This game took place on August 26, 1966. It is being recapped today as part of Camden Chat’s retro recap series while MLB is on hold due to the lockout.
Entering this late season matchup between the O’s and Red Sox in 1966, Baltimore (81-45 at the time) was in first place in the American League with an 11.5 game lead over the Detroit Tigers. The Orioles had gone 6-4 in their previous 10 games.
Before the Red Sox got into town for this series opener, the Birds had a dramatic walk-off win against Cleveland the day prior, in which Paul Blair delivered the game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 11th inning.
Riding high off of that victory, the Orioles endured a long and hard fought battle that would end in Baltimore’s 12th and final win of the year against Boston. The game took place on a Friday evening at Memorial Stadium, with 13,657 fans in attendance. It took three hours, 33 minutes and 12 innings for the game to end. The Orioles squeaked past the Red Sox in extra innings with a come from behind win.
It was a pitcher’s duel through seven innings, with the O’s held in check by Red Sox starter Lee Stange while John Miller returned the favor for Baltimore.
The Oriole right-hander’s final pitching line included three hits, two runs (both earned), two walks, and seven strikeouts over eight innings. Through seven dominant innings, the only blemish on Miller’s performance with a single that he allowed in the top of the second.
In the eighth inning, the Red Sox were able to reach Miller and get on the scoreboard first. It started with a leadoff single, with the very next batter retired on a bunt that was popped up to first. A subsequent walk put runners on first and second base, at which point George Smith came through with a controversial clutch hit. Sportswriter Jim Elliot, in the original game recap for the Baltimore Sun, described the play as follows:
... Smith bounced a ball high over third baseman Brooks Robinson’s head down the left field line, where a spectator leaned out of the box seats and touched the ball. Spectator interference was ruled by third base umpire Larry Napp, and while Scott was permitted to score from second, Tillman was restricted by plate umpire John Rice, in a judgement play, to advance of only one base. [Boston] Manager Billy Herman argued to no avail.
But Miller got past that hiccup in the eighth and came back to the mound for the ninth. But he was charged another run later in the frame, after he’d left the game. Miller started the inning by walking Joe Foy, after which he was promptly replaced by Eddie Fisher. Then, Foy stole second base and scored on a Carl Yastrzemski double for Boston’s second run of the game.
Boston starter Lee Stange had been dominating the Orioles’ lineup the entire game, and now he finally had the chance to pitch with a lead. But his own scoreless streak ended in the bottom of the ninth.
Vic Roznovsky pinch hit for starting catcher Larry Haney — who had gone hitless in three at-bats — and cracked a solo home run to right. Boog Powell then pinch hit for pitcher Eddie Fisher and made it back-to-back jacks with his own solo shot to right. The O’s proceeded to load the bases on a couple walks (one intentional, one not) and a hit by a pitch. Yet, the bases were left jammed due to Curt Blefary’s groundout and Bob Johnson’s pop fly out, which sent the game into extras.
A couple of scoreless innings past the ninth, the Orioles strung together a few hits and walks to make things interesting. Leading off the bottom of the 12th, Paul Blair legged out an infield single to short and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Roznovsky. Powell was walked intentionally and Luis Aparicio earned a free pass to load the bases.
Then left fielder Russ Snyder strolled to the plate with just a walk to show for his previous four at-bats. He broke that hitless streak in dramatic fashion, lacing a single to center field that scored Blair and gave the Birds a series opening win in front of the home crowd.
Reliever Moe Drabowsky — having pitched a scoreless top of the 12th — was the winning pitcher for the O’s. It was his fourth win of the year to go along with a 2.90 ERA at the time. He would finish the 1966 regular season with 96 innings pitched, a 2.81 ERA, 9.2 SO/9, and a WHIP below one.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for August 26, 1966?
This poll is closed
Vic Roznovsky (home run in the 9th that ended the shutout)
Boog Powell (game-tying home run in the 9th)
Russ Snyder (game-winning single in the 12th)
John Miller (8 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO)