Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15: Road Wins for the '60's Pennant Winners

Tuesday, September 15, 1964 - At County Stadium (Ray Sadecki - Game One Starting Pitcher) - Opponent:  Milwaukee Braves (Tony Cloninger - Starting Pitcher) - Attendance:  5,843

In the first game of a doubleheader with the Milwaukee Braves, Mike Shannon broke a 2-2 tie in the fourth-inning with a two-out three-run home run off Tony Cloninger (16-13) - en route to an 11-6 win.  Ray Sadecki (17-10) certainly had better games, but managed to record the win, with 2.2 innings of relief help from Barney Schultz - who picked up his seventh save of the season.

Game Two Starting Pitchers:  Bob Gibson vs Wade Blasingame

The Cardinals completed the sweep, with a 3-1 win in the nightcap.

Trailing 1-0 with two out in the seventh-inning, Julian Javier's two-run home run off Wade Blasingame (5-5) put the Cardinals in front to stay.  Dick Groat's RBI double in the eighth-inning scored Curt Flood with an insurance run.

Gibson (16-10) went the distance - yielding the one lone run on four hits.  He walked four and struck out twelve, as St Louis (82-63) picked up a half game in the standings on first-place Philadelphia (88-57) - 1-0 winners in Houston.

The Cardinals were still six games behind the Phillies - with just seventeen games to be played.

Friday, September 15, 1967 - At Crosley Field (Steve Carlton - Starting Pitcher) - Opponent:  Cincinnati Reds (Gary Nolan - Starting Pitcher) - Attendance:  13,797

The Cardinals drew one step closer to clinching the National League pennant, as Steve Carlton (14-8) was brilliant - tossing a complete-game two-hit shutout in the Redbirds' 4-0 win over the Reds.

Mike Shannon broke a scoreless tie - connecting for a three-run home run in the third-inning off Gary Nolan (13-7).  Later that inning, Carlton helped his own cause with an RBI single - scoring Javier from second.  But tonight, he obviously didn't need the insurance.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals (92-56) now led the pack by 10.5 games with just fourteen games remaining on the schedule.  They would clinch the pennant in Game 151 - in Philadelphia.

Sunday, September 15, 1968 - At The Astrodome (Steve Carlton - Starting Pitcher) - Opponent:  Houston Astros (Don Wilson - Starting Pitcher) - Attendance:  16,638

In Game 151, the Cardinals clinched the National League pennant with a 7-4 win over the Astros.  Steve Carlton (14-8) wasn't nearly as sharp as he was one year earlier, but he went the distance - recovering from a first-inning two-run home run he served up to Jim Wynn - to hold the Astros in check while his teammates heated up the offense.

Trailing 2-1 in the third-inning, Roger Maris gave the Cardinals a lead they would not relinquish - with a two-run home run off Don Wilson (13-15).  Maris also added a sacrifice fly, as the Redbirds tacked on four more runs - giving Carlton a nice cushion - before Houston scored a couple of meaningless late-inning runs.

Curt Flood had a flawless day at the plate - with five singles in five plate appearances - scoring two runs, and driving in one.  Last season's NL MVP - Orlando Cepeda - had two hits - good for two RBI - and later led the Cardinals in their post game champagne-soaked clubhouse celebration.

In two full seasons playing in St Louis, Cepeda became an all-time fan favorite - but would be traded to the Atlanta Braves for Joe Torre, shortly before the start of the '69 season.  For Cepeda and the Braves, the trade was a good one.  Atlanta would reach the postseason before being eliminated by the New York Mets in the first-ever NLCS.

Torre played well for the Cardinals - but the team never quite made it to the postseason during his six year tenure in St Louis.  An aging group of core players and some bad trades turned the franchise into also-rans in the '70's.

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