Thursday, June 27, 2013

Braves Take Two from the 'Stros!

Jackson goes 4 for 4 in game 1.

Game 1,

Light hitting shortstop Sonny Jackson provided the punch to push the Braves over the Astros in the first game of the series.  Jackson collected 4 hits and drove in the winning run to give Pat Jarvis his 12 win of the season.  Both teams were knotted at one a piece going into the bottom half of the ninth inning. That changed with one man down, Tito Francona slashed a single to center.  Francona was erased on a ground out by Mike Lum.  Johnson then followed with a basehit allowing Lum to race to third. That brought up Sonny Jackson. Jackson ended matters with a clean single up the middle. Braves 2....Astros 1.

Game 2,

Knuckler Phil Niekro went the distance to earn his 15th triumph of the season.  Niekro was aided by a strong offensive surge as Atlanta batters pounded Houston pitchers to a tune of 17 hits.  Torre, Millan, and Felipe Alou led the charge with 3 safeties a piece.  Niekro scattered 10 hits and allowed only one run over the duration of the game. Braves 6...Astros 1.

Game 3,

Giusti strikes out eleven Brave hitters.
Dave Giusti and Milt Pappas were locked into a strong pitching match as both hurlers would not give an inch for most of the contest.  The tough right handers were tossing goose eggs frame after frame until Houston broke through in the top of the ninth.  Bob Aspromonte grounded a single on the left side to plate Julio Gotay to put Houston up 1-0.  That was all the scoring that was needed in this game as Giusti shut down the Brave batters with eleven strikeouts over 9 innings.  Astros 1...Braves 0.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cubs Sweep Astros to Continue NL Surge

The Cubs, recently moving into sole possession of second place in the NL, continue their surge by sweeping Houston, 3-0.

Chicago's Ernie Banks becomes the first 1968 Cubbie to hit 30 home runs (with Santo and Williams poised to join him soon). Houston's Jimmy Wynn hits a home run in each of the three games, putting him at 22 for the year. Chicago is now 75-64, while last-place Houston drops to 51-87.

Game 1: Cubs 4, Astros 2
W: Jenkins (19-9)
L: Dierker (10-11)
S: Regan (21)

"Mr Cub" drives in three, including a solo shot to left center for Banks' 30th home run. Fergie Jenkins wins his 19th but needs another great relief outing from Phil Regan to nail it down late.
Phil Regan is among the league leaders
with 22 saves and a sparkling 1.89 ERA.

Game 2: Cubs 3, Astros 2
W: Reynolds (3-0)
L: Wilson (8-17)
S: Regan (22)

Houston can't hold onto a 2-1 lead early, even as Astros pitcher Don Wilson and "Toy Cannon" Wynn both blast solo homers off Joe Niekro. In the eighth, Santo strokes a double, two batters are walked, and Randy "Rebel" Hundley (who goes four-for-four) and Don Kessinger single in two runs. Regan again nails it down after putting two on in the ninth.

Game 3: Cubs 9, Houston 1
W: Hands (12-11)
L: Lemaster (4-15)

A close one turns into a laugher late as Chicago scores six times in the bottom of the seventh off a hard-hit Denny Lemaster. The big  blow is a bases clearing single from Kessinger, who goes three-for-four and records his seventh triple in the process.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Braves and Bucos Split a Pair

Pappas earns his 7th win.

Game 1,

Marty Martinez and Felix Millan each pound out 3 hits in a 10 hit Atlanta attack that sunk the visiting Pirates.  Steve Blass was not sharp and fell to 15-7 as he gave up 5 runs through six innings.  Milt Pappas improves to 7-2 but needed help in the ninth from Cecil Upshaw, who earned his 12th save of the year. Braves 5....Pirates 2.

Game 2,

Wills swipes three bags.
Pittsburgh erupted for a four run 7th inning to erase a Brave lead.  Roberto Clemente added a solo homerun in the ninth inning for some insurance. Tommie Sisk earned his 5th win in relief with three innings of two hit, shutout ball.  Claude Raymond ( 4-3) got tagged with the loss for Atlanta.  Maury Wills smacked out 3 hits and stole three bags in the Pittsburgh victory.  Pirates 5...Braves 4.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Braves Get Back on Track Against the Phillies

                                                             Game 1,

Cookie crushes round tripper.
The visiting Phillies slam four homeruns off Pat Jarvis to take the first of a 3-game series in Atlanta.  Infielder Cookie Rojas hit his 9th homerun of the year in the third inning to get things going. Dick Allen clubbed a another long blast a batter later. Clemens and White also added homeruns to put the game out of reach.  Rick Wise improved to 5-15 while Pat Jarvis" The Launching Pad" gave up 6 earned runs to sink to 10-10.  Phillies 6....Braves 4. 

Game 2,

Stone clubs Phillie batters.
George Stone pitched a complete game shutout to make his record at 4-2.  Stone had very little stress in this game as the Braves plated nine runs including a five spot in the seventh inning as Atlanta strung together seven singles in the frame to make it a blowout.  Felipe Alou and Felix Millan banged out 3 hits to lead the charge.  Braves 9...Phillies 0.

Game 3,

Phil Niekro's famous knuckle ball was dancing all over the place as the Phillie batters had a difficult time getting good wood on the ball.  Millan drove in a run with an RBI single in the third and that was the only scoring until the bottom of the eighth inning.  Felipe Alou reached base on the second of two errors on the night by Bill White. Millan followed the White with a base on balls. Aaron then drove in White with a basehit. Francona finished the scoring an RBI on his own.  Niekro was the star with a complete game victory to even his record at 12 wins and 12 losses.  Braves 3....Phillies 1.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Cubs and Braves Split

In four tight games, the Cubs and Braves split the series, 2-2, as each look to make up ground on the first-place Cards. Atlanta -- behind the red-hot hitting of Felipe Alou and Felix Millan at the top of the order -- is now 65-62 while the Cubs -- sporting three players (Williams, Banks and Santo) with at least 25 HRS and 75 RBIs - sit at 68-61.

Game 1: ATL 3, CHIC 1
W: Stone (3-2)
L: Holtzman (11-10)
S: Kelley (3)

Atlanta's George Stone, working his way into the starting rotation in August after recently being called up,  only allows one run in 6.1 innings for the win. Red-hot Felipe Alou goes three-for-four and moves his hitting streak to 10 games.

Game 2: CHIC 4, ATL 0
W: Hands (11-11)
L: Niekro (11-12)

Up-and-down veteran Bill Hands pitches a masterpiece with a complete game three-hit shutout to even the series. Williams' 25th and Santo's 27 homers off Phil Niekro provide the cushion.

Game 3: ATL 9, CHIC 2 (11 innings)
W: Upshaw (3-1)
L: Upham (0-1)

In a game much closer than the score would indicate, the Cubs and Braves battle to a 2-2 tie through nine behind solid pitching from Milt Pappas and Fergie Jenkins (the ML strikeout leader fans nine more). But in the top of the 11th, the Braves scalp the Cubs at Wrigley with seven earned runs off relievers John Upham and Jack Lamabe, who combine to give up seven Braves hits in the inning.

Game 4: CHIC 6, ATL 5
W: Reynolds (1-0)
L: Upshaw (3-2)

For most of this game (the second of a twi-night doubleheader), the Cubs look to be beaten, as shaky starter Rich Nye gives up 10 hits and four runs in 6 innings (two RBIs from Braves shortstop Marty Martinez). But a Don Kessinger homer (his first of the year) off Atlanta starter Ron Reed fuels the comeback. Behind 5-3 in the bottom of the ninth and Braves closer Cecil Upshaw on the mound, all appears lost.

But pinch-hitter Jim Hickman gets the rally started with a single and Glenn Beckert raps a base hit to put runners on the corners with one out. Williams' single scores Hickman to close the gap to 5-4. With two outs, Santo walks and brings up Willie Smith. The baseball vagabond cheers the Cubs' faithful by rapping a bases loaded single to win it.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Cubs Climb Closer to Reds

The Cubs, recently dropping to fourth in the NL standings after series losses to the teams above them, take a home series from the Reds, 3-1, to move a bit closer. Chicago is now 66-59, while the Reds are 64-56.

Game 1: Cubs 8, Red 7
W: Hands (10-11)
L: Maloney (10-7)
S: Upham (1)

The Cubs jump to an 8-0 lead after five off struggling Jim Maloney, largely off home runs by Ron Santo (his 26th), Jim Hickman and Randy Hundley. But Bill Hands again breaks down late, allowing seven Reds  runs in the next three innings, with the key blow a three-run homer from Tony Perez (12). After usual closer Phil Regan struggles, pitcher/outfielder Jim Upham comes on to get the final outs, stranding two Reds in the bottom of the ninth.

Game 2: Cubs 6, Reds 1
W: Jenkins (17-9)
L: Cloninger (2-4)

Fergie Jenkins srikes out 10 to preserve his major-league lead in Ks, going to distance on a four-hitter. "Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks drives in two with two doubles.
Alex Johnson has his hitting streak snapped
but is hitting .324 with 26 doubles 

Game 3: Reds 3, Cubs 1
W: Culver (12-8)
L: Nye (5-10)
S: Carroll (10)

George Culver breezes on a seven inning three-hitter to win his 12th, Tony Perez drives in two more and Alex Johnson smacks his 26th double. Rich Nye is again knocked around, this time for 13 hits in five innings. It would have been worse, but three Reds baserunners are thrown out at the plate in this one.

Game 4: Cubs 5, Reds 3
W: J. Niekro (9-8)
L: McCool (3-4)
S: Regan (20)

The Reds's Gary Nolan shuts down the Cubs early, while his counterpart, Joe Niekro, gives up solo homers to Pet Rose (15), Mack Jones (10) and Leo Cardenas (3) to stake Cincy to a 3-0 lead. But then Nolan departs in the fourth after reaching his low pitch limit. Billy McCool (the best name in baseball) can't find the plate, allowing seven walks and three baserunners to cross the plate via the base on balls. Phil Regan has a good two-inning outing to save his 20th.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Cardinals take on Braves


                                                                Game 1,
Gibson lowers ERA to 1.33
Bob Gibson was simply overpowering as he won his 14th game of the year and lowered his ERA to 1.33. Felipe Alou and Felix Millan were the only Braves to get a hit off the dominant right hander. Orlando Cepeda hit a homerun in the 9th inning to account for the only run in the game for either team. Phil Niekro was the hard luck loser and goes to 10-11 on the season. Cardinals 1....Braves 0.

Game 2,

John Edwards smacked a homerun and whacked out 3 hits to lead the bird offense in the second game of the series.  Julian Javier crushed a 2-run homerun to erase a 2-1 Brave lead.  Nellie Briles went the distance scattering 9 hits and 2 runs and improves to 10-8.  Cardinals 3...Braves 2.

Game 3,

Deron Johnson crushed two homeruns and drove in 7 RBI.
Lefty Steve Carlton was roughed up by a struggling Brave offense. Atlanta plated 3 runs in the third and put up a five spot in the fourth inning.  Carlton was not helped by the Cardinal offense as 6 of his 10 runs given up were unearned. St. Louis committed 3 costly errors to keep rallies alive for Atlanta.  Deron Johnson had a huge day as he drove in seven runs on two homeruns. Johnson came to bat in the third inning with 2 men on and deposited a long fly into the seats. If that was not enough, Johnson tagged Carlton again in the 4th inning. This time the bases were juiced as Johnson gave the fans another souvenir on a grand slam. Pat Jarvis pitched seven solid innings as he evened his record at 9-9. Braves 10.....Cardinals 5.