Big comeback in 1964; and the almost sweep in New York
Ah, the 1964 baseball season. The last great hurrah from the Yankees. Just maybe Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris were on their last legs. New York won the most games in the American League (99) and had a winning record over every AL team except the Orioles. That was year that the great Brooks Robinson was the AL MVP.
After taking the first two games of the regular season, the O’s invited the Yankees to Baltimore for a game on June 23. Rollie Sheldon went for New York and young Wally Bunker for Baltimore. By the fourth inning, we were chasing four runs. Bunker was gone. The great Boog Powell put Baltimore on the board with a solo shot in the home half of the fourth.
Another Boog shot came in the sixth but were still down 4-2. Mantle’s three-run shot put this game in serious trouble in the seventh. That is until the 8th inning. It was a seven-run frame for Baltimore. Powell struck out in the rally but Brooksie drove in a pair with a two-run single. The great hitting instructor, Charlie Lau, batted twice in the frame and singled and doubled. In the Yankees ninth, Maris homered and Mantle fanned and was thrown out of the game for arguing. The Orioles had the great comeback win, 9-8.
So back to the present day. The Orioles headed to New York for a big series beginning on Friday night. And considering the crushing defeat that first night, taking two of three in the series was a great way to close it out. Yes, we should have had a sweep.
Baseball will break your heart at times. And Friday night was that case. Ubaldo Jimenez was wild but he got through it. And we took the lead in the sixth. The cult hero, Steve Pearce, helped out as we took a 3-1 lead to the ninth. We just needed 3 more outs for the win. Alas, Zach Britton’s vaunted sinker wasn’t working and he gave up the crushing 3-run homer to Carlos Beltran and we gave one away, 5-3.
In baseball, you have to have a short memory. Saturday was a game day. And the O’s brought out the power bats. Pearce homered, Adam Jones homered, Nellie Cruz homered and yes even JJ Hardy homered. It was an easy win, 6-1. Bud Norris pitched well but left with an injury.
Sure defeat faced us on Sunday. It was Tanaka, the great for the Yankees. No one could have guessed that we would win in a blowout. That 11-game winner didn’t win. Chris Tillman out-pitched Tanaka. It was close as it could be following the Jon Schoop solo homer. We did get three runs off the Yankees ace.. Chris Tillman pitched great. Hardy had a three-run double and we took two of three on the road, 8-0.