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Lyrical Baseball Tournament, Harmonic Series, Game 3: From coasting to chaos

And a surprising need for the bullpen.

Phil Rizzuto Throwing Baseball
Rizzo the Bat.

It was almost a wash. Then it was a battle.

Game 3 Lineups

FILIAL FUNGOES FILIAL CASHMEN
6 - Stan Hack - 2B 42 - Jackie Robinson - 2B
5 - Lou Boudreau - SS 6 - Stan Musial - LF
10 - Johnny Mize - 1B 5 - George Brett - 3B
14 - Frenchy Bordagaray - RF 24 - Willie Mays - CF
23 - Augie Galan - LF 18 - Ted Kluszewski - 1B
4 - Bobby Estalella - CF 25 - Bobby Bonds - RF
16 - Frankie Gustine - 3B 10 - Phil Rizzuto - SS
29 - Charlie Silvera - C 34 - Ken Silvestri - C
27 - Thornton Lee - P 0 - Grover Cleveland Alexander - P

Results:

The game should have been over quickly.

Through eight innings, Grover Cleveland Alexander had thrown just 81 pitches and was working on a four-hit shutout.

The ninth inning nearly unraveled it all.

After the Fungoes scored seven runs — six unearned — in the top of the ninth, the Cashmen needed only two batters to walk off their opponents 8-7, taking a dominant 3-0 Harmonic Series lead.

The Cashmen offense was sparked by a 4-4 day from Phil Rizzuto and a trio of two-run homers.

The home squad got their offense going early, Willie Mays breaking the 0-0 tie in the third with a two-run shot off Thornton Lee into the left-center bullpen. An inning later, Alexander clobbered a pitch nearly to the same spot for another dual-tally tater.

Lee left the game after five innings, but the Cashmen kept their offensive output strong against the Fungoes’ bullpen. With Hugh Mulcahy on the mound, George Brett singled, and after a flyout, Ted Kluszewski pummeled a pitch into the seats in right. Johnny Kucks relieved Mulcahy, but the first two batters he faced were Bobby Bonds, who walked, and Phil Rizzuto, who lined an RBI double into the right field corner.

Thus the stage was set for the act known as “The Ninth Inning.”

The omens came early for the Cashmen, as Johnny Mize and Frenchy Bordagaray singled before Jimmy Bloodworth booted an Augie Galan grounder to load the bases with no outs. Alexander struck out Irv Noren, but lost the shutout on Frankie Gustine’s infield single. Ernie Lombardi then tapped a fielder’s choice grounder to first that would have ended the inning were it not for Bloodworth’s error, but instead brought home the second run of the frame.

Then the hit parade reached its noisiest: Frankie Crosetti, Stan Hack, and Andy Pafko all singled, finally summoning a reliever from the bullpen, Ken Heintzelman entering with two men on, a two-run lead, and the chance for a one-out save. But Johnny Mize lined a 2-1 pitch to the wall in right to score Hack and Pafko, the latter the typing run. Heintzelman whiffed Bordagaray to end the inning, but the game, being knotted, now required a bottom of the ninth.

It lasted four pitches.

Vic Raschi threw two pitches apiece to Bonds and Rizzuto. The second pitch to Bonds was lined to deep right-center for a leadoff triple; the second to Rizzuto landed between Galan in left and Noren in center, bringing home Bonds with a walkoff run that should never have been necessary.

But a walkoff win is a walkoff win, and a 3-0 series lead is a 3-0 series lead.

Harmonic Series, Game 2 | Harmonic Series, Game 3 | Harmonic Series, Game 4