phillies (Woody Fryman - Starting Pitcher) - Attendance:  12,278  

Major league baseball's best pitcher in 1968 - Bob Gibson - had his best performance of the year - shutting out the Phillies on two hits - as the Cardinals scored twice as many runs as they really needed to win this game:  Two.  Strangely enough, both runs were driven in by seldom-used utility outfielder Ron Davis, who got the start in center field tonight, as manager Red Schoendienst gave Curt Flood a rare night off.

Davis put the Cardinals on top early.  His second-inning single off Phillies starter Woody Fryman scored Mike Shannon from second base to stake Gibson to a 1-0 lead.  Although Fryman completed the inning with no further scoring, he was removed from the game by manager Bob Skinner prior to the start of the third-inning.  In all likelihood, Fryman suffered a minor injury of some sort - although that is unclear.  What we do know for certain is Woody was going to get tagged with the loss (11-12).

The next pitcher for Philadelphia - John Boozer - managed to keep the Redbirds scoreless until the eighth-inning - when a lead-off triple by Phil Gagliano stirred up some excitement.  Bobby Tolan entered the game as a pinch runner - but was still stuck at third after Orlando Cepeda popped up to the second baseman - and with the infield playing in - Mike Shannon grounded out to the first baseman - who made the play unassisted.  Next up - Tim McCarver was walked intentionally to get to the light-hitting Davis - who foiled the strategy by lining a single to center - scoring Tolan.

Before all that happened, Gibson had been cruising along with a no-hitter through the first five innings.  A two-out first-inning base on balls to Johnny Briggs had been the only Philadelphia base runner.  But as fate would have it, the first hit allowed by Gibson was a one-out seeing-eye single to center by none other than John Boozer.  It would be his only hit in eleven plate appearances in '68.  Go figure.

The only other hit Gibson allowed came with two-out in the eighth-inning.  After walking Clay Dalrymple, pinch hitter Johnny Callison - batting for Boozer - grounded a single to center.  But that was the extent of the Phillies' offense tonight.  Tony Taylor - representing the lead run - tried to hit one out, but his lazy fly ball to hitting star Ron Davis was an easy out.

Gibson, who finished the night with eleven strike outs, got the free-swinging Dick Allen for the fourth time - to finish 'em off in style.  His record improved to 18-5 on the season, as his ERA fell to an even 1.00 - on the way to 1.12 by season's end.

Meanwhile, to further illustrate the kind of year 1968 was in major league baseball - there were eight other games played on August 19 - and half of those also produced shutouts - the most notable of which took place between the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants at Shea Stadium.  It took seventeen-innings before the Giants finally scored the lone run of the game.  Mets rookie starter - Jerry Koosman - pitched a full twelve innings before finally being taken out of the game.  Giants starter - Bob Bolin - only made it through eleven innings.  Pitch counts?  Nobody bothered to keep track of such nonsense.

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18, 2000 - Down 6-0, Cards Walk-Off with 7-6 Win Over Phillies

Friday, August 18, 2000 - At Busch Stadium II (Rick Ankiel - Starting Pitcher) - Opponent:  Philadelphia Phillies (Robert Person - Starting Pitcher) - Attendance:  46,253

In a game that took an excruciating three hours and forty-three minutes to complete, the Cardinals rallied from a six run sixth-inning deficit to walk-off with a 7-6 win over the Phillies - thanks in large part to twelve walks issued by five different Philadelphia hurlers.

Cardinal starter Rick Ankiel had control issues of his own - walking three batters in 4.1 innings pitched.  His trouble started in the fourth-inning when Philadelphia scored three times - the first run scoring on a bases loaded passed ball by backup catcher Carlos Hernandez, which preceded a two-run Kevin Jordan single.

Meanwhile, Phillies starter Wild Robert Person managed to keep the Cardinals scoreless on two hits through five innings, despite walking six batters.  However, a high pitch count (111) prompted manager Terry Francona to go to the bullpen a bit early in this contest.

By that time, the Phillies had tacked on three more runs - two of which were charged to Ankiel - who was removed after loading the bases with one out in the fifth.  Reliever Gene Stechschulte's first order of business was to walk the first batter he faced, to give Philly a 4-0 lead - then Lieberthal's sacrifice fly made it 5-0.

The lead was extended to six-zip on an Arias sacrifice fly in the sixth-inning.  After that, the Cardinal bullpen restored order - while the Phillies' created calamity.

The Redbirds finally broke through with a run in the bottom of the sixth off reliever Wild Wayne Gomes.  Fernando Tatis led-off with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch - then scored on Edgar Renteria's ground out to the shortstop.

After Gomes walked Polanco leading off the seventh for St Louis, Francona went to the bullpen again - bringing in Wild Ed Vosberg to face Fernando Vina - who singled to left field.  Next up - J.D. Drew - walked to load the bases for Jim Edmonds - who also walked, to make it a 6-2 game.  After Will Clark struck out, Francona brought in Wild Vincente Padilla to walk in another run - Tatis had the honor on this particular bases loaded freebie.  Ray Lankford then hit a sacrifice fly to put the Redbirds within two runs of tying this mess up.

Francona patiently let Padilla work his way through a two-run eighth-inning - which began with Hernandez hitting a ground ball to Scott Rolen at third - and the normally sure-handed Rolen couldn't find the handle - for a very costly error.  After Polanco walked, Vina moved the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt - and Drew drove them in with a single back up the middle.  Holy cow, the game was now tied - 6-6.

The fifth and final pitcher for Philadelphia - Wild Chris Brock - issued a one-out walk - the twelfth of the game by Phillies pitchers - to Ray Lankford - followed by pinch hitter Eric Davis' single to right field - advancing Lankford to third.  Brock certainly didn't want to be the guy to walk the thirteenth batter in this game (it's bad luck) - so he threw strikes to Carlos Hernandez - who hit one of them safely into left field for the game winner - a walk-off winner - which seemed appropriate on a night that featured seventeen time-consuming walks between the two teams.

Jason Christiansen - the fifth St Louis pitcher in this game - got the final two outs in the top of the ninth to pick up the win (3-8).  He didn't even walk anybody.

For the fans now filing out of the ballpark after witnessing a game that dragged on for nearly four hours - at least it was the weekend, so most of them could sleep late on Saturday.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

August 17, 1982 - Hernandez Lifts Cards to Walk-Off Win Over Padres

Tuesday, August 17, 1982 - At Busch Stadium II (Joaquin Andujar - Starting Pitcher) - Opponent:  San Diego Padres (Eric Show - Starting Pitcher) - Attendance:  27,679

Keith Hernandez scored the first run and drove in the final run in a 3-2 walk-off win over the San Diego Padres.  Bruce Sutter - who entered the game in relief of Joaquin Andujar in the ninth-inning, inheriting a runner on second with no out - got out of the jam and got the win - improving to 8-5 on the season.  This win, coupled with the Phillies' loss in Montreal, gives the Cardinals (68-50) a two-game lead in the tight NL East race.

It was a lead-off triple by Keith Hernandez in the sixth-inning - followed by a sacrifice fly off the bat of George Hendrick - that broke a scoreless tie.  For Padres starting pitcher Eric Show, it was only the third hit  surrendered in the game.

San Diego answered back with a pair of runs in the seventh-inning.  Broderick Perkins' two-out double scored Terry Kennedy from first - then Tim Flannery drove in Perkins with a single to center - and when Willie McGee booted the ball - Flannery kept running all the way to third base.  The next scheduled hitter - pitcher Eric Show - was removed for a pinch hitter - former Cardinal Sixto Lezcano - who was retired on a fly ball to Lonnie Smith in left field.  The decision by manager Dick Williams to remove Show from the game with a one-run lead - when he had been pitching brilliantly - may have been a favor to the Cardinals.

With Gary Lucas now pitching for the Padres, Ken Oberkfell greeted him with a lead-off seventh-inning single to right field.  Ozzie Smith then said hello to his former teammate with a run-scoring double to left.  Andujar got into the act, screaming "Say hello to my little friend!" - ripping the third straight hit off Lucas - a single to left - advancing Ozzie to third.

Next up - Tommy Herr - hit into some bad luck.  His line drive was hit directly to second baseman Flannery, who then doubled an absent-minded scar-face Andujar - who apparently thought the ball was not going to be caught - off first base.  Lucas managed to escape further damage - but in his first inning of work he had allowed the same number of base hits Show had allowed in six innings.

It appeared Andujar's base running blunder might come back to haunt the Cardinals when Terry Kennedy led-off the ninth-inning with a double.  At that point, manager Whitey Herzog brought in his miracle worker - Bruce Sutter - to bail the Redbirds out of this precarious situation - and he did - with a little help from his shortstop - actually, a lot of help from his shortstop.

After the Padres' catcher started the ninth with that two-base hit, Joe Pittman entered the game as Kennedy's pinch runner - representing the lead run.  After Jim Lefebvre moved the runner up to third with a sacrifice bunt, the Cardinal infield moved in - hoping for a ground ball to one of the infielders to keep the runner from scoring.  The strategy paid off - in an unconventional manner.  The next hitter - Luis Salazar - ripped a hard hit ground ball to Ozzie's right - who made a diving back-hand stop - freezing Pittman at third.  Salazar got the hit, but Ozzie saved the run.

Sutter then got Perkins on a pop fly to Ozzie - and Flannery on a ground out to Herr.

Leading off the bottom of the ninth was none other than The Wizard himself - Ozzie Smith - who received his second standing ovation from the appreciative fans for his game-saving stop.  Smith coaxed a walk off the doomed Lucas - then advanced to second on Mike Ramsey's sacrifice bunt.  Herr was intentionally walked to set up a possible double play - but Lonnie Smith was the next batter - who rarely hit into double plays.

Williams then brought in Luis DeLeon to pitch to Lonnie - who also walked - to load the bases for Keith Hernandez.  With no place to put him, DeLeon gave Hernandez a pitch he could handle - and Keith lined it into right for the game winner.

Three walks and a hit.  A typical Cardinal rally for a team that knew how to manufacture runs - and knew how shut down the opponent's chances to manufacture runs - with some pretty slick fielding.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

August 16, 1967 - Errors & Ejections Highlight Walk-Off Win Over Cubs

Wednesday, August 16, 1967 - At Busch Stadium II (Nelson Briles - Starting Pitcher) - Opponent:  Chicago Cubs (Joe Niekro - Starting Pitcher) - Attendance:  42,228

The Cardinals completed a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs with a frenetic 4-3 walk-off win - scoring a pair of unearned runs in a ninth-inning that featured three Cubs' ejections stemming from three separate controversial calls - from three separate umpires.  Ah, those were the good old days - before the technological advances enabled instant replay to settle disputes - because watching Leo Durocher go ballistic was generally quite entertaining.

Prior to the ninth-inning Chicago meltdown, the game began with a rare base running blunder featuring the game's premier stolen base artist - Lou Brock.  The Cards' lead-off hitter singled off Cubs starter Joe Niekro to open the first-inning for St Louis - then with Curt Flood batting - Brock stole second.  When Flood also lined a single to center, third base coach Joe Schultz gave Lou the "stop" sign as the throw from center fielder Adolfo Phillips was cut off by second baseman Glen Beckert - Brock, who had rounded third expecting to be waved home, looked back at Beckert, then decided to keep running for home.  Unfortunately, the brief pause at third was costly, as Beckert made a perfect throw to catcher John Stephenson just in time to nail Brock.

Meanwhile, Flood was able to advance to second while all this was going on - and later scored when Orlando Cepeda lined another single to center.  The Cardinals had a 1-0 lead, but may well have run themselves out of a big inning.

The Cubs tied it in the second-inning, although they also missed out on a big inning.  Ron Santo led-off with a single off Cards starter Nelson Briles - then after Ernie Banks struck out, Clarence Jones singled - putting runners on first and second for Stephenson - who doubled to score Santo, as Jones stopped at third.  Adolfo Phillips was intentionally walked to load the bases, hoping to induce a double play ground ball from the light-hitting pitcher - Joe Niekro.  Niekro complied, hitting it to third baseman Mike Shannon, who quickly threw to catcher Tim McCarver for the force out at home - who in turn, had plenty of time to retire Niekro lumbering down to first.

In the fourth-inning, McCarver broke the 1-1 tie with a lead-off home run.

With the score still 2-1 in favor of St Louis as the Cubs hit in the seventh-inning, Briles retired the first two batters, but Don Kessinger kept the inning alive with a single - for Glen Beckert - who established a career high with five home runs in 1967.  He got one of them here to suddenly give the Cubs a 3-2 lead - silencing the Cardinal fans - while the Cub fans became quite a bit more vociferous.  In the stands, a few isolated fisticuffs broke out - but the real action happened on the field, as the Cardinals hit in the bottom of the ninth, still down by a run.

Bill Hands, who was brought in to relieve Niekro to start the seventh-inning, was still on the mound for Chicago to work the bottom of the ninth.  He retired the first batter - Roger Maris - on a fly ball to right field - but Cepeda got a rare infield hit when his ground ball to shortstop Kessinger was too hot to handle.  Next up - McCarver hit a ground ball to Ernie Banks at first base - and in his haste to try to turn the double play - booted the ball instead.  McCarver was safe at first as Cepeda now occupied second.

As tensions rose, Shannon lined a bullet to Kessinger at short, who quickly threw to Beckert covering second to double up Cepeda - but Beckert dropped the ball.  Cepeda was safe on the error, but Beckert was livid, insisting he had possession long enough to be ruled a catch.  Second base umpire Augie Donatelli steadfastly disagreed, explaining the way it was - by this time - to the entire Cubs infield, along with their fiery manager - Leo Durocher.  After several minutes of jawing back and forth, Donatelli decided to give Leo the Lip the rest of the night off - which further incensed Durocher for a few extra minutes of profanity and dirt kicking.

Meanwhile, there was still a baseball game to be decided - and more controversy to unfold.  Next up - Julian Javier - grounded one in the hole at shortstop.  As Kessinger fielded the ball, his only play was to attempt a force out of Cepeda at third - but somehow, Cepeda was ruled safe at third by third base umpire Stan Landis.  It's not clear whether Landis ruled that Cepeda beat the throw, or whether Santo missed the bag or missed the tag.  But what is clear is Santo thought Landis should have his eyes examined, and discussed the issue - vehemently - for several minutes.  He too, was given the rest of the night off by Landis, as Paul Popovich was brought in to stand at third base for a few more minutes.

With the bases loaded - and the Cardinals down to their last out - Phil Gagliano managed to draw a game-tying base on balls - on four borderline pitches that drew the ire of Bill Hands - who vented his frustration with home plate umpire Al Barlick.  He too, was given the rest of the night off, as Cepeda performed his patented "Cha cha" dance moves all over home plate - much to the delight of the Cardinal fans and much to the chagrin of the downtrodden Cub fans.

Chuck Hartenstein was the new pitcher - taking over for the ejected and dejected Hands - as pinch hitter Alex Johnson finished 'em off with a ground ball up the middle.  Beckert managed to get a glove on the ball but had no play - everybody was safe - as McCarver raced home with the winning run.

Both runs the Cardinals scored - thanks to two errors - were unearned.  There have probably been other games in major league history that featured back-to-back-to-back ejections - but this was the only time I can remember seeing it.

After this devastating series sweep, the Cubs were now twelve games behind the Cardinals - but the good news for Chicago - they were only a game and a half out of second place - although they never quite made it there.