50 years ago today, the Washington Senators swept a double-header against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. As a result, New York dropped to third place in the American League, half a game behind Chicago and Baltimore. And Washington moved into a tie for fourth place, i.e., a spot in what used to be called the first division.
Both games were cliff-hangers. In the first, the Senators scored 5 in the top of the sixth inning to take a 5-1 lead. Four of the runs were the product of a grand-slam home run by pitcher Camilo Pascual off of Bob Turley.
Pascual was one of the best pitchers in baseball at the time, but the Yankees rallied against him for a run in the seventh inning and two in the eighth to draw within one run. Tony Kubek began the ninth inning with a double off of veteran reliever Ray Moore. Next up were Berra, Maris, and Mantle, so extra innings looked like the best Washington could hope for. But Moore retired Berra on a ground ball to second on which Kubek took third. Maris grounded to poor-fielding third baseman Harmon Killebrew, who threw out Kubek at home plate. Moore then struck Mantle out.
The nightcap went 15 innings. Down a run in the top of the ninth, Washington scored two. A Killebrew double was the key hit. The Yankees tied the game in their half of the ninth on a Kubek single, and put the potential winning run on third with only one out. But Moore struck out Kent Hadley and Joe DeMaestri to send the game to the 10th inning.
Moore and Yankee reliever Luis Arroyo were nearly untouchable in extra innings, both pitching four innings without allowing a run. But in the top the 15th, the Senators lit up Ralph Terry, normally a starter, for three runs. A two-run single by Lenny Green did much of the damage.
The Yankees put two runners on base with no outs in the bottom of the 15th. But Chuck Stobbs retired the next three Yankees to preserve the victory.
The Yankees would go 35-18 the rest of the reason to win the American League pennant rather handily in the end. The Senators would fade a bit and wind up in fifth place, which was still their best finish since 1953 when they were also fifth.
NOTE: The original post misidentified Luis Arroyo as Rudy Arroyo. I thank the readers who brought this error to my attention.
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