Wednesday, June 25, 2014

June 25, 1964 - Late Rally Lifts Cards Back to .500

Thursday, June 25, 1964 - At Busch Stadium I (Roger Craig - Starting Pitcher) - Opposition:  Houston Colts ( Bob Bruce - Starting Pitcher) - Attendance:  6,842

At this point in the season, winning a pennant seemed like a lost cause for the Cardinals - a team struggling to just get above .500.  In fact, the team they were hosting in today's game - the Houston Colts - in only their third season in existence - were a mere half game behind the Cardinals - a storied franchise that had been around for over 70 years.  For die-hard Cardinal fans, this was a revolting development.

Pennant fever?  Hardly.  The Cardinals were so far out of it at this point, they were actually closer to ninth-place in the National League standings - than fourth-place.  That may explain why very few fans bothered to pay good money to see this mediocre team battle another mediocre team for fifth-place.

Roger Craig was a spot starter for the Cardinals in '64; whereas Bob Bruce was the ace of the Houston pitching staff - at least in this particular season.  The Cardinals were going to have their work cut out for them in order to maintain their stranglehold on fifth-place mediocrity.  That was the harsh reality.

Sure enough, Houston grabbed an early lead - scoring a second-inning run on a triple by Walt Bond and an RBI double by Bob Aspromonte.

The Cardinals tied the game in the third-inning when a Julian Javier lead-off double preceded a run-scoring single by Roger Craig - helping his own cause with the bat, as good pitchers do.

Houston broke the 1-1 tie in the sixth-inning when the hot-hitting Aspromonte whacked a lead-off home run; however, Craig was able to regroup to prevent any further damage.

As the Cardinals came to bat in the eighth-inning, still down by a run, Curt Flood was able to coax a one-out walk off a tiring Bruce.  However, the scoring opportunity looked bleak after Lou Brock's slicing foul fly ball down the left field line stayed in play - for out number two.

But then Bill White stroked a line drive single to center, as Flood easily advanced to third.  The tying run was just 90 feet away as cleanup hitter Ken Boyer not only got Flood home - he also scored White - with an opposite-field double to right.  Dick Groat followed Boyer's lead with a double of his own to score the third and final run of the inning - on three straight two-out hits.

Seldom-used reliever Glen Hobbie pitched the ninth-inning for St Louis, since Craig (4-3) had been lifted for a pinch hitter in that three-run eighth-inning - and he was able to get his first and only save of the season - which would also prove to be the sixth and final save of his eight-year major league career.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals had successfully defended their fifth-place spot in the soon-to-be-changing National League standings - and in the process, returned to that all-important .500 plateau (34-34).  One step at a time.  With 94 games to play, anything could happen - but for now, all this team was concerned with was staying over .500.

No comments:

Post a Comment