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October 6, 2008

Bob Gibson Strikes Again, Cardinals One Win Away From Second Straight World Championship

by @ 3:06 am. Filed under Willie Horton

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.  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.  Roger Maris reached base with one out in the inning on an error by Norm Cash before Orlando Cepeda struck out.  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.  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.  Mike Shannon followed that up with a double which made it 4-0 and then Julian Javier drew a walk before the rain hit.  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.  In the sixth, Bob Gibson led off with a homer and Lou Brock followed that up with a triple.  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.  Jim Northrup took Bob Gibson deep with a solo homer.  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.  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.  The only other Tiger to reach base more then once was Eddie Mathews, who singled and drew a walk.  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.  They now needed three consecutive wins to lock up their first World Series win since 1945.

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