Friday, August 21, 2015

Cincinnati defeats Chicago in 5 games

Cincinnati downs the Cubs in five hard-fought games to advance to the 1970 ARAIG World Series. The difference was Cincinnati's pitching, which held the Cubs' powerful offense to one run or fewer in three of the five games. Of course, the Reds' hitters also played their part, blasting nine home runs in the series.

The Cubs had a great year, nonetheless. Picked to be an also-ran in the NL East, they rose from six games in back of the Mets on Sept. 1 to win the division by a game. Then, by taking the favored Reds to the brink, they at least proved that they belonged with the big boys.

The Reds look to be a tough team to beat in the series, with the great Rose, Perez, Bench, Lee May and others and pitching led by Gary Nolan, Jim Merritt and Jim McGlothlin (with Clay Carroll and Don Gullett in the pen) that is also worth its mettle.

Here's a recap:

Game One: Cubs' ace Fergie Jenkins came to play, striking out 13 Reds while his counterpart, Gary Nolan, couldn't find the strike zone. Nolan walked six before departing in the fifth inning. The Cubs walked to a 5-1 lead early, in large part due to a three run third that featured two Nolan walks and a scorching single from Randy Hundley that plated two. But Jenkins also gave it back late, as Tony Perez wallopped a three run homer in the seventh that made it 5-4. But Jenkins then settled down for the complete game win. While the Reds outhit the Cubs 10-6, the Chicagoans take Game One 5-4.

Game Two: 
Cincinnati strikes back with a vengeance, scorching four home runs in the easy win. Jim Merritt keeps Cubs hitters at bay all day, shutting them out through six, while Clay Carroll comes in and continues to overpower the North Siders. Milt Pappas isn't bad for Chicago, only giving up three runs in the first seven innings, two on solo homers from Pete Rose and Lee May. But when reliever Jim Colburn comes in, the floodgates open, as the Reds score six in the eighth to pour it on. The final: Reds, 9, Cubs 1. 
Game Three: Cincinnati plates a pair of runs in both the second and sixth to provide the difference in this one. Reds' starter Jim McGlothlin is sharp, only allowing three Cubs hits in 6.1 innings. McGlothlin also hits a key RBI triple and subsequently scores to provide the early cushion. Cubs' 21-game winner Bill Hands is not so effective, giving up four runs and seven hits (while walking five) in six innings. Chicago barely threatens, as Gullett again pitches masterfully late in 2.1 innings of shutdown ball. Reds 4, Cubs 1.  

Game Four: Needing a win to stay alive, the Cubs go with youngster Kenny Holtzman, and he delivers with 7.2 innings of gritty work against a hard-hitting lineup. This one was a seesaw affair. Cincy takes an early 3-0 lead behind pitcher Tony Cloninger, as Hal McRae homers and Bobby Tolan doubles and later scores. But the Cubs come back with four in the fifth, led by a triple from Don Kessinger down the right field line that plates two and is followed by Cloninger's departure. The Cubs get two more in the eighth, as Kessinger drives home both runs with a single, for a 6-3 lead. But then Cincinnati responds on a Tolan RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to cut the lead to 6-4.

But the Cubs get some insurance in the top of the ninth as Joe Pepitone smacks a two run shot, his third of the series, to make it 8-4. The Reds come back with two more in the bottom of the ninth and have runners on first and second with one out, but the Cubs' Larry Gura gets Rose to ground into a DP to end it. Cubs 8, Reds 6.

Game Five: 
A game one rematch between Nolan and Jenkins. Nolan is on his game this time,  only allowing three hits and striking out seven in seven innings. While Jenkins is also sharp, he is victimized by a Perez run scoring double in the first and a two out single, after a wild pitch, that scores another in the fourth, as the Reds take a 2-0 lead. The Cubs again can't get any hitting done against Reds pitching, however, as Wayne Granger pitches shutout ball in the eighth and ninth. Meanwhile, Johnny Bench and Lee May go yard against Jenkins in the eighth to increase the Cincinnati lead to 4-0 and ice the game. The Reds take the series by shutting out the Cubs in the finale. Final in game five: Reds, 4, Cubs 0.

Thanks to Bill Schneider for getting these in tonight, and congrats to piloting his Reds' squad to the World Series. 

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