ON THIS DATE (June
18, 1961) ... Two down in the last of
the ninth with Don Buddin on first, and the Red Sox, against the six
hit pitching of starting left-hander Carl Mathias of the Washington
Senators, were seven runs behind. Nine Boston batters and two
Washington pitchers later, after Jim Pagliaroni knocked out a score
tying grand slam home run, Russ Nixon, a pinch-hitter, hit a ground
ball single to past the outstretched glove of secondbaseman Chuck
Cottier, giving the Red Sox a come-from-behind 13 to 12 thriller.
The Sox had trailed 12 to 5 with two outs in the ninth-inning. Yet before
Mathias, Dave Sisler or Marty Kutyna retire another Red Sox batter, the Red Sox
scored run after run until the game was over. It started as Chuck Hinton went
into play left field for the Senators. Vic Wirtz grounded out and Don button
singled to right. Billy Harrell when in to pinch-hit for pitcher Ted Wills and
struck out. Chuck Schilling singled to center and Caroll Hardy singled to right,
scoring Buddin with the first run of the inning and sending Schilling to third.
Gary Geiger then walked to load the bases. Dick Sisler came in to replace
Mathias on the mound for Washington and he walked Jackie Jensen to force in
Schilling with the second run of the inning. Then Frank Malzone walked, forcing
in Hardy, making the score 12 to 8. Next was Pagliaroni, who unloaded a grand
slam home run to deep left field, tying the score. Sisler next walk Vic Wertz
and was replaced by Kutyna. Russ Nixon came to the plate to pinch-hit for Billy
Harrell and Pete Runnels came into pinch run for Wertz. Nixon then smashed a
single right to score Runnels with the winning run.
But that was just the beginning because it was the first game of a
doubleheader. The second game was almost as dramatic.
It was a pitching tustle between Washington's Pete Burnside and Boston's Gene
Conley. Then, after Willie Tasby hit a leadoff homer to tie the score at five
apiece at the top of the eighth, it then became a bitterly tight pitching duel
between relief pitchers Mike Fornieles and Tom Sturdivant. Fornieles replaced
Conley after the Tasby home run and pitched six complete innings without letting
a runner get beyond first. And Sturdivant, coming in to start the seventh
inning, pitched six innings of no-hit baseball.
Then, to lead off the last of the 13th inning, along came Jim Pagliaroni once
again. He crashed a three and two Sturdivant fastball into the left-field net
for a 6 to 5 Red Sox win and a sweep in one of the most exciting afternoons ever
seen at Fenway Park.