October 10, 1968 at Busch Stadium
Tigers 4, Cardinals 1
Tigers Win Best of Seven Game Series 4-3
The Tigers and Mickey Lolich saved the best for last as the Tigers completed a historic comeback to secure their first World Series win since 1945.Â In a first time battle between both team’s best postseason pitchers, it was Mickey Lolich who came out on top with a fantastic outing that saw him surrender just one run on five hits to go a perfect 3-0 in three complete game wins for the Tigers.
Through six innings, this was a total nail biter.Â The Tigers managed just a single hit off of Bob GibsonÂ while the Cardinals picked up just four.Â The biggest threat came in the bottom of the sixth inning but Lolich picked both Lou Brock and Curt Flood off of first base to negate any damage.Â Both times Lolich was able to get the ball over to first base on stolen base attempts.
The Tigers finally shined in the seventh inning.Â Mickey Stanley struck out and Al Kaline grounded out to lead things off but with two outs, the Tigers got it going.Â Norm Cash and Willie Horton belted back to back singles and then Jim Northrup belted a triple to drive them both in.Â Bill Freehan followed that up with a double to make it 3-0 and just like that, the Tigers were three innings away from taking the series.Â
The Cardinals got nothing in the seventh and eighth and then in the top of the ninth, the Tigers got an insurance run.Â Willie Horton singled with one out before Dick Tracewski came in to run for him.Â Tracewski moved to third on Jim Northrup’s single and then Don Wert singled him home to make it 4-0.
The Cardinals finally got on the board in their last frame.Â With two outs, Mike Shannon belted a solo homer but the optimism was short lived because Tim McCarver followed that up with a pop out to Norm Cash to end the game.
Lolich was nothing short of fantastic and in the process, he secured World Series MVP honors.Â In his third consecutive complete game, he gave up just one run on five hits and three walks with four strikeouts and he finished the series a perfect 3-0.
October 9, 1968 at Busch Stadium
Tigers 13, Cardinals 1
Best of Seven Game Series Tied 3-3
The 1968 World Series moved back to St. Louis and the Tigers showed up like they did in game two, the last time a game was played at Busch Stadium.Â The Tigers scored enough runs to put this one away with two in the second but the ten they scored in the third frame turned this game into a big time blowout.Â In the process, the Tigers forced a pivotal winner take all game seven.
It was Denny McLain going up against Ray Washburn and the 31 win variety of McLain showed up.Â The Tigers first got to Washburn in the second inning.Â Norm Cash led off with a walk and he scored on Willie Horton’s double.Â An out later, Horton scored on Bill Freehan’s single to left.Â The inning could have been worse because with two men on, Denny McLain grounded into a double play to end the inning.
The third inning was one for the record books.Â The Tigers picked up ten runs on seven hits against four different pitchers.Â Dick McAuliffe led off with a walk and he moved to second on Mickey Stanley’s single.Â McAuliffe scored on Al Kaline’s single before Larry Jaster came in to relieve Washburn.Â Norm Cash singled home Stanley and Willie Horton walked to load up the bases before Jim Northrup came through with one of his trademark grand slams to open the game up.Â Ron Willis came in to pitch for Jaster but still the Tigers weren’t done.Â Bill Freehan walked and Don Wert was hit by a pitch before Denny McLain moved them both over with a bunt, the first out of the inning.Â Dick McAuliffe was given a free pass before Mickey Stanley forced out Bill Freehan at the plate to make it two outs.Â Still, Al Kaline picked up his second hit of the inning with a two run single before Dick Hughes came in to replace Willis.Â Norm Cash singled home Stanley and Willie Horton singled home Kaline to put the tally at ten runs in the inning.Â Finally, Jim Northrup flied out to left to end the inning.
Al Kaline belted a solo homer in the fifth to further pad the lead.Â The Cardinals finally got to McLain in the ninth when Julian Javier singled home Roger Maris with two outs.
McLain finished with his first and only win of the series.Â He gave up one run on nine hits without a walk and he struck out seven in the complete game.Â Al Kaline and Norm Cash both had three hits and Kaline and Northrup both drove in four runs.Â The only Tiger starter to not reach base at least once was Denny McLain, who struck out in four at bats.
October 7, 1968 at Tiger Stadium
Tigers 5, Cardinals 3Â
Cardinals Lead Best of Seven Game Series 3-2
The Tigers avoided elimination for at least one day as they closed out Tiger Stadium for the season.Â They needed a huge fielding play by Willie Horton as well as some timely hitting to lock up the win but still, it was enough to allow them to fight another day.
Things got off to a grim start in the first inning with Mickey Lolich on the mound.Â Lou Brock led off with a double before Julian Javier grounded out to short.Â Curt Flood singled home Brock and he stole second before Orlando Cepeda belted a huge two run homer to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead.
From there, the game turned into a bit of a pitchers duel until the Tigers finally got to Nelson Briles in the fourth inning.Â Mickey Stanley led off with a triple and he after an Al Kaline ground out to the pitcher, Norm Cash drove home Stanley with a sac. fly.Â Willie Horton followed that up with a two out triple and then he scored on Jim Northrup’s single to shave the Tiger’s deficit down to 3-2.
The Cardinals looked like they might get something going in the fifth inning but Willie Horton came up big with what many think was the biggest play of the series.Â Nelson Briles led off the inning with a strikeout but Brock followed that up with a double.Â Julian Javier singled and Brock looked like he was going to score easily from second but Willie Horton came up throwing.Â After getting the scouting report that Brock tended to let up without sliding into home plate, Horton threw a strike to the plate to get Brock by a step.Â Instead of having one out and a run in, the Tigers had two outs with a runner on first with no damage so far.Â Curt Flood followed that up with a fly out and the Tigers one run deficit was maintained.
The Tigers loaded the bases in the sixth but couldn’t push a run across.Â In the meantime, Mickey Lolich had settled in and he held the Cardinals hitless in the sixth and seventh inning.
The Tigers finally hit pay dirt in the seventh inning.Â Don Wert led off with a strikeout before Mickey Lolich helped out his own cause with a single.Â Joe Hoerner came in to relieve Briles and he was pummelled by the Tigers hitters.Â Dick McAuliffe singled, and then a Mickey Stanley walk loaded the bases.Â Al Kaline then came in and singled home Lolich and McAuliffe to give the Tigers their first lead of the game.Â Norm Cash singled home Stanley some insurance but Ron Willis finally came on in relief to get to get the Cardinals out of the jam.
Lolich gave up just a single in the eighth but he finally ran into trouble in the ninth.Â Tim McCarver led off with a single and after a Phil Gagliano fly out, Ed Spiezio single to put two runners on.Â Lolich buckled down though and he got Roger Maris to strike out and Lou Brock to ground out to end the game.
Lolich finished his second complete game of the series with some solid numbers.Â He gave up three runs on nine hits and a walk with eight strikeouts.Â Al Kaline and Norm Cash both had two hits and two RBIs while Stanley was the lone Tiger with two runs.
October 6, 1968 at Tiger Stadium
Cardinals 10, Tigers 1
Cardinals Lead Best of Seven Game Series 3-1
This game went south in a hurry and with it, the Tigers chances in the 1968 World Series looked grim.Â Denny McLain, the Tigers ace all season, couldn’t even last through the end of the third inning and while Bob Gibson wasn’t nearly as good as in game one, he did give up just one run on five hits with ten strikeouts.
The Cardinals didn’t wait long to put runs on the board because Lou Brock led off the game with a solo homer.Â Roger Maris reached base with one out in the inning on an error by Norm Cash before Orlando Cepeda struck out.Â Tim McCarver kept the inning going with a single and then Mike Shannon drove home Maris with a single to make it 2-0 Cardinals before the Tigers even took their first turn at bat.
McLain put the Cardinals down in order in the second but it was more trouble in the third.Â Curt Flood led off with a single and while it looked like he’d get out of the inning unscathed after he got Maris to line out to center and Cepeda to pop out to first, Tim McCarver struck again with a triple to make it 3-0.Â Mike Shannon followed that up with a double which made it 4-0 and then Julian Javier drew a walk before the rain hit.Â After a 1:14 rain delay, Joe Sparma took the mound in place of McLain and he got Dal Maxvill to ground out to end the inning.
Joe Sparma didn’t last long though.Â In the sixth, Bob Gibson led off with a homer and Lou Brock followed that up with a triple.Â Daryl Patterson came in to try to stop the bleeding and while he got Curt Flood to fly out for out number one, Brock scampered home on Roger Maris’ ground out to make it 6-0.
The Tigers finally got on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning although it was hardly a rally.Â Jim Northrup took Bob Gibson deep with a solo homer.Â That was sandwiched between strikeouts by Willie Horton and Bill Freehan.
John Hiller was bombed in the eighth inning to the turn of four runs on two hits and an error.Â The big hit was a bases loaded clearing double by Lou Brock and that made it 10-1.
Al Kaline was the only hitter who figured out Gibson and he singled and doubled.Â The only other Tiger to reach base more then once was Eddie Mathews, who singled and drew a walk.Â Bill Freehan had a particularly tough game and he struck out in each of three plate appearances.
With the loss, the Tigers backs were against the wall.Â They now needed three consecutive wins to lock up their first World Series win since 1945.
October 5, 1968 at Tiger Stadium
Cardinals 7, Tigers 3
Cardinals Lead Best of Seven Game Series 2-1
The Tigers played a World Series game in front of home crowd for the first time since 1945 but they failed to get it done because some of lackluster hitting and mediocre pitching.Â Earl Wilson walked six and gave up three runs in just 4 1/3 innings and Pat Dobson and Don McMahon were also touched up for runs.Â While the Cardinals were beating up the Tigers pitching staff, the offense was held to just four hits and while two of those hits left the park, it wasn’t nearly enough to snag the win.
At first, the game looked like it was going to settle into a pitchers duel because neither team got a hit until the third inning.Â In the bottom of the third, the Tigers struck and scored two on an Al Kaline two run blast.Â Unfortunately, it would be the only time the Tigers would have the lead.
The Cardinals big inning came in the fifth.Â Ray Washburn struck out and then Lou Brock singled.Â He stole second then scored on Curt Flood’s double.Â Roger Maris then drew a walk before Mayo Smith went to his pen.Â Pat Dobson took the ball but it hardly stopped the bleeding.Â Orlando Cepeda did pop out to give Tiger fans some hope, but Tim McCarver blasted a big three run homer to make it 4-2 Cardinals.
Dick McAuliffe hit a solo homer in the bottom of the fifth to make it 4-3 but that was as close as the Tigers would get.Â Don McMahon gave up a three run homer to Orlando Cepeda in the seventh and from that point on, the blowout was on.Â Neither team scored the rest of the way, but the Cardinals came up big time to take a 2-1 lead in the series and more importantly, they had Bob Gibson throwing the next game.
October 3, 1968 at Busch Stadium
Tigers 8, Cardinals 1
Best of Seven Game Series Tied 1-1
The Tigers bounced back in a big way as they evened their series with the Cardinals behind an eight run, thirteen hit attack.Â Nelson Briles took the brunt of it and before the Cardinals scored their lone run, the Tigers already had five on the board.
Willie Horton drove in the first run with a solo shot in the second inning.Â Mickey Lolich helped out his own cause with a solo homer in the third while the big inning came in the top of the sixth.Â Norm Cash led off the inning with a solo homer and then Horton followed that up with a single.Â Briles left the game and Steve Carlton took his turn but it didn’t stem the damage.Â Jim Northrup singled to put runners at first and scored before Bill Freehan made the first out with a pop out to first base.Â Don Wert drew a walk to load the bases and it looked like the runners might be wasted because Mickey Lolich struck out.Â Dick McAuliffe kept things going though and he singled home Horton and Northrup to give the Tigers a 5-0 lead
The Cardinals did finally put a run on the board against Mickey Lolich in the bottom of the sixth.Â Lou Brock led off with a walk, stole second, moved to third on Curt Flood’s single and then scored on an Orlando Cepeda single.Â The inning was cut short though because Mike Shannon grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Al Kaline scored on a Jim Northrup double play to make it 6-1 and then Don Wert and Mickey Lolich drew bases loaded walks in the top of the ninth to make it 8-1.Â Cash finished with a team high three hits while Don Wert drew three walks and drove in a run.
Lost in all of the offense was an outstanding game by Mickey Lolich.Â He gave up just one run on six hits and he walked just two with nine strikeouts in the complete game win.
October 2, 1968 at Busch Stadium
Cardinals 4, Tigers 0
Cardinals Lead Best of Seven Game Series 1-0
The Tigers ran into a buzz saw in game one of the 1968 World Series and the end result was a game one loss.Â Bob Gibson struck out a World Series record seventeen batters as he was the star of game one with a five hit shutout.Â The Tigers had almost as many errors (3) as they did hits in this one and a mediocre start by Denny McLain meant little because he would have had to have been perfect for the Tigers to walk away with this one.Â
The Cardinals got on the board in the fourth inning with three runs.Â Roger Maris led off with a walk before Orlando Cepeda popped out to Norm Cash.Â Tim McCarver drew a walk and then Mike Shannon drove in Maris with an RBI single.Â McCarver moved to third and Shannon moved to second on the play after an error by Willie Horton and then Julian Javier singled them both home to make it 3-0 Cardinals.
The Tigers only real threat came in the sixth inning.Â Dick McAuliffe singled and then moved to third on a two out double by Al Kaline but Norm Cash struck out to end the inning.Â The Cardinals added a run in the seventh off of Pat Dobson when Lou Brock belted a solo homer but the insurance was unneccesary.
Mickey Stanley was the lone Tiger to reach base more then once with a pair of singles.Â Kaline’s double was the lone extra base hit but even he had a tough day with three strikeouts.Â
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