The 1967 World Series resumed in Boston on October 11. The Red Sox were down three games to two. Thus, they needed to beat the Cardinals back-to-back.
As Bosox manager Dick Williams reminded the media, his team had prevailed facing the same situation when they played a two-game set with Minnesota at the end of regular season. Williams did not mention the obvious distinction — the Twins had no Bob Gibson.
However, Gibson wasn’t going to pitch until Game 7, if that game became necessary. In Game 6, the Cards called on Dick Hughes, their best starter during the regular season. Hughes was the loser of Game 2, but had pitched pretty well.
For Boston, it was Gary Bell’s turn, but he had been rocked in Game 3 and used in relief the following day. Thus, Williams selected Gary Waslewski, who had pitched three perfect innings in relief of Bell, to start Game 6.
Waslewski was a rookie, as was Hughes. But Waslewski had pitched only 12 regular season games, eight of them starts, the most recent one in July. However, his ERA was a solid 3.21 and, as noted, he had shut down the Cards in Game 3.
On this day, Waslewski set down St. Louis in order in the first two innings. In the bottom of the second, with two outs, Rico Petrocelli homered for Boston.
The Cards answered with two runs in the top of third. Julian Javier led off with a double. Waslewski retired the next two batters, but Lou Brock singled Javier home, stole second base, and scored on a close play at the plate when Curt Flood singled.
Brock was in the midst of an outstanding World Series. The single was his ninth of the Series and the stolen base his fourth in four tries.
With the score 2-1 in the Cards favor, Carl Yastrzemski led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a home run. It was the third of the Series for Yaz.
Hughes set down the next two batter, Ken Harrelson and George Scott. But then Reggie Smith and Petrocelli hit back-to-back home runs, with Smith’s just clearing the fence down the right field line. That put Boston ahead 4-2. The three home runs in a single inning was a World Series record.
Red Schoendienst had seen enough of Hughes. With Elston Howard, a weak hitter at this late stage of his career, at bat, the bases empty, and the pitchers’ slot due to lead off the top of the fifth inning, it did not seem like the time to use a top reliever. Nonetheless, Red turned to Ron Willis, arguably the second best right-hander in the Cardinals bullpen (behind Nelson Briles).
Willis got Howard on a grounder. But when Schoendienst sent up Ed Spezio to pinch hit in the fifth, Willis’ day was done. Briles, the starter and winner of Game 3, replaced him.
In the top of the sixth inning Waslewski issued walks to Roger Maris and Tim McCarver, sandwiched between a fly out by Orlando Cepeda, who was having a terrible Series. Williams removed Waslewski, the rookie having exceeded his skipper’s expectations. John Wyatt came on to retire Mike Shannon and Javier, preserving the 4-2 Boston lead.
With one out in the top of the seventh, Bobby Tolan, pinch hitting for Briles, coaxed a walk from Wyatt. The red-hot Brock followed with a long home run. The game suddenly was tied at 4-4. Wyatt escaped further damage.
St. Louis was back on level terms, but had to replace Briles. The situation called for a right-hander. With Willis already spent, Schoendienst turned to journeyman Jack Lamabe.
The ex-Red Sox had pitched well in his prior appearance against Boston, but on this occasion, he was not up to the task.
Lamabe set down Howard on a ground ball. But Dalton Jones, batting for Wyatt continued to torment the Cardinals. Jones’ single made him 7 for 19 in the Series.
Joe Foy followed with a double that sent Jones scampering home. Schoendienst turned to southpaw Joel Hoerner, his best reliever during the regular season but struggling as of late. He gave up singles to Mike Andrews and Yaz before being pulled in favor of Larry Jaster, who gave up lightly-hit singles to Scott and Smith.
By now, the score was 8-4. It took Ray Washburn, normally a starter, to finally shut Boston down. Washburn was the Cardinals fourth pitcher of the inning — very unusual for that era. Schoendienst might have been wondering whether Washburn should have started the inning.
The Cardinals threatened in the top of the eighth against Gary Bell. Cepeda led off with a single. McCarver sent a drive towards the gap in left-centerfield. Yaz ran it down on a fine play.
The importance that play was magnified when, with one out, Shannon doubled Cepeda to third. Bell got Javier on a line drive to third, but walked Dal Maxvil to load the bases.
Schoendienst sent up Dave Ricketts to bat for Washburn. The former Duquesne University basketball standout flied out to Yaz in left field.
Hal Woodeschick pitched the eighth inning for St. Louis. He was the Cardinals eighth pitcher of the game — another World Series record.
The Cards went down quietly in the ninth inning. The final score was Boston 8, St. Louis 4.
The Series was even at three games apiece. The deciding game would feature Bob Gibson against Jim Lonborg. Both had been virtually unhittable in the Series. Something had to give.