Sunday, March 27, 2011

Keeping Score: 1980 World Series Game 5

Sunday, October 19th, 1980. As often happens in the race to win four games in a seven game series -- game number five ends up being the most important. The Phillies had won their first two games at home. The Royals held serve and won the next two games in Kansas City. Game Five was critical for both teams, the winner would have all the momentum and be only one game away from the world championship.

Rookie Marty Bystrom started for the Phils and Larry Gura took the mound again for the Royals. Both cruised through the first three innings. Mike Schmidt broke the seal in the top of the fourth inning when he blasted a Larry Gura fastball over the right center field fence for a two run home run. Bake McBride scored in front of him after reaching first on an error by Royals 1B Willie Mays Aikens, who failed to put his foot on the bag while waiting for an easy throw from the pitcher. Up until that point, Aikens had been the star of the series with 4 HRs and a 10th inning walk off hit in Game #3. After that error, Aikens was mentally done and did not get another hit in the series.

After a George Brett RBI, an Amos Otis HR and a UL Washington sacrifice fly RBI, the Royals had clawed back to take a 3-2 lead heading into the top of the ninth inning. Things were looking pretty good for Kansas City with their closer Dan Quisenberry on the mound and only three outs needed to take the series lead.

However, these Phillies continued to deliver cardiac rallies. The inning started with Mike Schmidt smashing a line drive off of 3B George Brett's glove. For some reason Brett was drawn in, afraid the Schmidt would bunt. Imagine the NL HR champion (with 48 non-juiced bombs) causing a third baseman to worry about a bunt in the ninth inning of a critical World Series game. I doubt you will ever see that again. Pinch-hitter extraordinaire Dell Unser continued his magical run with a signature double down the right field line, scoring the surprisingly speedy Schmidt from first. Score tied 3-3. Keith Moreland laid down a picture perfect sacrifice bunt down the first base line to move Unser to 3rd with one out. Garry Maddox failed to drive him in, but Manny Trillo screamed a 0-2 pitch off of Quisenberry's glove and just beat a desperate throw by Brett to score Unser -- and the Phils took heart stopping 4-3 lead.

Tug McGraw made things interesting in the ninth inning, walking Frank White, striking out George Brett (on three pitches) and then walking Willie Mays Aikens. Hal McRae hit a very long and scary (for Phillies fans) foul ball down the left field line before grounding out. Amos Otis was unintentionally -intentionally walked to bring up Jose Cardenal. Tug struck out Jose to finish the game and secure the Phils 3-2 series lead.





Post a Comment