This day in baseball history: Phillies take 6 game lead with 22 left to play

On September 10, 1964, the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 behind the pitching of Chris Short, who pitched his 11th complete game of the season. With the victory, Philadelphia moved 6 games ahead of St. Louis.

Cincinnati, which beat Pittsburgh 3-0 on a shutout by ex-Pirate Bob Purkey, and San Francisco, 5-1 winner over Los Angeles, also trailed the Phillies by 6 games. With their loss to the Giants, the defending champion Dodgers fell 14 games back.

Even with three teams chasing them, Philadelphia’s 6 game lead seemed safe. The Phillies had only 22 games left to play. If they won just 10 of them, St. Louis and Cincinnati would have to win 16 of their remaining 22 just to tie Philadelphia. San Francisco, with 20 games left, would have to win 15.

With his win over the Cardinals, Short upped his record to 16-7 and lowered his ERA to 1.89 — the second best in the league behind Sandy Koufax who had been sidelined due to injury since mid-August.

Philadelphia manager Gene Mauch was using Short in a four man rotation with Jim Bunning, Dennis Bennett, and Art Mahaffey, as he had, more or less, since May when Short took Ray Culp’s place in the rotation. But the Phillies had no games off in September, so Short and the other starters were pitching on just three days rest. By the end of September, Mauch would be using Short and Bunning on just two days rest.

Short won only one game after September 10 and his ERA rose from 1.89 to 2.20 by season’s end. As for the Phillies, you probably know the rest of the story but stay tuned anyway.