This piece is a continuation of our Philly Dream Series between the 1929 Philadelphia A’s and the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies. For more info on this series, click here. To see the results of the first 5 games, click here.
In 1985, Marvin Hagler and Tommy Hearns met in the middle of the ring, neither harboring any intentions of having the fight go the distance. There was no defense, no sweet science, just two street brawlers determined to knock the other one out. And so it went in Game 6 of this Phillies Dream Series. There are no superlative pitching performances or sterling defensive plays to discuss, merely a recounting of a back alley brawl, with both gangs bashing the other with heavy lumber. It was the A’s who recorded the knockout punch in the 9th, escaping from the street fight with a few bruises but living to fight another day with a 10-8 victory.
Both sides came out swinging in the first, with Al Simmons knocking in Max Bishop with a single. In the bottom of the first, Ryan Howard finally got involved in the Series, cracking a George Earnshaw pitch off the right field wall for a double to knock in two. Pat Burrell followed that up with a single to score Howard, and the fans at CBP, sensing a Phillies Series win, were delirious.
That delirium turned to crypt silence in the 4th, when Al Simmons smashed a Brett Myers pitch just past the glove of Victorino and over the center field wall, sending two runners home and giving the A’s a 4-3 lead. Jimmie Foxx followed that up with a double, and when Bing Miller knocked Foxx home, Brett Myers was shown the way to the showers and JA Happ was brought in from the bullpen.
The A’s didn’t get a chance to enjoy their lead, however, as the Phils scored two in the bottom of the 3rd to draw even at 5. Mule Haas countered in the 4th with a home run to left field that was hit so hard that Pat Burrell never even bothered to give chase.
Exit JA Happ. Enter Chad Durbin, who had basically thrown batting practice in his first two appearances. But baseball is a funny game: on this evening, Durbin was the only Phillies pitcher who was able to slow the onslaught.
Mack stayed with Earnshaw, who simply did not have his best stuff, and Moose gave up an RBI double in the 6th to Chase Utley to make the score 7-6. The A’s added one in the top of the 8th, and were a mere 5 outs away from victory when Ryan Howard hit a bases loaded single to send two runs home and even the game at 8.
In the top of the 9th, with two outs and Jimmie Foxx on first, Bing Miller stepped to the plate. The 34-year old center fielder had been in almost this exact same position in Game 5 of the ’29 World Series. Two outs, one man on in the 9th inning. And once again, the wily old veteran came through. This time he caught ahold of a Clay Condrey fastball and sent it towards the left field wall. Pat Burrell went back, stopped at the wall, leapt, and just missed it, the ball settling softly into the flowers planted right behind the left field wall. The A’s fans went wild as the dimunitive Miller, 170 pounds soaking wet, hit a round tripper for the second time in the Series.
Phillies fans were back on their feet in the 9th when, with two outs, pinch hitter Matt Stairs came to the plate. Fans of the 2008 Phillies remember Stairs the way fans of the 1929 A’s remembered Bing Miller…an unlikely hero who came through in the clutch. But history didn’t repeat itself. Stairs grounded out to 2nd, the Series was tied at 5, and the entire Philly Dream Series will come down to one game, at Shibe Park on Monday afternoon. And the rumor mill has it that Cole Hamels and Lefty Grove will both start on two days rest.
GAME NOTES: Here’s the box score and play by play…Even after his 2-5, 4 RBI game in Game 6, Ryan Howard is batting .148 for the Series…Senor Octubre Carlos Ruiz is enjoying a solid Series, batting .364 through 6 games…after struggling in the first two games, the A’s are batting .338 as a team in the past four games…Bing Miller tried to steal 2nd base in the 2nd inning. It was the first steal attempt by the A’s in the Series. He was gunned down by Ruiz.